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15 quick-and-easy ways to save energy in buildings

  1. Conduct a nighttime audit to find out what’s on afterhours that shouldn’t be.

  2. Revise janitorial practices to reduce the hours that lights are turned on each day. Better yet, switch to daytime janitorial service. This enables all lighting, heating and cooling to turn off or down at the end of the work day. It also allows employees to get to know the janitorial staff and opens lines of communications.

  3. Visually inspect insulation on all piping, ducting and equipment for damage (tears, compression, stains, etc.).

  4. Turn off lights in rooms when not needed. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10-40%.

  5. Install vending machine misers to reduce annual operating costs by $300 per year.

  6. Maximize daylighting. After all, sunlight is free! Open or close blinds to make the best use of natural daylight and take advantage of skylights or other natural daylight sources to reduce lighting during daytime hours.

  7. Remove unnecessary lamps (de-lamp) in overlit areas. Check your light levels against standards from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to see if you have areas that are over- or under-lit.

  8. Enable the power management function on office computers, which automatically puts monitors to sleep when not in use. To enable this function, visit www.energystar.gov/powermanagement.

  9. Assign someone to turn off printers, copiers, and fax machines at the end of each day. A copier left on all day and night costs more than $150 annually.

  10. Regularly change or clean HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating season. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality.

  11. Control direct sun through windows depending on the season and local climate. In the summer months, block direct heat gain from the sun shining through glass on the east and especially west sides of the facility. Depending on your facility, options such as "solar screens," "solar films," awnings, and vegetation can help. Over time, trees can attractively shade the facility, and help clean the air. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it's best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside.

  12. Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear of furniture and paper. As much as 25% more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.

  13. Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air-conditioners, or chillers. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer; keeping coils clean saves energy.

  14. Repair damaged insulation and replace missing insulation with thicknesses calculated for the operating and ambient conditions of the mechanical system.

  15. Ask your utility if they offer free or inexpensive energy audits and/or equipment rebates.

For more low and no-cost ideas to trim energy waste:


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