Businesses can inadvertently waste energy and money every year without realizing it. Often too much money is spent on the unnecessary use of energy. Although it is virtually impossible to run a business without using some energy, waste frequently occurs through the use of supplemental loads. Business owners should be aware of these expenses and their effect on the environment as well as on their bottom line. The following important information can help you learn more about reducing supplemental loads to save energy at business facilities.
What are supplemental loads?
Supplemental loads are extra sources of energy use that contribute to the overall energy use of a building. Some common forms of supplemental loads include lighting and computer usage. Supplemental loads can adversely affect the heating, cooling, and overall electrical functioning of a building. Thankfully, the use of supplemental loads can be controlled and reduced by consumers. However, that requires strategic planning and the implementation of energy-saving upgrades.
How can supplemental loads be reduced?
EnergyStar is a program started by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote more responsible and efficient energy usage by individuals and businesses. The program issued a report stating basic ways a business can reduce their supplemental loads. For example, there are ways workers can reduce the energy usage of the office equipment in their place of employment. Managers should take a “top-down and bottom-up”” approach when determining the best actions to take that will have the most effective results. At the basic level, the IT department should implement policies regarding office computer usage and the usage of other devices at the employees’ work spaces. Large office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines should be Energy Star certified. All office equipment that is not in use should be shut off to avoid using extra energy unnecessarily. Other strategies for conserving energy and reducing supplemental loads include employee education and training as well as the implementation of office-wide environmental awareness programs.
More ways to save energy at work
Although many of the energy-saving actions are obvious, such as shutting off lights when a room is empty and turning off office equipment when it is not in use, offices often have other factors that are using energy unnecessarily. Everyone in the office should be aware of certain issues and make energy-saving changes as necessary. Make sure coffee pots, space heaters, fans, and audio equipment are all shut off when not in use. Shut down computers at the end of the workday. Use the power management feature on computers and other office equipment.
Upgrading the building envelope to manage heat flow better
The building’s envelope consists of the roof, walls, windows, doors, and foundation. Upgrading these structures can help the entire building conserve energy and reduce supplemental loads. These changes to the structure of the building can help control the amount of heat flow, which helps to prevent heat loss from the air flowing through cracks to the outside of the building or into areas where there are no people to be affected by it. An easy way to prevent heat loss via the roof and walls is through the proper insulation of those areas. Windows should be sealed or replaced to prevent heat from escaping. To prevent heat flowing from the roof, a cool roof can be installed to reflect solar radiation, a green roof can be installed to absorb the solar radiation, or photovoltaic panels can be installed to harness solar radiation.
Installing properly-sized, energy-efficient HVAC systems
Making the other necessary changes of reduced office equipment usage and upgrading the building’s envelope will allow this third means of reducing supplemental loads to occur. Along with the other energy upgrades, it may be possible for a building to decrease the size of its HVAC system and install one that is smaller and more energy-efficient. The reduction in the use of office equipment will reduce the need for heating and cooling the office to reach a comfortable working environment temperature. Further upgrades to the building’s envelope will decrease the amount of cooling the indoor air will need. It is advisable for a business owner or manager to implement this change last, as it is dependent on the other changes.
Supplemental loads can take a toll on a company’s wallet as well as the environment. But, taking a few proactive steps can help ease the burden in both places. If you would like to learn more about how reducing supplemental loads can help your business, talk to a local energy consultant. Schedule a commercial energy audit to find out ways your business could be wasting energy. Learn simple ways to reduce energy use, go green and lower your utility bills.
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