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In 2020, 18% of all energy used in the US was consumed by commercial buildings. Aside from the huge magnitude of the cost associated with this, using so much energy also has quite an environmental impact.
So, what can commercial buildings do to lower their energy impact?
There are a host of electrical upgrades to consider that can make your commercial building more energy efficient.
Read on to learn more about ideas to consider for your commercial space.
Importance of Energy Efficiency in Your Commercial Building
Why should an energy-efficient building be important to you? You might think there’s not a lot you can do to control your energy bill, or maybe you aren’t responsible for that cost.
Yet, there are several reasons why supporting energy efficiency in a commercial space is important.
Once you investigate your energy usage and look into your equipment, you might find many places to improve and lower usage. This can also lead to lower maintenance costs as equipment runs more efficiently.
For large commercial spaces, there are a host of tax incentives available. Businesses are always looking for ways to save on tax dollars. Most state governments and the federal government have a variety of incentives that lead to tax savings.
If you operate a building leasing to other businesses, your property is more valuable as a highly energy-efficient space. Knowing that a building occupant can save on energy costs makes your property value better.
When your building is more energy efficient, not running ultra hot or too cold, your occupants and employees will be more comfortable. Keeping the building at a consistent temperature can also result in valuable savings.
From a broader perspective, making an energy-efficient building is better for the environment. When you use a smaller amount of electricity, you also use less coal, natural gas, or petroleum, which is what helps to create electricity.
Start With an Energy Efficiency Audit
Simply put, you can’t fix what you don’t understand yet. It’s important as you consider your commercial space and its energy usage that you really understand it.
In your quest for improved energy efficiency and electrical upgrades, take the time to audit your energy usage. There are experts who can help with energy inspections and even suggest energy updates to lower electrical usage.
A good energy audit will do several things, including:
- Look at your utility data for power and HVAC and document usage
- Look at energy consumption rates
- Evaluate benefits vs. costs for energy improvements
Many studies have found that even with no actual improvements being made, energy efficiency improves after an audit, simply from awareness.
Consider Plug Loads
One simple thing you can do is to consider the plug loads inside your building.
In a large building, it’s likely there are many devices charging and equipment plugged in, often inefficiently.
Look at how your occupants are using plugs. Do you need more plug availability versus just a web of extension cords?
At a bare minimum, consider energy-efficient power strips.
Install Smart Meters for Lighting and HVAC
One way you can better control and manage energy usage is by understanding the impact of the different systems your building uses.
You can start by installing smart meters for your major systems like electrical and HVAC. These smart meters will give you more specifics about usage and how you might make it more efficient.
One simple strategy is to analyze daylight utilization. Is your building taking advantage of light from outside? This doesn’t mean you won’t need indoor lighting, either.
Yet, making sure your windows are free from obstruction, so the natural light that comes in can help with energy usage. One renovation tip is to use a bright paint color inside that can increase visual acuity and reduce eye strain for occupants.
Energy Certified Equipment
Another important way you can manage your commercial building is by looking at the main systems you use in it. You want to convert to all Energy Star Certified products for maximum efficiency.
When a product is Energy Star Certified, it tells you that the Department of Energy endorses the product and that it will be trusted with energy-saving equipment.
While lighting is necessary for your building, you need it to be at its most efficient. You can start by doing a lightbulb audit.
By switching from incandescent lights to LED lights, you get immediate savings.
LED lights use less energy, so you get savings this way. But they also emit less heat, which can save on cooling the building. Their light is also brighter, offering better working conditions for employees.
One goal you can seek for your building is LEED certification. LEED is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
This globally recognized certification focuses on energy efficiency and other ways you can make your building function better.
Making the Investment in Improvements and Getting the ROI
Once you complete your electrical upgrades, it’s worth it to revisit your electrical audit. You can consider not only what you’ve done in improvements and the costs for those things.
You can look at new energy usage and plot out the actual return on investment for those improvements. Most experts suggest that worthwhile improvements pay for themselves within a few years.
Making Your Space More Energy Efficient With Electrical Upgrades
Knowing the huge amount of drain your building can have on the power grid and the usage impact, seeking electrical upgrades makes sense. Ultimately, it can save you money too.
For more details on electrical upgrades or electrical work that make sense for your commercial building, we can help. Contact us today to learn more.