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Three free ways to keep your cool

Businessman in office with computer and fan cooling off

Keeping the workplace temperature comfortable can be as challenging in summer as it is in winter. But there are some simple ways to save energy and keep your cool even under the hot August sun.

Here are three quick no-cost ideas that can save energy and money.

Stop short-cycling

When your thermostat "set points" (the target temperatures to trigger heating or cooling) are too close together on the HVAC system, you can cause what's called short-cycling, making the HVAC turn on and off continually.

For example, if you set your cooling at 21 degrees Celsius, the system will often cool beyond the target and drop the temperature to 19 degrees. If your heat is also set near 21, you'll wind up triggering a heating cycle. Short-cycling is not only inefficient, it can wear out your equipment. What you want is to set the two points far enough apart to avoid simultaneous heating and cooling.

It's recommended that heating and cooling points be set at least three degrees Celsius different from each other. Proper adjustment of set points can save up to 10% on your energy bill.

Adjust the dress code

They say "neatness inspires confidence," but mandating employees to wear suits and ties can lower productivity in hot weather, and escalate energy costs if you have to increase the amount of mechanical cooling to maintain comfort. Before you turn the cooling dial, consider adjusting the dress code instead, and implementing business casual attire for the summer. This simple change can have a remarkable affect on energy costs, and employee morale.

Turn it off

Turn off equipment when it's not needed. This is true at any time of year, but in addition to drawing energy unnecessarily, computers, lighting, and other machinery can add unwanted heat to the office space in summer. In particular, turn off cooling equipment and fans when the workspace is not occupied and in areas that are unoccupied for long periods, such as stairwells, vestibules, and storerooms. If pre-cooling all or part of the workplace is necessary, consider installing a programmable thermostat so the HVAC can come on only when needed. If keeping your computers cool is an issue, consider consolidating servers to cut both the costs of energy used by servers and the energy it requires to cool them.

For more information and ideas on keeping the workplace cool in summer, check out the business heating and cooling Green Guide.