While the full list of possible actions you can take to make your commercial building more energy efficient is long, and could quickly become overwhelming, we’ve found it to be very helpful to let our clients know what actions they can take right now that can make a difference.
In other words, without having to go through an entire capex planning session, seek out funding, or turn your current processes and procedures upside down, what can building owners, facility managers, and maintenance staff do to make an impact on your commercial building’s energy efficiency?
There are a few go-to options that are easy to put into action.
Learn about energy efficiency
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it’s important not to skip it.
There are numerous reliable resources online or a quick phone call away to help you learn more about how your building’s systems operate and what can be done to make them operate better. Likewise, there are plenty of organizations - ours included - that are more than happy to arrange a visit for the purpose of performing an operational assessment or energy audit, which is the first step in knowing the details of exactly how your unique building is performing.
Here are a few valuable resources to get you started:
- EnergyStar.gov - resources geared directly toward commercial building owners
- Energy.gov - resources including information on state-specific energy efficiency incentives and rebates available in Virginia and North Carolina
- ACEEE.org - resources specific to commercial buildings from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy
Attack the low-hanging fruit
You don’t need to learn much about energy efficiency and savings to realize how easy it is to waste energy for no reason at all:
- Leaving lights on when no one is in the room
- Leaving computers, copiers, and other equipment on overnight
- Heating/cooling spaces that are never or are rarely occupied
- Maintaining daytime comfort levels all night
There are plenty of other very simple things you can do to eliminate needless waste. In many cases, an hour’s brainstorming followed by a few well-written emails can result in hundreds of dollars or more off your monthly utility bill.
Encourage energy efficiency
While these super simple steps described above can likely be handled with little or no inconvenience to anyone, there are larger steps that will eventually need to be considered as well.
Starting today, why not make a habit of talking up the importance of building energy efficiency and reduction of energy waste among your maintenance staff, tenants, and anyone else using your building regularly? If you can start building a positive attitude toward making necessary changes now, when those larger changes occur, you’re more likely to have the needed support from staff and tenants alike.
Start planning for the bigger projects
While remembering to turn off lights and adjust the thermostat are great, they’re not likely going to accomplish all that’s possible in making your commercial building more energy efficient. For most buildings, reaching an adequate level of energy efficiency is going to require some larger investments and longer-term projects.
For example, any or all of the following could be a valuable step for your building to take:
- Upgrading the lighting to more energy efficient bulbs
- Replacing the windows and/or wall and ceiling insulation to improve temperature stability
- Upgrading some or all of the HVAC components to more efficient models
- Installing alternative energy sources like solar or wind to augment usage
These aren’t just little projects you can plan out and get finished in a week. They’re going to take extensive planning and budgeting, and the help of professionals who can guide you through the process successfully.
What you can start doing today, though, is taking the necessary steps to identify what larger projects your building can benefit from and getting professional estimates on what sort of time frame and investment is required to make it happen. If you begin planning now - even if it’s just one phone call - you avoid dangerous procrastination that can lead to untold thousands of wasted dollars over time.
At Piedmont Service Group, we’re always excited to help a commercial building owner in Virginia and North Carolina figure out how to best improve their building’s energy efficiency. Whether that involves teaching you the basics, identifying simple fixes you can handle on your own, or diving deeper into more extensive, professional solutions, we’d love to discuss your options for supporting energy efficiency for your commercial building.