This summer is set to be more extreme than prior years, with more frequent above-90-degree days on the East Coast while the drought in the West continues to expand. Hordes of people will be retreating to their offices for temperature-regulated air conditioning, but even well insulated buildings have trouble keeping cool. Hot summer days that are really hot (i.e. greater than 100 degrees) require up to 30% more energy than 85 degree days.
How can you satisfy the demand for cool buildings in the heat without breaking the bank?
1. Adjust your HVAC operating schedule
Everyone would love to have office spaces remain a consistent, perfect temperature. To achieve this, HVAC systems do not need to be running constantly. Save energy and money by only operating during business hours; up to 59% of utility costs are from heating and cooling buildings.
While you’re at it, adjust your thermostat. Even though you’ll want the building to be a chilly 65 degrees after being in the 100 degree heat, communal and tenant spaces don’t need to turn everyone to ice cubes as soon as they enter. After a few minutes in the chilly air conditioning, clients will be comfortable again, so don’t waste energy by running the A/C on full blast. Set the thermostat above 72 degrees and save about 3% for each degree. Your tenants won’t notice the mildly warmer space, but your energy costs will show the savings. Go ahead and try it!
2. Check your equipment
Is your equipment running properly? If a cooling tower is malfunctioning, it will work harder to keep the building cool, further damaging the equipment. If this happens in the middle of summer, you’re in trouble.
Submetering your equipment can give you actionable data to ensure all of your equipment are using energy efficiently and functioning effectively. Once you record data, simple fixes can help your equipment run more efficiently without costly retrofits.
Just as the building schedule changes in the winter, building managers can adjust the ventilation schedule in the summer to run only when occupied to reduce energy use. The HVAC system will have to run over a shorter time as it works to cool the building down and maintain an ideal temperature.
If you have an economizer, and your building is in an area where temperatures goes down under 65 degrees in the summer, you should consider using it. Economizers regulate the temperature of your building based on the outside temperature. Between 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit, economizer can use all outside air to maintain a comfortable temperature instead of using the HVAC. This might not be something that you can use in the summer in Washington D.C. but in San Francisco, this trick could save you a lot of money every day of the summer.
Armed with knowledge, you’re now ready to take on the heat. With proactive measures to cut back on energy consumption, you can save on your costs without breaking a sweat!
GUEST BLOG POST FROM: