8 Actions That Make Commercial Building Energy Systems More Efficient

The United States continues to use more energy than ever before.

In total, we topped a record-breaking 101 quadrillion British thermal units last year. Put the champagne away, though. This isn’t the sort of record that calls for a celebration.

The negative repercussions of excessive energy consumption have made it a hot topic in today’s society. Indeed, its environmental impact has led to a clarion call for more efficient energy systems in all areas of life.

Of course, another incentive for reducing consumption is the financial savings on offer!

Commercial settings are particular domains that hold a definite room for improvement. And, thankfully, there are all sorts of ways to set about making things more efficient.

Do you want to improve the state of the environment and your bank balance?  

Keep reading to discover 8 energy-saving steps that all commercial buildings can take right now.

1. Install LED Lights

Old-school lights might be cheap and cheerful to buy.

But they’re also incredibly energy-inefficient. Indeed, much of the energy they produce is released as unhelpful heat! Modern LED lighting is quickly becoming the building light standard, and provides a much better alternative.

The downside is that they’re more expensive to buy upfront. However, see them as an investment. They last considerably longer and are more efficient than halogen bulbs. As such, you’re likely to get your money back in terms of fewer replacements and utility bill savings!

Set about switching the old halogen bulbs with LEDs in your commercial building.

2. Use Motion Sensors

Motion sensors are another useful way to cut your energy usage.

As you probably already know, they’re most commonly utilized with lighting systems.

Think about your bathrooms. You could install motion sensors so that lights automatically turn on when somebody enters. Then, when the individual leaves, the lights turn themselves off.

The happy outcome is that energy is only used when it’s actually needed.

Of course, bathrooms aren’t the only place sensors can be used. Why not install them across the entire building? You’ll enjoy far less wasted energy, and dramatic financial savings in the process.

3. Leverage Daylight

Want something better than LEDs?

Try daylight instead! It’s the best light-source at our disposal, and totally free.

Do what you can to maximize the natural light that comes into the building. Install skylights (if that’s an option) and open the shutters/blinds to harness the sun.

On the subject of windows, make sure you have panes of adequate glazing. Double glazing Bristol windows are hugely energy-efficient, helping you cut heating/cooling costs throughout the year. You could also apply commercial window film for the same purpose.

4. Keep Appliances Unplugged

Phantom energy is a big problem, especially in larger commercial buildings.

You may never have even heard of it though! After all, this common scourge of energy consumption is called ‘phantom’ for a reason- people don’t even know that it’s happening.

It’s easy to assume that electronic appliances stop using electricity when they’re turned off. Alas, that isn’t the case. So long as they’re plugged in, there’s every chance they could be using energy and costing money in the process.

Stop phantom energy in its tracks by unplugging your appliances. Everything from the kettle in the kitchen to the printers in the office should only be plugged in when they’re needed.

5. Purchase Energy Efficient Equipment

Not all electronic equipment is made equal.

It goes without saying that the functionality and effectiveness of items vary between higher and lower-quality items. However, so does the energy efficiency involved.

Try kitting out your commercial building with items with higher energy ratings and energy-star certification. Take this into account for everything from refrigerators and microwaves to boilers and desk lamps.

A bit like the LED lights, they’ll be more expensive to buy upfront. You’ll save significant sums of cash in the long run, though, making it a worthy investment!

6. Keep Equipment Well-Maintained

Even the best quality equipment will become less energy-efficient over time.

It’s a natural part of the aging process. However, just as you can extend your life by staying in good physical shape, you can postpone the decline of appliances by keeping them well-maintained.

Certain things are more important than others. For instance, your HVAC is probably the biggest drainer of energy out of everything in the building. Let its maintenance slip and that energy usage only gets worse.

Make sure you stay on top of routine maintenance. Check the refrigerant levels, clean the filters, and call in professional help if you need it.

7. Plant Trees Outside the Building

You’d be surprised at how much difference trees can make to your energy consumption.

Placing particular trees at strategic points can have a profound positive impact.

Plant deciduous trees on the southern and eastern sides of the building. In the winter months, the lack of foliage will allow the sun to hit, thereby reducing heating costs. In summer, you’ll enjoy the plentiful shade they create, which will reduce the need for air conditioning.

Have evergreen varieties on the northern and western sides. These trees help block out the wind throughout the year, and create additional shade in the summer months.

8. Create an Energy Saving Culture

Your bid for greater efficiency will be made far easier with company and employee buy-in.

You want everybody onside and working in collaboration to reduce consumption.

Remember that this might be a novel idea for some people! Rather than applying unhelpful pressure to abide by certain rules, facilitate co-operation with incentives and rewards.

Make it a competition, offer prizes, and instill a sense of pride around reducing energy use. Succeed, and you’ll enjoy far reduced energy use in record time.

Time to Improve Your Energy Systems

The US consumes enormous amounts of energy every year.

It fuels our lifestyle but comes at an immense environmental and financial cost. In today’s climate, we could all do with making our energy systems more efficient.

Commercial buildings, in particular, stand to gain from doing so. After all, energy savings help increase profit margins, which is the order of the day for any business!

Hopefully, the tips in this post will help you do exactly that.

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Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.