Commercial property owners and managers are frequently tasked with maintaining high on-site standards. Inefficiencies throughout a property can have a major impact on your bottom line. With some, it can even prove to be a costly liability issue.
Of course, energy cost and energy efficiency are always at the top of the list. Especially with larger commercial properties and manufacturing facilities. It’s also worth noting that older commercial properties are more likely to have above-average energy consumption due to things like outdated lighting, wires, and HVAC.
If you are a commercial property owner or property manager, there are a few things you can do to improve energy efficiency throughout your site. With some of these measures, even a minor improvement across the board can make a major impact on your property’s long-term operating costs.
Upgrading And Repairing Lighting Fixtures
Lighting technology has made some major advancements in the course of the last decade and a half. This means that most commercial properties that are more than 10 years old likely have less than state-of-the-art lighting fixtures. Even older commercial properties might have compromised or damaged fixtures that impact overall energy efficiency or could be an unnoticed safety code violation.
A professional electrical inspection can help find damaged fixtures, while also helping you to assess ways where you can upgrade your commercial property’s lighting system. In many of these scenarios, upgrades in the type of lighting goes a long way toward reducing overall energy costs. This could include things like changing over to energy-efficient LED, UID or compact fluorescent light fixtures.
It’s also worth noting that upgrading lighting fixtures isn’t the only way to reduce operating costs. Something as simple as installing motion sensors in office spaces can be a very beneficial way to reduce energy costs. These systems can be set up to turn off overhead lights after a specified period of time.
Bathrooms are another place where motion lights can be very beneficial. They can be set to turn on the overhead lights when someone enters, but then turns them off after a minute or two to reduce unnecessary use of the overhead lights.
Even things like overhead lighting in common areas can be set to a timer, that’s also linked to a motion sensor. This leaves the lights on during normal operating hours and then turns them off after the point where everyone goes home. When paired with a motion sensor system, the lights can be programmed to come back on in a specific area for the janitorial staff or if someone needs to work late.
Upgrading To New Office Equipment With Power Saver Settings
Older office appliances rarely don’t have power-saving modes. They are either on or off, and when they’re on but not being used, they still draw a modest amount of electricity. Most up to date office appliances like computers, printers, and copiers have efficient energy-saving modes that either power down when not in use or go into a low-power mode that allows them to come back to full operation at a moment’s notice.
Update Data Center And Server System Climate Control Systems
These days a lot of commercial properties have some type of data center or centralized area for servers. The heat-generating in these areas often needs to be managed by some type of climate control system. Making sure that filters are clean and the system is operating at peak efficiency helps reduce operating costs.
At the same time, you might want to also consider migrating some of your older data to a cloud hosting system that works in tandem with a network-attached storage (NAS) box. This will reduce the amount of heat the system itself produces, which will further reduce the stress on the data center’s climate control system.
Maintain And Upgrade HVAC Systems Throughout The Building
Heating and air conditioning systems tend to lose efficiency with age. Especially those that aren’t maybe getting routine annual maintenance. Even something as simple as an outdated air filter or a compressor that’s low of freon can lead to serious energy efficiency problems.
A lot of times, a professional HVAC inspection can catch these issues before they lead to a costly breakdown. Any necessary maintenance, repairs, and upgrades can then be applied to maximize the energy efficiency of your commercial property’s HVAC system.
While you are at it, you might want to also check for areas where insulation and weather stripping can be repaired or upgraded. Sometimes something as simple as eliminating drafts caused by worn-out weather seals can go a long way to reduce the cost to operate your heating or air conditioning.
Install Smart Thermostats
Of course, how the HVAC system is used is just as important as its operating efficiency. This goes beyond the all-too-common problem between small office spaces where some people want their office hot and others prefer it cool.
Using a programmable smart thermostat puts the control in the hands of one individual. It also allows you to set up the office thermostat to turn itself down during off-hours. Most of these systems can also be linked to a smartphone app or other wireless device.
If someone needs to work late, the temperature can be turned up or down to make sure the office space is at a comfortable level. A lot of these apps also have some type of analytics feature which can help you determine areas where you could make minor efficiency improvements.
Have A Professional Energy Audit Performed
Even the most experienced commercial property manager likely has little training in how to spot electric inefficiencies. However, there are professional services that can perform an energy audit. This is a thorough review of the current state of the property.
This process will find areas that need to be repaired or require further maintenance as well as areas where improvements can be made. This usually includes a cursory cost breakdown that your financial staff can analyze to decide how the cost of any changes fits into your budget plans.