As summer approaches, you’ll probably be cranking the AC in the office more often than not. But as you soak in the cool breeze offered by your commercial HVAC system, you might want to consider the cost of energy.
Very quickly can energy costs eat away at your office’s budget, especially if you aren’t vigilant toward its impact. Employees should all be able to work in a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment, all of which can be afforded by your HVAC system — but its maintenance is integral to saving your company money.
Cutting Energy Costs in Commercial Spaces
No one wants to work in an office that’s poorly ventilated — especially in the sweltering summer heat. With employees slowly filtering back into offices, you want to make sure that there’s nothing inhibiting your HVAC system’s performance. Unattended disruptions to your HVAC systems not only affect employee performance, but it also negatively impacts your company finances.
Luckily, there are ways to avoid paying hefty energy costs — such as through general maintenance and harnessing the power of new technologies.
1 — Maintain Your HVAC System
With their all-encompassing nature, commercial HVAC systems perform a significant amount of work. Fuel (think electricity, oil, gas, etc.) is usually burned when heating the office, while cooling systems and refrigerant serve to cool the air. There are several components of an HVAC system — such as filters and evaporator coils — that can easily get dirty if not maintained properly.
If not running at peak performance, you may find yourself turning the AC (or the heat) up at inopportune moments — driving up energy costs. With a proper maintenance schedule, you can detect problems in your HVAC system early. From there, you can determine whether to clean any dirty parts or have them replaced. Doing so will optimize your HVAC system’s performance and, in turn, your energy bills.
2 — Be Aware of Leaks
Anything leaky is always a cause for concern, especially when it comes to your HVAC system. It may start from poor installation or general damage over time — but whichever the case may be, you want to jump on any leaking problems as soon as possible.
Aside from the visuals of it, you can detect a leaky system is in action when your AC is running but cooling becomes no more. It could mean your compressor is not operating at full capacity as well. Allowing an AC to run without cooling the air will not only increase employee frustration, but also drive energy costs through the roof.
3 — Use a VRF system
Although they’ve only been used in the United States since the early 2000s, variant refrigerant flow (VRF) systems are a great alternative when it comes to cutting energy costs. Connecting outdoor to indoor units via refrigerant piping, VRF systems provide both heating and cooling functionalities for your building (at the same time, too!).
VRF systems also don’t operate at 100% capacity at all times. According to Samsung HVAC, this is accomplished by the system modulating capacity accordingly — regulating temperature only where areas need it. Not to mention, they’re also quiet and easy to install!
4 — Make Use of Energy-Efficient Lights
Light bulbs are undoubtedly one of the most used items — not only in your home, but also in the office. Your office might have incandescent light bulbs, which are rather common, but are also quite inefficient in regards to your energy costs. According to Green America, incandescent light bulbs generate over 90% of heat as opposed to actual light. You also get around 1,500 hours of use from an incandescent light bulb — making them far less superior to other alternative sources.
You may want to opt for a compact fluorescent light bulb (CFLs) or light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs). While the initial purchase may be expensive, it will surely benefit you in the long run. You can save upwards of 40% on your energy bill by switching to CFLs. With LEDs, you can save anywhere up to $249 on your bill as well. On top of that, your office may be eligible for federal incentives and rebates if you make the switch to LEDs.
5 — Shut Your Doors and Windows
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how effective this strategy may be. Keeping your doors and windows shut prevents hot summer air from entering your office, while allowing for cool air to remain. Vice versa if it’s wintertime.
You can save plenty here, as you won’t have to run your AC or heat as much if you control your indoor climate through this simple method. Keep an eye out for drafts, unnatural humidity, and insects that may creep into your office.
6 — Ensure Proper Commissioning
To commission an HVAC system is to ensure its proper functioning and operation. Commissioning your system will verify all parts have been accurately installed in the right positions and are in working order.
If your HVAC system hasn’t been commissioned, you may run into problems such as random hot and cold spots arising in your building. Not only will this increase employee frustration and discomfort, but it will also drive up energy costs — as money will be wasted on needless repairs that can be circumvented from the jump. A lack of commissioning can also lead to decreased performance and longevity of your HVAC equipment.
7 — Power Down Equipment
Quite possibly the easiest way to cut down on your energy costs is to simply power down your equipment. One issue that plagues commercial businesses is the scourge of vampire power.
Vampire power refers to the electricity used by an appliance that is plugged in but not in use. In fact, Payless Power says that up to 20% of your energy costs can be attributed to vampire power. You can circumvent this in the office by unplugging things such as coffee machines, microwaves, fans, idling computers, printers, and fax machines.
Controlling Energy Costs with Donnelly
At Donnelly Mechanical, our trained professionals are here to help you through every step in saving money. With our staff, we help maintain your commercial HVAC system and further optimize your energy efficiency, while cutting down energy costs. To find out more, visit our website and contact us today!