Retrofits – planning for the future


Retrofits – planning for the future

Today, I’m catching up on some industry magazines. I’m struck by, and thrilled by, the dominance energy-efficiency and alternative energy articles are playing  in these magazines. I am one of the 95% of Americans that think energy efficiency is an important issue and the 89% of Americans that pay active attention to their energy consumption. While I’d like to claim that its green idealism on my part, frankly it makes sense for my wallet.

Buildings use 40% of energy and emit 40% of greenhouse gases worldwide – and 50% of buildings in use today will still be in use in 2050.  A recent report from Pike Research shows that retrofits can provide 10% to 50% in energy savings. This is a big tangible savings alongside those feel good benefits like reducing greenhouse gas reductions, gaining energy independence, green branding for your business, property valuation, and even employee productivity.

You may remember that last month I wrote about a couple of steps I was taking to improve my energy efficiency – installing a Nest learning thermostat and doing some CFL light bulb replacements. I’m happy to report that I’m saving about 30% on my gas & electric bill compared to last year!

If you are a building owner – commercial or residential – I encourage you to take an active look at what you can do. Here are a few tips/ideas:

  • Install programmable building controls that enable systems to provide light, head and cooling to building spaces only when they are occupied. For control systems that are already time-programmed, revisit the schedule to make sure it still reflects actual occupancy periods. You could save 10%+.
  • Energy-efficient lighting uses less energy and generates less heat, reducing your costs and easing the strain on your HVAC systems. Reduce lighting loads with advanced fluorescent and LED technology. Compact fluorescents use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • In areas where its acceptable, dim lights and consider programmable dimmer controls. You could see energy savings of nearly 20 percent.
  • Schedule office cleaning and other services during regular work hours. This way lights, heating, and air conditioning don’t need to be left on at night.
  • Turn off computer monitors at night. A screen saver isn’t an energy saver – have your employees turn off their monitors, and computers (if possible) at night.
  • Use energy-star rated equipment and appliances – and don’t forget to have your IT department use energy-star rated servers in your server room too.

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