During the winter months, building operators have to work hard to keep their customers and employees warm and comfortable. By implementing a few easy strategies, organizations in Balboa Park have been able to cut their energy use during these critical months.
Here are six tips used by Balboa Park venues that can help reduce your winter energy costs without having to sacrifice the comfort of your building occupants.
1. Actively regulate temperature
Adjusting the thermostat can help cut a building’s energy usage. Creating different thermostat set-points for different times of the day also helps reduce your energy usage, without sacrificing your occupants’ comfort. For example, you can set the office thermostat between 65 – 68 degrees during business hours, then lower it to 60 – 65 when your business is closed for the day. This helps prevent energy being used to heat or cool a building with no occupants.
Facility staff at the Museum of Photographic Arts took on an effort to reduce air conditioner energy use by adjusting their temperature controls. By setting their thermostat two degrees colder during the winter, and two degrees hotter during the summer, they found savings on their energy bill.
2. Ensure efficiency of your mechanical systems
Maintenance on your heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) can ensure your systems and equipment are working as they should all year round. By changing your filters regularly and tuning your HVAC equipment annually, you’ll improve its efficiency and save on your energy bill.
The Old Globe Theatre checks for improvements to their HVAC equipment to save on their energy costs during the winter seasons. By performing important routine maintenance to their system, their HVAC is able to deliver warm air to building occupants while using less energy.
3. Plant trees for shade and as a wind block
Planting trees can help shield your building from weather conditions throughout the year. During the winter, trees work to shelter your building from chilly winds. In the summer, trees provide shade from the hot sun.
The Balboa Park Conservancy is constantly working to bring the benefits of trees and a diverse urban forest to the Park. Through their Tree Balboa Park program, they’ve been working to reestablish the Park’s historic tree canopy that was damaged during recent droughts. Not only do trees in the Park shield our buildings from weather conditions, they also capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.
4. Insulate your water heater and pipes
Insulating your water heater, especially if your water heater is older than seven years, can set you on the path to saving energy and money. This insulation helps to keep the water within the heater warmer over a longer period of time, allowing the heater to use less energy. Insulating hot water pipes will ensure the water stays hotter on its way to the tap.
In historic buildings like the ones in Balboa Park, there is often older equipment that uses more energy than necessary. Organizations in Balboa Park have found ways to help their older equipment run more efficiently, like insulating water heaters and pipes, to reduce energy use over time without having to invest in new equipment. Quite often, efficiencies gained through insulation will allow a reduction in the operating temperature at the heater without a loss of temperature at the tap.
5. Seal your envelope
Got leaks in your building envelope? Plug and seal them with weather stripping and caulking to help prevent any heat loss. The loss of heated or conditioned air can be costly in the long run, because the HVAC system has to work harder to keep the building at the set temperature. Updating windows to ones that seal well, along with insulated glass that reduces heat transfer, can also help maintain your controlled environment.
Staff in the historic buildings in Balboa Park have also found benefits by focusing on plugging leaks in the building envelope. Sealing these leaks not only helped reduce how much energy their HVAC system used, it made all of the occupants in the building warmer and more comfortable.
6. An energy conservation culture can make a difference
If you’re looking for new ways to conserve energy, why not ask your employees to offer ideas? Informing your employees on ways they can be energy-conscious can help create a collaborative and energy–efficient work culture where everyone benefits.
In the office of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, our staff is constantly working to build a culture that champions energy-conscious behavior. Coworkers encourage each other to turn off lights, computers, and other electronics when they are away from their desk.
These energy tips are just some of the ways that you can continue to save energy during this winter season without sacrificing the comfort of your building occupants. For more ideas on how to lower your energy use at work, visit sdge.com/business.