Energy efficiency has become the big buzzword in connection with fighting climate change. And the larger your scale of energy use is, the bigger an impact you can have by making changes. While some changes are bigger than others (and some will require more of a long-term investment versus short-term upgrades), it’s important to consider all the options. Because cutting energy use means saving money on your monthly bills; it also improves your image, and helps you take your position as a community leader on an issue affecting everyone.
It’s basic energy efficiency policy to ensure that lights are turned off when no one is in the room; most offices, classrooms, etc. will have multiple banks of lights so you can only turn on a few of them to provide lighting for after hours cleaning, pre-workday setup, things like that. However, it’s important to go a step further when you can. Ask what changes you can make to your lighting system to improve energy use, and save money simultaneously.
For example, even if you’re only using them when you really need them, incandescent light bulbs are one of the most inefficient types of lighting on the market today. By replacing these bulbs with LED lights, you immediately cut your lighting energy demand by 90 percent according to Energy Star. The bigger your operation is, and the more lights you use, the bigger a change this is going to make. Don’t forget that LED lights can last for several years once you screw them in; that’s going to have a noticeable effect on your monthly operating budget.
Some of your biggest energy expenses are going to come from your heating and cooling system. They are a necessity for providing a comfortable environment; but there are things you can do to ease the burden they place on the power grid.
One small thing you can do include acquiring automated thermostats. These ensure you’re holding steady temperatures without any fiddling with the controls. Additionally, ensuring that vents are closed and doors are shut in areas of the building that aren’t being used helps minimize the draw on your system, and cut down on the energy you’re using. Proper cleaning and maintenance will also help ensure minimal issues, and wasted energy as SRP points out.
If you have the budget for larger changes, then installing updated, Energy Star grade appliances can make a big difference. Everything from furnaces to kitchen appliances can be streamlined and made to do more with less in terms of energy. And for those who want to start making the transition away from fossil fuels, then moving from gas-based to electricity-based appliances is a step in the right direction.
Another big draw on energy for any business or school is going to be the equipment used in the office. These tools are necessary to keep daily operations going; but it’s important to step back and ask what you’re using, and how you’re using it.
For instance, are computers set to go into energy efficient power saving mode once idle? Or do they simply run at full-functionality until someone turns them off? Do you have sleek laptops that can be used in the field as well as at a desk? Or do you have old, outdated desktops that use several times the energy of a more recent model? Do you have dozens of printers and copiers in service? You could, instead, create centralized hubs to use less energy.
While buying newer, more energy efficient tools is always a good option, sometimes you can save energy through establishing new policies as well. For example, attempting to go paperless may create more digital documents, but it will also reduce the need for copiers, toner, paper, ink, etc. Even if it’s something as small as posting the lunch menu on the school’s website, or circulating memos digitally, lots of little changes can have a big impact.
For more information on how you can cut your energy costs, simply contact us today!
Lighting is a critical aspect of any building, facility, or establishment. In today’s market, there are many lighting options to choose from, ranging from traditional incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), halogens, to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). Over time, LEDs have become the most preferred lighting options in schools, libraries, and government buildings and for the right reasons. Not only do they save money, time, and energy, but they also conserve the environment. Here are seven reasons why you should consider making the switch to LEDs:
LEDs consume far much less energy than other lighting technologies like halogens and fluorescents. They lose far less of their energy to heat, with the rest converted to light. Because of their minimal energy consumption, LEDs emit less heat, making them a perfect choice in buildings that heat up. Less heat production means less demand for conditioning and cooling systems.
LED bulbs have a superior operational life compared to other forms of lighting. The average LED lasts over 50,000 hours, which is up to 25 times longer than incandescent and halogen bulbs, and up to 3 times longer than CFLs. Some LEDs can even last up to 200,000 hours. Additionally, LEDs do not contain glass bulbs or filaments, and this adds to their durability.
There are several ways in which LEDs help the environment. The first is that unlike CFLs and fluorescents, LEDs do not contain highly toxic mercury. And this helps to reduce the toxic waste generated during disposal of these lighting technologies. LEDs also last a very long time, which translates to less waste in the form of packaging, transportation, and disposal. The other way in which LEDs are environmentally friendly is through direct energy conservation. Since they use less energy, it means energy demand and use goes down, therefore minimizing the carbon footprint.
For many years, LEDs had been on the higher end of the price range spectrum, but not anymore. As the years go by, LEDs continue to make significant gains on the cost of traditional bulbs, making them affordable to most consumers. Additionally, once you switch to LEDs, you will experience a substantial decrease in your energy bills, and this will translate to direct energy cost savings.
Not only do LEDs lower your energy consumption, but they also reduce your maintenance costs. Unlike traditional lighting sources that suddenly fail, LEDs don’t abruptly stop functioning. Besides, they don’t require significant maintenance. This feature, in addition to the long life span of LEDs, saves you time and money you would typically spend on servicing and repairs.
LEDs are designed to have the same light quality throughout their lifespan. An LED that is rated 50,000 hours will not go out after that time expires. But will subsequently begin to lose its brightness until you can’t use it anymore. The microchip technology that LEDs use instead of a heated filament is what allows the bulbs to maintain light quality. You can be confident that your lights will not suddenly start to flicker over time.
Traditional bulbs are known to produce a nice warm light. With LEDs, on the other hand, you can achieve any ambiance on the hue temperature charts. What’s more, LEDs are also semiconductor devices—which means you can control them using dimmer switches. Subsequently, the dimmer switches allow you to dim your facility lighting fixtures to up to 10% of their optimum output, helping you create a much softer light.
Ultimately, switching your facility’s lighting system to LED will be a decision you will not regret. You will see a direct impact on the functionality of the lighting system and the electricity bills. To know what steps you require to make the switch, you may need an energy audit of your school or facility. Contact Energy Optimizers for energy audits, recommendations, and implementation of energy-saving techniques that will save you tens or hundreds of dollars in electricity bills.
Overseeing campus facilities and maintaining them is a significant concern for higher education institutions. And often, such a challenge can get out of hand—especially when you fail to secure adequate financing to match the need.
Subsequently, it’s encouraging for colleges and universities to know that Ohio’s House Bill 7 (HB7) takes the necessary steps to provide for a funding mechanism. Under the provisions, these institutions can undertake facility upgrades and finance the project through energy savings over a span of 20 years.
By leveraging on the support of this legislation, colleges and universities can substantially keep costs at an arms-length while equally improving campus facilities.
Let’s take a look at the MUST-HAVES to qualify for the program.
In addition, by the completion time of the project, your institution must comply with one of two energy efficiency codes:
1) Exceed current ASHRAE efficiency benchmarks by a minimum of 30%, or;
2) Attain a national energy performance rating above 77 in accordance with EPA’s Energy Star ratings and as collaborated by a professional engineer.
What do you need to know about HB-264 K-12 School Energy Performance Contracting? This law allows school districts to make pertinent remodeling of their structures and utilize the cost savings to cover for the improvements—as such, districts can finance without the concern of passing a ballot issue in pursuit of the authority to borrow.
The SPC program references “energy conservation measures” as any installation, modification, or remodeling of an existing campus building aiming at reducing energy consumption.
What types of modifications does the program cover?
For purposes of clarity, the payment dues for these energy-saving installations emanate from the savings accruing from the systems over time. So, in essence, the state is financing your equipment and project. And as such, your school district makes sizable improvements to buildings with pretty much no up-front cost.
To begin with, the institution’s board must engage a licensed architect, engineer, or accomplished energy conservation firm such as Energy Optimizers, to develop a report detailing analysis and propositions of energy conservation measures. Fundamentally, these initiatives must significantly make cuts on energy consumption and operating costs.
Equally important, the report details the financing and costs attached to such actions. Moreover, it projects how much the above-mentioned costs will reduce. This approach takes into consideration the energy consumption for no less than one year. Else, the energy conservation measures ought to save in energy, operational, plus maintenance expenditures over 15 years—an equivalent sum or amount exceeding the total outlay of implementation.
Duly, the school board should produce a “school energy proposal” and then present the script for review to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). Once the documents get approval, the work commences. Besides the ongoing work documented in the proposal, K-12 school districts in the program must avail yearly savings reports to the OFCC.
Are you looking for a personalized service that will enable you to develop a project tailored to your needs? At Energy Optimizers, USA, we take extra steps to reduce project costs—leveraging on local vendors, your staff, plus our proficiency. This approach to service makes us an excellent match for your project. We’re here to help. Contact us today.
Becoming part of the clean energy movement is a worthy cause. It helps save the planet we call home, after all. It provides hope for future generations. Businesses and schools all across the US are making the change and reducing the amount of pollution entering our atmosphere. Energy efficient upgrades are also beneficial to the people using them, since it saves you money in the long run. It’s an easy choice, a win-win situation. There’s just one small snag. Upfront costs that accompany these energy efficient upgrades often cause schools and businesses to shy away from making the change. There are numerous benefits to using energy efficient upgrades and services, but when facing the initial costs, you might find yourself asking if it’s really worth it and if it’s something you can financially handle. Utility rebates can help defray these costs.
Once upon a time, climate change was nothing more than a hypothetical situation, a post-apocalyptic scenario that we’d never have to deal with in our lifetime. Things have changed. Every day we are forced to face the effects of climate change. The planet is hurting, and we’re finally starting to pay attention. It’s not just small businesses and citizens that are taking a stand and making Eco-Friendly changes in their day-to-day lives. Electric and gas companies are taking huge strides when it comes to Green Energy packages and Energy Efficient incentives. This is good news for you if you’re thinking about implementing energy monitoring services and LED lighting upgrades.
We don’t have to tell you that making these changes will benefit you long term. You know that you’ll see your initial investment returned within two or three years. Your financial concerns aren’t for the future; they’re for the here and now. And that’s where electric and gas companies that care about saving the planet come to your rescue.
Utility rebates are part of a program to support renewable energy and energy efficient upgrades. They’re administered by states, municipal utilities, organizations, and electric cooperatives. And the good news is, they can save you a lot of money as you take your first steps towards energy efficiency. As the need for Eco-Friendly changes and clean energy initiatives increase, many companies and organizations have begun offering financial incentives for businesses looking to decrease pollution and implement energy efficient programs.
As your school or business decides to take that first, and vitally important step towards clean energy, you should conduct a search of companies offering utility rebates for those making an Eco-Friendly change. Thankfully, it should be pretty easy. Most gas and electric companies in the State of Ohio offer clean energy incentives. It’s important to make a call or check online before implementing lighting upgrades or energy monitoring services to see which companies do and don’t offer these incentives.
You can breathe deep and release a lot of stress knowing that by taking advantage of utility rebates, you are not only part of the clean energy movement that will help save our planet, but you will start seeing savings a lot faster. Plus, your proposed energy project look much more viable to anyone whose approval you may need to get the ball rolling. Now that really is a win-win situation.
Every step in the right direction makes a difference. Every Eco-Friendly change you make can help save a dying planet. And that includes changing the way you use energy.
Like you, we care about this beautiful planet we call home. We want to leave a clean and vibrant world for future generations. We offer several services, such as Solar PPA (power purchase agreement) an LED lighting and energy service program, HVAC equipment and renovations, and of course, utility rebates. To learn more about rebates and the steps you need to take to make our world a little cleaner, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Energy costs are typically one of the highest for any operation, from factories and superstores, to schools and hospitals. If you want to lower your operating costs, and pad your budget with some extra savings, then one of the best ways to do that is by undertaking an energy saving project. Whether it’s getting more efficient lighting, or upgrading your appliances to more energy efficient ones, the changes you make are going to have immediate effects on your monthly bills.
Of course, that won’t be the only thing these projects affect. Which is why, when it comes to energy-saving projects, it’s important to step back and look beyond the immediate impact to how the ripples are going to spread out.
When you look at the potential changes an efficiency or energy-saving project can have, the first thing you ask is how will it change your bills? How much less will you be paying every month based on your current system? How long will those decreased costs take to compensate for the cost of the upgrade?
Those are definitely valid questions, but they’re not the only ones you should be asking in this situation. Some of those other questions are:
These are just a handful of the considerations you should keep in mind when it comes to how an energy-saving project can affect your business. And if you’re an enterprise that’s publicly run (such as a school, government office building, police station, or something similar), then you also need to ask what the public’s opinion is regarding the project. Additionally, ask how much you could save the people funding your operation by being more frugal with your energy costs.
Every decision you make as an organization regarding your energy use is going to have an effect. If you upgrade all at once, for example, you’re going to have a lot of up-front costs. These include the new lighting system, new appliances, or whatever other steps you’re taking. However, you’ll see an immediate decrease in your energy use costs. A gradual upgrade spreads out the up-front costs for new equipment, but also prolongs your energy use; stepping it down gradually instead of dropping your bills all at once.
However, there is another question that a lot of companies and organizations simply don’t ask. What happens if you don’t take the necessary steps to save energy? Because that decision also has more effects than you might think.
Your costs may stay the same if you don’t embark on an energy-saving project, but what could that negatively effect? Are any of your existing systems or appliances old enough that when they break down getting replacement parts is expensive, or outright impossible? Will it negatively impact the perception of your company? That you’re not trying to better yourself in terms of resource usage? How much money will you lose over time because you took no steps to upgrade your current setups and systems?
These are all questions you need to think about the next time you look at your utility costs, because the number on the page is only part of the story. If you’re looking for answers, as well as ways you can start saving energy today, simply contact us today!
The whole exchange starts when you decide to leave your local utility company in search of more affordable and sustainable energy opportunities. Your change in patronage alerts the Utility company; your new retail energy provider knows that responsibility for your energy consumption has shifted. Now the utility power plant is free to generate one less building worth of electricity a day. And your retail provider is ready to generate enough extra to cover your needs.
Once your retail energy provider is aware of your patronage, they will prepare to provide the energy needed to cover your building’s predicted consumption in addition to the power needs of all their other customers. Of course, there are a number of ways increasing output can be achieved; essentially, this is when the retail energy market takes the burden of your power use off the utility power plants. One interesting benefit of the retail energy shift is that it can allow smaller and less efficient utility-company power plants decommission.
Electricity is Fed to the Shared City Grid
However, your retail energy provider does not have or need their own separate grid to keep the Utility electricity separate from their privately generated electricity. As they generate the juice, your retail energy provider feeds the electricity they create onto the shared city power grid. Larger equipment than a private solar-panel owner might use accomplishes this, and far more carefully; but it is essentially the same principle as solar net-metering. Non-utility-company energy goes in and joins the constantly flowing mass of power that the grid is always humming with.
Finally, you may be wondering how this energy you bought gets to your outlets. Your experience won’t change in the least. On the grid, all electricity is equal in fact; whether it comes from the utility power plant, your retail energy provider, or your neighbor’s solar panels. Electrons travel down the wires at a rapid pace. Those wires connect to homes and businesses which spread the current out through the fuse box to the outlets and integrated appliances in each building. Connecting to the current, likewise, pushes more electrons out into your devices; but there’s no guarantee that you will get any specific set of electrons.
The same rate and quality of power will come through your building as it always has. There’s no way to tell which electrons were generated from a specific source. However, the electricity you use is a measurable amount; you are paying for that amount to be generated by an independent producer and supplied by your new retail supplier.
Drawing uninterrupted power from your outlet, it may seem like where you buy energy from is all the same except for the details on paper. This is an easy misconception to make. Where you put your energy business does matter. Your choice, along with the choices of all your colleagues and neighbors, can influence the energy industry as a whole. If you want to see more of the nation’s energy generated sustainably, take your utility budget from the power plants and give it to solar, wind, and natural gas providers. Or invest in your own solar panels and hook up to the grid with net-metering. If you want to see more customer-friendly policies, make your ‘vote’ known by patronizing friendly companies with responsive customer service.
In this way, we can all change the energy industry one customer choice at a time. The results are already apparent as we see a significant rise in sustainable energy and new major players take the field.
No matter what kind of energy needs, plans, or values your school may have, we can help. You can reduce your costs, get more efficient, and integrate sustainable energy into both your infrastructure and curriculum. Contact us to learn more about the behind-the-scenes workings of the energy industry and how you can get better deals, service, and support sustainability in the long-term.
What is retail energy? Before energy deregulation, energy consumers like homes, schools, and businesses were required to buy all the power they needed from the local utility company. The utility company generated electricity however they saw fit, and consumers paid whatever prices and fees were demanded of us. We didn’t have a choice or any power to influence the industry in any way. This arrangement made sense from a stability standpoint. However, it wasn’t exactly fair to the consumer, and abuses of the monopoly occurred all the time.
This is exactly why energy deregulation was one of the best things to ever happen to consumers (i.e., everyone). Suddenly, not only were independent energy producers able to open up shop, but consumers could choose to buy their energy based on their budget and best interests instead of from the single authorized source. This new way brought about the rise of hundreds of individual retail electricity providers and supply companies.
But how, exactly, does retail energy work? How does the energy you’re buying from the new company differ from the energy that’s always come through your wall? And perhaps most perplexingly, how does the new energy you just bought come through the same wires, outlets, and grid connection that the utility companies installed?
That is exactly what we’re here to explain today.
The most important thing to understand is that retail electricity is not generated inside the utility company power plant. This is not just an illusion with businesses passing money in a circle to pretend like you have choice. Deregulation has allowed independent power generation companies and facilities to start selling energy separately. Retail energy companies either buy energy from the new sources or build their own power generation facilities. They are selling you new independently generated power separate from what the utility company can provide; though it will enter your building the exact same way through the currently installed outlets and wires.
Those pictures of wind turbines and solar panels aren’t just for show, either. While many retail energy companies buy power from independent plants, those that advertise sustainable energy really do have (or work with companies that have) sunny fields full of turbines and solar panels soaking up freely available natural resources like wind and sunshine. There are even a few conveniently located retail energy producers that generate through hydroelectric turbines spun by fast-flowing rivers or well-placed dams. When you buy from these providers, you’re contributing to the sustainability movement by putting your money where your values are. Every customer of a sustainable retail energy provider pays for the building of more panels and wind turbines, tipping the market toward non-burning generation.
The only question is how to compare business electricity plans and choose the right one.
Of course, each individual retail energy company has their own ups and downs, deals with their own peak hour concerns, and will set up pricing in their own way. Every commercial and residential energy consumer will need to select their retail energy company carefully in order to get the best possible deal for their neighborhood and energy needs. Each new retail energy company has their own set of policies, pricing packages, and options for customers; you’ll want to compare business electricity plans before deciding the best retail energy option available to you.
When you do choose a provider, switching energy companies is a snap. All you have to do: let your old company know you will not be renewing your contract; then let the new company know you’d like to be a customer. Within seven days, your records update, and the new company sends your next billing statement. It’s as simple as that. And for anyone scratching their head wondering what the point is when nothing changes except what’s on paper, we’re ready with the answers.
How the electricity gets from your new provider to your building is perhaps the most complicated part of the whole process. Many people find themselves wondering, “Where does the electricity come from?”. After all, nothing appears to change.
When power was regulated, city planning built a shared grid made to deliver power from the central plant location to everyone in the region. That infrastructure is still in place. Back then, it was a little totalitarian, but it was uniform, and you knew what to expect. When switching to retail energy, it’s not unreasonable to at first expect there to be a new installation, a new line run to the building, or at least a new adapter on your fuse box. But retail energy isn’t like ordering cable TV. The energy you are buying from the new provider doesn’t need any new infrastructure, just access to the grid. As it turns out, it’s exactly like solar net metering. The energy is fed into the existing shared city infrastructure that reaches everyone. Here’s how it works:
No matter what kind of energy needs your organization may have, we can help. You can reduce costs, become more efficient, and integrate sustainable energy into your infrastructure. Contact us to learn more about the workings of the energy industry and how you can get better deals and service, and support sustainability in the long-term.
Energy monitoring systems are improving with advancements in technology; more utility companies are choosing to replace old analog energy meters on homes and businesses with new digital meters. These digital meters can measure a building’s electricity and gas consumption more precisely than traditional meters. They additionally provide users with more data about how they are using energy and greater control over their energy use. If your facility still uses analog meters, consider working with an energy monitoring service who can provide new digital meters; this can help you to gain better control over your energy consumption. Here are four of the reasons why you should consider investing in an energy monitoring service that uses digital meters.
A great aspect of using an energy monitoring service with a digital meter is that your digital meter will provide you with valuable feedback regarding your energy consumption. The digital meter output will go to a computer program which analyzes usage data, comparing it to historical data.
You can then use this data to learn about how you are using energy; learn when you are using the most energy, and switch your habits accordingly to reduce usage during peak hours. You can also see real-time energy consumption data, which can help you make changes to reduce energy usage.
Additionally, seeing in real-time when you use more energy than normal can help you adjust habits as they’re forming. When used correctly, this data can help you drastically reduce energy consumption, helping you save greatly on monthly utility bills.
Overall, an energy monitoring service and a digital meter can help you to gain greater control over your energy consumption. Your system can be programmed to alert you when you’re consuming more energy than normal; or alert you when you’re going higher than the demand limits you have set. The system can even help reduce electrical loads when you are consuming more energy than normal by taking non-critical items off of the grid to reduce peak load values. This fully automated system can then take the guesswork out of energy consumption, as you will know exactly how much energy you are using at all times, and you will have tools at your disposal to easily reduce your energy consumption, which can help to save you time and money.
One of the problems with analog energy meters is that they are not always completely accurate. Not only can these systems be prone to improper usage measurements, but they also rely on a person from the utility company to physically record usage data, which can lead to inaccurate utility bills. Digital meters on the other hand accurately measure energy-consumption and send usage data directly to your energy company, reducing the margin for error.
For the environmentally-conscious organization, digital energy monitoring systems can also be beneficial by helping to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only do these systems help to save you money, but they are also environmentally-friendly, as reduced energy consumption means fewer greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Additionally, digital meters help to further reduce carbon emissions by removing the need for a representative from your utility company to physically read your meter, since usage data will be sent to them directly, which means fewer vehicles on the road. Switching to a digital energy monitoring system will then help the environment in addition to saving you money.
Contact us to learn more about how a digital energy monitoring system can help to save you time and money by giving you greater control over your facility’s energy consumption.
Phantom load is the power drawn from the wall while a device is not in use and visibly turned ‘off.’ The sources of phantom load can best be identified by monitoring the flow through outlets with smart switches and power strips. In an office building almost everything can be safely switched off or unplugged at night. But many devices in healthcare facilities actually need the phantom load they draw; this enables them to continue working for patients, maintaining records, and so on.
Audit the facility and take note of which computers and devices can be safely switched off completely at night; then build a plan for how to get to each of them. Grouping things on power strips is often the easiest way for a quick convenient energy saving effort.
Medical facilities often have an opportunity to make special deals with their power providers. You may even get offers from the state and federal government as incentives to help fund energy efficiency improvements. Never take for granted your facility’s position in the healthcare industry; it can open certain doors and make special deals available to you.
Get into the habit of looking for opportunities open to healthcare facilities; ask your state and energy provider if there are any programs you can participate in. Finding these opportunities may invoke a number of positive effects ranging from subsidization for appliance upgrades to a chance to participate in business energy strategies.
Not all medical facilities have a backup generator in case of blackouts during treatment, but many do. If your facility has a backup generator, first and foremost make sure it is in good repair and ready to be put into action quickly. Your generator isn’t just a way to keep the lights on and the machines running during big storms; it’s also a great way to lower the cost of your energy.
If your region charges demand prices during peak hours each or, alternately, if your energy provider has a demand relief program for high-consumption businesses, you have a way to participate. Essentially, you can convert a small amount of fuel into energy and power your building off the backup generator on purpose during the highest energy demand hours in order to lighten the load off the power companies and the grid.
If there’s one thing that healthcare staff is good at, it’s following procedure. In order to make sure that no illness is passed between patients and records are kept absolutely private, there are dozens of careful procedures that every healthcare facility staff member has to go through every day. From administration to doctors, everyone washes their hands, maintains security on their devices, and follows facility rules about patient management.
This means you’re actually in a better position than most to get full effective cooperation from your team on any new energy efficiency policies. Try making it standard operating procedure to turn out lights every time someone leaves an office or exam room. Add turning off and unplugging certain machines to part of their putting away procedures to prevent phantom load, and completely shutting down their workstations at the end of the day. With a team so used to following procedure, you’re sure to see results as soon as everyone gets used to the new policies.
Our final piece of advice is remarkably low-tech and high-effect. Your building is notably affected by the amount of sunlight it soaks up during the day. The more light pours through your windows, the warmer it will be indoors and the temperature inside affects how hard your HVAC system has to work to keep it matching the thermostat. To this end, try implementing a new blinds policy. With easy to reach and manipulate blinds controls, it will be relatively easy to simply open the windows treatments during cool months and mornings, then close up for hot months and warm afternoons. Simply combating the effects of seasonal weather can also combat the increased power consumption that also accompanies these seasons.
Reducing your power use is all about understanding where the energy goes and the smart ways to conserve. Contact us today to find out more about how to reduce the energy use in your office and school!
Running a healthcare facility is always an interesting dance between cutting-edge technology and sticking with proven methods that work. Medical providers strive to offer their patients the highest quality care possible; they do this by remaining up-to-date on equipment, practices, and facility management policies. At the same time, it’s also necessary to keep the facility open as an independent and healthy business. Naturally, medical facility managers are constantly looking for opportunities to lower overhead without impacting quality of care or office morale. Becoming more energy efficient is one of those rare opportunities.
Medical facilities are almost always busy. Most of the time, medical professionals and the administrative staff who support them wouldn’t think twice about whether their workplace or actions were energy efficient. It’s enough that the light turns on and off when the switch is touched; one likely has little time to stop and think about energy efficient bulbs or wasted lumens. Fortunately, improving your healthcare facility’s energy efficiency is a steady project which doesn’t require more than a few minutes daily. Here are a few energy efficiency tips for healthcare facilities and doctors offices.
The first step is to put someone in charge. It’s one thing to resolve as a group to generally look for ways to improve energy efficiency; it’s another to have a central mind deciding on methods and taking initiative. Many of the ways to increase energy efficiency, like replacing light bulbs and investigating current use, require only a small amount of directed thought and implementation. A well-suited member of your current staff may be able to take on the duties without interrupting their current role.
Put your energy officer in charge of looking into energy inefficiencies in the facility. You want them finding reasonable solutions and improvements to reduce your energy use. They’ll need a certain amount of power to take action on ideas they have and access to the support of a team a few hours a week for efforts that are much more energy efficient with more than one person working together. In most medical facilities, your energy officer will likely seek approval for budget and implementation after drawing up a plan. You can also equip them with a small budget for spot-improvements like outlet optimization and clever use of power strips.
Once you have an energy officer and a few people who will occasionally form their support team, it’s time to figure out what energy optimization will even look like for your facility. Every building is different and every business has a different energy use profile. The sum of all devices and building power can be seen as a number; this is a cost on your monthly power bill. The power bill may also hold other interesting insights; e.g., whether there are demand costs in your region and with your power provider.
Looking at past power bills will give you a clearer insight of how your usage fluctuates over the seasons. It can help you consider how it may have changed in the last few years. These changes could be due to upgrading, changing out, or installing new equipment. If you can match equipment or practice changes with past power bill fluctuations, you are on the right path to hunting down ways to bring those numbers down each month intentionally.
The equipment and computers used in your medical facility are likely the biggest impact on your power bill other than the HVAC to maintain the building itself. Medical equipment does not follow the usual patterns of appliances and gadgets like coffee pots or office printers; however, they are seeing many of the same energy efficiency improvements. Do a little research on the medical and industry equipment your facility uses regularly. If there are new models that require less voltage or amperage, this means lower power consumption and greater energy efficiency.
There’s no guaranteeing which of your current equipment can be upgraded for a more energy efficient model; but depending on what you find, this could be a great opportunity to upgrade a reasonable amount of your facility equipment and perhaps a few of the computers.
One thing many medical facilities have which aren’t in common with the rest of the business world: laundry facilities. In order to keep everything sufficiently clean and be able to properly clean up after the occasional mess caused by an unwell patient, even small healthcare facilities may have their own laundry appliances and frequently run loads on the hottest settings possible. It’s a good idea to take a detailed look at these power-hungry machines. You may find a few ways to reduce the amount of energy they need.
If possible, consider upgrading to Energy Star rated appliances or something similar depending on the specialized laundry needs of your facility. Many new laundry machines are much more energy efficient than their predecessors made five or more years ago and the current machines might still be salable to another facility on their way up. You may also want to consider how many loads must be run on sanitizing hot and if there are any that could safely be run at cooler, more energy efficient temperatures.[To be continued in Part 2]
Reducing your power use is all about understanding where the energy goes and the smart ways to conserve. Contact us today to find out more about how to reduce the energy use in your office and school!