High utility costs can be a result of paying for energy that is wasted by lights, equipment, and HVAC systems that are left on for long periods while not in use. According to Energy Star, office buildings waste up to one-third of the energy they consume. By looking closely at their operations and how they use their building, staff in Balboa Park have made a big impact on preventing wasted energy by practicing energy saving habits.
MOPA Thermostat Set-Points
Facility staff at the Museum of Photographic Arts recently increased their thermostat set points during summer months. By changing their set points to adapt for seasonal weather changes, they can prevent cooling the space past what is needed for their staff’s comfort. Along with using less energy, this has the added benefit of preventing the space from becoming too cool for its occupants.
“Switch-Off” Campaign in the Casa del Prado
Organizations in the Casa del Prado, including the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, the San Diego Youth Symphony, and the San Diego Junior Theatre, have implemented a “Switch-Off” campaign to actively encourage staff to switch off equipment when not in use. Through an energy study done for their LEED certification , they found that they could save 5,473 kWh of energy a year by educating staff about the benefits of taking the effort to turn off their equipment. This included lights, machinery, office equipment, electrical appliances and air compressors. They estimated that they could save nearly $1,000 through these reduced energy costs.
San Diego Museum of Man’s Energy Audit Team
Staff at the San Diego Museum of Man have created an “Energy Audit Team” which looks for innovative ways to save energy in their facility. Along with the energy-efficiency projects that were identified during their LEED certification back in 2016, their Energy Audit Team has studied their operations and maintenance to find ways that their staff could meet a goal of reducing their energy usage by 5%. To track their progress, they’ve also installed near real-time energy monitoring devices on their electric meters to study when energy peaks occur and create strategies to reduce their peak demand.
Are you also interested in using less energy in your business? Check out some of these low-cost tips from EnergyStar that you and your staff can use!
Operations and Maintenance:
- Conduct a nighttime audit to find out what’s on afterhours that shouldn’t be.
- Improve operations and maintenance practices by regularly checking and maintaining equipment to ensure its functioning efficiently.
- Set energy goals for your staff and a methodology to track and reward improvements.
- Turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10-40%.
- Remove unnecessary lamps (de-lamp) in overlit areas.
- Use task lighting where feasible.
Heating and Cooling
- Set back the thermostat in the evenings and other times when the building isn’t occupied.
- Adjust thermostats for seasonal changes.
- Use shades and blinds to control direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.