Christmas and New Years are coming up, and you know what that means. Besides the fact that you will soon be stuffed and unable to move, stuck on the couch thinking about New Years resolutions, this week also means your office buildings will be empty for a few extra days.
On average, office buildings spend about $2.5-4 per square foot on energy. So if, for example, your building is 350,000 square feet, you may spend an average of $2,000 per day on energy. If everyone in the office is taking vacation for five days, and you make sure the building is not running, you could save half of your energy spend every day, and and save $5,000 this week.
If you’re looking for end-of-the-year savings in your building, or just don’t want to waste energy, make sure your buildings are operating at their baseload next week. There are a few steps you will need to take to get your building down to its minimum consumption.
First, Implement Nighttime Operations for the Entire Week
Whether your building will be unoccupied from this Wednesday until next Monday, or people will only be out of the office for the day on Thursday, there are operating changes you should make to optimize your building.
At the building level, make sure nighttime setbacks are set to occur during any time period when the building will be unoccupied, and not just at night. The building can be cooler and non-emergency lights can be turned off.
If you are going to turn your building off for several days, make sure you consider freeze protection, so there aren’t any negative consequences of lowering the building’s temperature to save energy.
Second, Take Control of Common Spaces
Before you leave for the week, take a walk around your building and check everything that has an on/off switch. Set all of the VAV boxes in common spaces to the coolest temperature that is still safe for your building. Unplug anything with a plug, including coffee machines, lamps, and printers.
Third, Get Your Tenants on Board to Help You
You can do everything in your power to reduce your building’s consumption this week, but if you don’t get your tenants on board
, you won’t be able to achieve maximum savings.
- Turn off all of their lights
- Unplug everything that can be unplugged (e.g. computers, chargers, power strips)
- Turn down the temperature in their offices
If your buildings are submetered by tenant space, you can offer the tenants that consume the least energy during the break a free bagel breakfast. Two dozen bagels will be much less expensive (and better for the environment) than a fully operating building when no one is around.
Finally, Make Sure You’re Ready When Everyone Comes Back.
Hopefully, you won’t be the only one to turn down the temperature and plug load in your building this week, so there’s one more thing you need to do to stay on top of the energy game.
Make sure you reconsider your start time next Monday morning. Usually on Mondays your building is only recovering from two days of operating at its baseload, without you ensuring that absolutely everything that can be unplugged is unplugged. Therefore, your building will have to work harder than usual to restart next week.
The solution may be to start a few hours earlier on Monday. First, this will give your building a little more time to heat before you have to let in outside air for ventilation
. Second, an earlier start time will help you avoid high consumption during peak demand that may be especially expensive on Monday while every building in the area is trying to prepare for tenants at the same time.
If you follow these four steps you can get your mind off of your building for a few days to spend time with your family. Happy Holidays and Happy New Years from Aquicore!!
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