Prepare Your Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Building's HVAC system for Winter

As temperatures drop and the cold months linger, property owners and managers are tasked with combatting rising energy costs. Sufficiently heating a commercial real estate building can often drain the wallet – but it doesn’t have to. We’ve compiled a list of the top eight tips for saving money this season.

1. Invest in LED lighting. A 75-watt incandescent light bulb can be replaced with an LED that only consumes 3 to 13 watts, while emitting the same amount of light. Turning it on for 8 hours a day costs about $2.00 in electricity for an entire year. And the LED bulb won’t need to be replaced as often, as its life span is 10 years.

2. Take advantage of the sun. Don’t be afraid to use the sun as a source of free light and heat. Between sunrise and sunset, open any blinds and turn off a light. This saves on electric costs as well as provides some natural heating to your building.

3. Slow escalators during downtime. Adding a sensor that slows down the escalator when no one is on it reduces its energy costs by 30 percent.

4. Only heat rooms that are utilized. Double check that unoccupied spaces are not adding to energy costs.

5. Inspect temperature sensors annually. During the winter months incorrect low temperature readings can raise costs as the system thinks its cooler when it isn’t. This not only causes a spike in your energy bill but also can over work the heating system.

6. Turn down your water heater. Water heating accounts for about 15 to 25 percent of the energy consumed in in most buildings. Turning down the heat of water can help you save. This is a simple trick but can be useful. Water heaters are often set by manufacturers at 140°F. This is higher than necessary and can result in a substantial amount of wasted energy. Set water heater temperatures no higher than 120°F.

7. Monitor equipment use. Office equipment, electronics and appliances continue to draw power when they are not in use, and even when they are turned off. Use sleep mode for computers, printers, and copiers to power them down when they are not being used. While you cannot unplug every device, use power strips to shut off clusters of equipment with a single flip of the switch.

8. Limit personal Appliances. Personal appliances in office spaces and commercial facilities, such as space heaters and fans, can cost up to $135 per office each year. To limit expenses, remind employees with personal appliances to turn them off or unplug them when they are not being used.

Simple strategies like these are easy to implement and can boost your building’s “green” reputation. Attracting tenants – and retaining them – is a priority for property owners and managers, and adopting new, sustainable practices can give your building a competitive edge. According to the U.S Green Building Council report, “green” buildings maintained an occupancy rate up to eight percent higher than non-green buildings. So this winter, take advantage of the multitude of opportunities to make your property more efficient.