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Energy managers deliver top tips for businesses

Happy New Year! To help you start it off right, we've collected some of the best intelligence from the field of energy efficiency, straight from energy managers working in commercial and institutional organizations across B.C.

We asked energy managers three questions:

  1. What's the best "low-hanging fruit" to focus on when seeking energy savings?
  2. What's the least understood aspect of helping an organization shift to energy efficiency?
  3. What's the best way to get started on energy efficiency, and maintain the savings?

This month, we begin with their answers to the first question. Watch this space for more energy manager tips in the future.

Energy manager responses: The best low-hanging fruit for energy conservation

Where do you begin with energy efficiency? Here's what our energy managers told us.

Lighting

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
  • Replace metal halide lighting with fluorescent fixtures. They save energy, don't fade, provide better light and save lots of energy. Better yet, check out LEDs for the same reason.
  • Many spaces are overlit. Check Workers Compensation Board requirements and match lighting levels to the requirements of tasks performed. Reduce lighting with controls or by de-lamping (reducing the number of lights).
  • Use an automated system to ensure lighting is completely turned off after hours.
  • Install lighting occupancy sensors in enclosed spaces

Building systems & controls

  • Get existing building systems working properly and tune building controls to minimize energy use. Run HVAC systems and lighting only when needed.
  • Pay attention to scheduling. Make sure equipment is operating according to appropriate weekly schedules, including public holidays. Where you can, reduce or tighten up your operating schedules.

Heating, Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC)

  • Install ceiling fans in high ceiling spaces. There is a ton of heat up at the ceiling just waiting to get down and do something useful.
  • Control kitchen exhaust fans so they turn off when not needed. This saves not only fan motor energy but a huge amount of HVAC energy. All the air that is being needlessly exhausted has to be replaced by outdoor air that needs to be heated or cooled.
  • Install variable frequency drives for air handling units and pump motors where feasible.
  • Establish static pressure re-set for air supply systems when occupied space temperature is satisfied.
  • Establish temperature standard requirements for your space when occupied and when unoccupied.
  • Turn off systems when space is un-occupied.
  • Inspect and service your HVAC system to make sure that filters and coils are clean and controls are working correctly.
  • Reclaim the heat from refrigeration systems to heat air and water for your building. You've already paid for it, you might as well use it.
  • More HVAC tips

Get people onside

  • Low-hanging fruit? Engage your employees.
  • Work with building occupants to ensure you get effective load shedding when facilities are not occupied.

Thank you to all the energy managers who shared their knowledge. Next month they answer, "What's the least understood aspect of helping an organization shift to energy efficiency?"