Commercial Building Utility Costs – Saving Money With Energy Efficient Design

In our down turned economy, the pressure is on companies to cut costs without using layoffs that perpetuate the down turn. But, in order to cut costs without using layoffs, most companies would need to reduce their budget in area other than payroll without compromising their bottom line, which often seems impossible. However, that’s exactly what some companies are doing by implementing energy efficient design in place of interior lighting systems and HVAC systems whose high energy usage can result in between tens of thousands and millions of dollars in unnecessary annual utility cost.Today, most companies have technologies in place to reduce utility cost, such as fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. But only a small number of companies implement energy-efficient design in a consequential capacity, which involves retrofitting old operating systems with new, energy efficient components to reduce commercial building utility costs as much as possible.As mentioned above, two common targets of energy-efficient retrofitting to reduce commercial building utility costs are interior lighting systems and HVAC systems. The problems with traditional lighting systems are two: they typically rely on inefficient forms of lighting (e.g. fluorescent T12 lighting and metal halide lighting), and they typically lack a control system that conserves energy by switching off lights according to movement patterns or on a set schedule. The problem with traditional HVAC systems is that some their components (e.g. chillers and air distribution fans) are oversized, using more energy than necessary without producing a more desirable effect. Other common methods for improving a building’s energy-efficiency include installing a more efficient building envelope and replacing particular machines with more efficient versions.In some cases, companies believe that their machinery and operating systems are efficient because a manufacturer said so. However, to accurately determining a building’s energy efficiency requires an energy efficiency consultant to perform an energy audit whose findings can be used to compare a building’s energy use per square foot to the energy use per square foot of similar buildings on a regional or national basis. If the findings are unfavorable, the consultant works with the company to arrive at solutions that match the company’s energy efficiency goals, such as desired annual utility savings, brand preferences, aesthetic factors, desired reduction of carbon emissions, and expected ROI. Most efficiency projects that focus on improving a building’s biggest problem areas have a first-year ROI of 50 percent or more, making it easy to pay the balance of a financed project in full within the first three years. With the project paid for, the savings it generates becomes pure profit that enhances a company’s bottom line for years to come.

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How Energy Efficient Appliances Will Save You Money

When you plug into today’s energy-efficient appliances, you’ll enjoy huge long-term savings. So, are your appliances at home “green?” No, we’re not talking about the classic avocado green from the 1970s, but green as in eco-friendly and energy efficient.All the discussion and buzz surrounding products that are eco-friendly can sometimes make it hard to distinguish the facts from the “green wash,” but in this article we’ll teach you how energy efficient appliances save money and the best way to shop for them. Realistically, you can expect to pay more up front for efficient appliances, but over the course of time they pay themselves back, and then some.So, what exactly is meant by an appliance that is green? The term “green” is usually applied to energy-efficient appliances, especially those that have been awarded an “Energy Star” rating.Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program that was first introduced in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency to identify and promote energy-efficient products. Energy Star labels can now be found on more than 30 product categories and thousands of specific models.Basically, when an appliance is built to be more efficient, it uses less energy. The consumption of less energy results in lower levels of pollution from the output of electricity. They also result in lower power bills each month.Most home appliances that are made today are extremely efficient, but buying an Energy Star model increases that efficiency dramatically. For example, the average Energy Star refrigerator available today is over 150 percent more energy efficient than a comparable unit made in 1980. That’s a big energy savings difference in a relatively short period of time!The one negative to appliances that are energy efficient is that they’re typically sold at a higher cost. For example, vertical-axis washing machine in the mid-price range generally cost around $500 to $600 while a horizontal-axis machine that is more energy-efficient can run above $1000. In many cases, however, the initial higher cost, as noted above, is ultimately offset by the longer-term energy savings.After water heaters and air conditioners, refrigerators and freezers are the next biggest household power gluttons. However, manufacturers continue to make improvements and have designed better compressors, condensers, evaporators and fan motors to cool more efficiently. Models put together since 2001 are over 30 percent more efficient than their 1990s predecessors, thanks to stringent federal standards and Energy Star rating standards.It’s possible to save over $100 or more on your annual electric bill by purchasing an energy efficient model. You’ll save even more each year if you replace older appliances with the newer energy-efficient models. If you buy a high-end refrigerator with a higher efficiency rating, your refrigerator could pay for itself in just 3 short years.When purchasing any energy efficient appliance, always refer to the EnergyGuide label and look for the Energy Star to select the most efficient model. Do your homework first; no matter what color you choose for your new appliance, please just make sure it’s “green.” In so doing, you help the environment, your wallet, and will find the functionality results of each model matches or exceeds its non-efficient counterpart that you used in the past.

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