Now that summer is here, it’s a great time to make sure your building’s energy performance is in top shape. The actions below have the potential to help your business save energy, while maintaining or improving occupant comfort.
HVAC temperature setbacks. HVAC systems consume nearly 30% of a business’ electricity use. Adjusting temperature settings can provide substantial savings. A simple 1° to 2° Fahrenheit change in temperature will frequently go unnoticed by occupants but can amount to considerable savings. Remotely turn temperature settings up after business hours or on weekends when you install programmable thermostats. Right now, if you purchase up to 4 qualifying smart thermostats and enroll in SDG&E’s Smart Thermostat Program for Business, you can get up to $50 for every thermostat you register. SDG&E will can remotely adjust your thermostat(s) when an event day is called when demand for energy is high. Learn more at sdge.com/business-thermostat.
Daylighting controls. Daylighting control systems use sensors to adjust electric lighting levels in response to available daylight. These controls can reduce your lighting energy consumption by 20% to 80% and lower cooling costs. If you have areas where natural daylight is prevalent, consider installing such controls. Or, if you already have a daylighting control system, check it to make sure they are properly calibrated and working as expected.
Cool down at night. If your building has an automation system, consider cooling the building at night with outside air. This strategy lowers the temperature of the overall building, resulting in a smaller cooling load during the day. Studies have shown that this strategy can save between 5% and 20% of overall cooling energy, depending on the climate. It can also result in improved occupant comfort by improving air quality.
Clean the condenser coils. When the condenser coils in your air-conditioning equipment get dirty, their ability to effectively transfer heat decreases. Check your condenser coils for any natural or artificial debris that has accumulated to make sure they’re working as efficiently as possible. Thoroughly wash the coils twice a year for preventive maintenance.
Change the filters. Filters should be changed on a regular basis, especially during summer months, to make sure the air-conditioner fan isn’t using more energy than necessary and trying to push air through clogged filters. If your building is located next to a highway, construction site or other location where the air is dirtier than usual, consider changing filters several times each month.
Check the economizer. Many air-conditioning systems use an economizer that draws in cool outside air, when it is available, to reduce the need for air conditioning. However, if not regularly checked, the linkage that opens and shuts the economizer damper can seize up or break, potentially resulting in large energy waste. An economizer that is stuck in the fully open position can increase a building’s annual energy bill by as much as 50%.