As we enter May and spring begins to slowly morphs into summer, the temperature is not the only thing on the rise. Air conditioning units across the country will soon roar to life and energy bills will see the impact.
While the urge to keep everyone in your office building as comfortable as possible is one of the prerequisites in managing your facility, you might be shocked to know how much energy is being wasted by poorly executed summer-time temperature control.
There are many simple steps that can be taken to help regulate your office temperatures and increase your energy-efficiency:
- Maintain a temperature set point between 73 degrees and 76 degrees Fahrenheit during the day/business hours and above 80 degrees during unoccupied hours. According to a Helsinki University of Technology study, the above temperature range is optimal for worker productivity and will also ensure you are not over-cooling your workplace.
- Adjust thermostats higher when cooling unoccupied areas within a building and during weekends and non-working hours.
- Consider installing locking devices on thermostats to maintain desired temperature settings.
- Install programmable thermostats that automatically adjust temperature settings based on the time of day and day of the week.
- In larger facilities install an energy management system (EMS) and regularly verify that temperature set points and operating schedules are correct for the controlled equipment.
Also take a look around your facility and evaluate your employees’ behavior. Do you often see sweaters or jackets being worn in the summer months? Are vents closed to keep certain areas warmer? Are space heaters still in use while your AC is running? All of these clues can help you determine the best temperature settings to help keep your employees comfortable and waste less energy. During summer months, adjusting your thermostat setting up one degree typically can save 2-3 percent on cooling costs.
Temperature control is just one side of the coin when it comes to summer energy efficiency. Making sure your equipment is well-maintained and working properly will also reduce your energy bills. Keep these tips in mind to ensure your air conditioning unit is as energy-efficient as possible:
- Regularly inspect and change or clean all air filters.
- Inspect and clean all water and refrigerant coils, condensers and evaporators.
- Inspect and repair leaks in piping, air ducts, coils, fittings and at the unit(s).
- Inspect and replace defective equipment insulation, ducting and piping.
- When replacing air conditioning units of five tons or greater, purchase units with a high energy efficiency ratio (EER) of 10.5 or above to reduce operating costs for the life of the unit.
- When old motors fail, replace them with premium efficiency motors that operate at a lower annual cost.
- In facilities with older chillers, consider replacing them with new, energy-efficient units that operate at or below .60 kilowatts per ton.
Do you have any additional energy-saving tips for cooling your building? What temperature do you typically set your office thermostat?