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4 Ways to Save Energy in Your Commercial Building

Even if you think you have a handle on your commercial building’s energy usage, chances are, there are ways you can improve the efficiency of your building even more. In fact, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average commercial building wastes 30 percent of its energy. Luckily, there are relatively easy steps you can take to save even more money on your heating and cooling costs.

1. Perform Energy Audits and Get Equipment Upgrades

In order to find out how to save money, you first need to know how much you’re actually spending. Collect your utility bill statements from the past year, and do a thorough read through of what is being spent. Next, inspect your plumbing, lighting and HVAC equipment in order to determine the condition of each. You’ll also want to collect any records of service, repairs and maintenance. If your equipment is outdated or breaking down, you may want to consider getting an Energy Star model that is more efficient.

2. Invest in Operational Timing and Program Controls

One of the easiest ways to save money and decrease your energy usage is to avoid relying on manual settings. If you or someone else has to remember to turn the thermostats down or off when the building isn’t in use, it’s very easy to forget and subsequently waste energy. Instead, it can be a good idea to get programmable thermostats, if your building houses a small operation, or facility management and building operational systems if your building is larger. These systems will automatically turn heat and cooling down or off at specific times and can also turn off lights when the building isn’t occupied.

3. Educate Your Users

A great way to reduce energy costs is to help your tenants or employees know how to decrease their energy usage. You can conduct a training session in order to inform them about the positive impact of turning off computers at the end of the night and doing what they can to alert management when something needs to be fixed. For example, leaky faucets and running toilets can decrease energy efficiency. You can also set up incentives for being proactive about energy consumption, which will help them feel like they’re involved in an important process.

4. Improve Your Insulation

Adding insulation around your HVAC ducting, electrical outlets and pipes can reduce how much air conditioning and heating you lose. This simple solution also doesn’t have any negative impact on the comfort level of the building. Insulation can easily get compromised when it hasn’t been cleaned and inspected in a long time. Holes and tears can form in the ductwork and cause the air conditioner to leak cool air, and can cause the furnace to leak warm air. These air leaks of course never make it to the occupied spaces in your building and result in wasted energy.

These simple practices can help you use the energy in your commercial building more efficiently.

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How Does The Office Temperature Effect Your Productivity?

It should come as no surprise that your comfort level in the workplace affects your productivity. Studies show that productivity levels increase when the office temperature is at an optimal level. However, what that optimal level should be is up for debate.

 

What is the Optimal Office Temperature?

Universities and government agencies have conducted research to find the best temperature range for workplace environments. In most of the studies, the best temperature was 70 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Other studies from respected organizations had a range of 74 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. One study showed that a temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit was comfortable for about 70% of the research participants.

 

Other Factors to Keep in Mind

When dealing with comfort levels, there are other factors in play. The season must also be taken into consideration. People expect the temperature to be warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. This means that the optimal temperature will change throughout the year depending on the season.

Humidity levels are also important for office productivity. A 40% relative humidity level is good for year-round comfort. In summer a dehimidofier can help maintain the humidity, while in winter a humidifier may be needed.

Clothing also affects comfort levels. In the summer, people wear thinner and lighter clothes to stay cool, whereas in winter, people tend to dress in layers and with thinker clothes. During winter the optimal temperature can be a little lower because people dress warmly. In the summer, with lighter clothing, office workers may prefer a slightly higher temperature.

Personal temperature is also a factor in productivity. Clothes affect the personal temperature. Your age and body mass index (BMI) also affect your personal temperature. Older individuals or people with less body fat tend to feel the cold more. Heavier people are better insulated so don’t feel the cold as much. This is why it’s difficult to find an optimal temperature that suits everyone.

With so many factors to take into consideration, it’s hard to find an office temperature that will increase productivity for everyone. For many offices, it’s trial and error.

For more articles about commercial HVAC, visit our website to learn about keeping your system running efficiently while also saving you money.

Tips For Hiring A Commercial HVAC Contractor

If you are going to start a major HVAC project, you’ll need the help of a commercial contractor. This is a bit harder than just putting up a help wanted ad – you are looking to work with someone who is licensed, bonded, insured and experienced. If you are looking to hire the best, make sure to follow the steps below.

Start your process by asking friends and family for recommendations. If they’ve had work done, they certainly know whether or not they were happy with their contractor. Remember, your relatives aren’t experts on HVAC – but they have gone through the process of hiring a commercial HVAC contractor before, so they can give you a bit of information on what to expect.

Next, check out the reviews. The internet can be unkind sometimes, but it is a great place to find out whether a contractor treats his or her customers well. You shouldn’t have to search for more than a few minutes to find a review of a popular contractor.

Next, request an on-site inspection. This might have a price attached, but it is more than worth paying. Most contractors are unable to give you a quote over the phone, and be wary of any that try to do so. You need the contractor to give you a fair statement of the price before work starts.

Once you have the details hammered out, make sure to get everything in writing. A good contractor always works with a contract – and so too does a smart client. If you want anything done for a specific price, make sure to have it written into the contract. Don’t trust anything that isn’t written down, as things will very rarely work to your benefit.

Once you’ve gone through those steps, you should be able to be happy with your contractor’s professionalism. You cannot always guarantee that a project will go the way that you want it to go, but you can always tell if the job was done fairly. If you want to find out more about heating, air conditioning, or home needs, make sure to follow us.

Energy Saving Technologies For Your Business

Although HVAC systems are very crucial in promoting comfort in every building, these systems consume a lot of energy every day. The extent in which commercial HVAC systems consume energy is well known—HVAC systems are responsible for over half of the total energy consumption in commercial buildings. In light of this, it is becoming extremely important for buildings to find better and effective ways to manage HVAC energy consumption without affecting the comfort of the building. Here are some simple technologies that can help you save energy in your HVAC system:

Demand Control Ventilation Systems

Demand control ventilation systems are designed to prevent over ventilation in a building. They combine economizers with innovative carbon dioxide sensors to ensure that the level of ventilation is exactly what is needed. This is very crucial in making sure that the HVAC system only works based on the cooling demands in a specific building. Ultimately, this limits energy wastages.

Electronically Commutated Motors

The main goal of electronically commutated motors is to control HVAC blower speed. The system is able to detect the cooling demand in a building at a specific time and uses this data to regulate the speed of the HVAC blower ensuring that only the right amount of cooling is delivered in to the building. This helps to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in the long run.

Duct Sealing

Duct sealing simply helps to eliminate any form of leakages. In most cases, one of the biggest sources of energy waste in a HVAC system is the duct leakage. This is therefore one area you have to carefully consider. You can make duct sealing part of your regular HVAC system just to make sure you are on the safe side.

Saving energy through your commercial HVAC system can really go a long way in reducing the overall energy costs in your commercial space. Although there are different ways to do it, the best approach to take is to find energy conservation solutions that don’t affect the performance of the HVAC system. Follow us for more great articles on heating, air conditioning and home needs.

Indoor Air Quality Creates A Better Environment For Employees & Customers

 

When it comes to making a comfortable work environment or your employees can give their best, and your customers are at their most comfortable, you need to take a serious look at the quality of your indoor air. Commercial indoor air quality is overlooked way too often, however this is an extremely important part of creating a positive environment for both customers and employees. Just how much of a difference can clean-air versus polluted indoor air make? Read on to learn the answer!

The first thing understand is that the quality of air inside the building can directly affect the health of those who were there. There are many people who are extremely sensitive to certain allergies like mold, cat hair, cigarette smoke, and other smells that can cause runny nose, watery eyes, or even coughing and asthmatic attacks in severe situations. You don’t want these people to be hurting just because the air inside isn’t at its best. Even if you aren’t it naturally sensitive to that type of stuff, do you really want to be breathing in air that can have that type of an effect on people?

All of us have had that experience where the air was especially dry and so you had irritated eyes, a sore and dry throat that hurt and made a hard to talk, and the general unease that can come with that. If you’re not comfortable you’re not going to do your best work likewise, your customers are less likely to stick around and make a deal if they are having trouble breathing are talking.

The good news is there are many things you can do to improve the quality of air inside to your building. One of the most important steps is to look at the ventilation your building and make sure it is up to par. You may have to replace an old system, or at the very least make sure you practice regular filter changes to keep the moving air as fresh and clean as possible.

If you do not have a commercial HVAC system, that is another way to make investment that really pays off for you, your employees, and your customers. For more information on all manner of HVAC issues, make sure to follow our blog!