Tag Archives: building envelope

Guest Post: The Dos and Don’ts of Air Conditioning for Business

 

System of ventilating pipes at a modern factoryOne of the most crucial aspects of efficient management is providing an environment that is comforting to employees and customers. This can be achieved by redecorating, good organization, and of course, controlling the indoor climate. But there are certain practices commonly practiced that are not only ineffective, but costly and even damaging to your equipment.

 

Don’t: Leave cold air blasting through the front entrance.

 

As soothing as it is to come from a hot summer sidewalk into a building and feel that cool rushing breeze, the experience comes at an enormous cost to businesses. Grocery stores, for example, spend about an average of one percent on energy in their total costs – which is roughly the same as their usual profit margin. Although much of this energy is necessary on the cost of food refrigeration and lighting, a significant portion of this energy is wasted by directing it right outside the front doors.

 

Many businesses practice this, though usually large chains consider such expenditures insignificant. Not only is this wasteful, but running vents or fans directly outside the door forces out the cool air that the air conditioner generates. This causes it to run harder and longer than it needs to, and that kind of strain is damaging to cooling systems.

 

Do: Practice good habits for optimal insulation.

 

Rather than send that energy cost out the door, look for ways to insulate the coolness you already have. Seal all of your windows and doors with weatherstripping on movable parts and caulk on stationary areas. Make sure to seal any gaps on the walls or flooring with caulk, and make it a priority of your staff to leave outside exits closed whenever possible. By properly sealing in the cool air, you can help employees and customers stay comfortable without any unnecessary cost to your budget. You might even be able to forego air conditioning altogether now and then.

 

Don’t: Leave the AC running 24/7.

 

It’s a common superstition that leaving an air conditioning running at all times, even during closing hours, is beneficial to energy costs. This is hugely untrue, and based on incorrect assumptions about how air conditioners work. Some people believe that air conditioners spend most of their energy starting, since they have to cool faster to achieve the desired temperature. Their reasoning is that leaving an air conditioner on will leave the environment at a steadier temperature, which avoids the supposedly costly startup. But the truth is that air conditioners are most efficient just as they’re starting. An air conditioner running at full speed doesn’t have to constantly fluctuate to adjust to the environment, and it even humidifies the area.

 

Do: Regulate when it is best to turn off your air conditioner.

 

It’s the best option to turn off the thermostat when your business is closed. If your business has a consistent schedule, invest in a programmable thermostat and leave it to turn itself off when store hours are through. If your business runs 24/7, or if you have workers throughout the store at all times, try to leave the thermostat a little higher during low traffic times. You’ll save about two to three percent on your energy bill for every degree you notch up on your thermostat.

 

Don’t: Use energy inefficient and old equipment.

 

HVAC equipment can be incredible expensive, especially for large commercial purposes. It can be tempting to rely on old or outdated equipment to save the expense of maintenance or replacement. But HVAC equipment isn’t the kind that likes being pushed aside; it will take a vice grip on your energy bill if you don’t make sure it stays clean and intact. By not keeping tabs on the quality of your system, you might risk malfunction or complete system failure –  which might become a disaster during peak hours.

 

Do: Buy the right HVAC equipment, know when to replace it, and schedule regular preventative maintenance.

 

Depending on how old the area your business is based in, and what it is your business does, your building might be equipped with an HVAC system that doesn’t meet your needs at all. It’s also likely that your system is simply old and needs replacing, especially if you’re seeing inexplicable rises in your energy bill or your system is showing symptoms of wear (such as loud noises or excessive condensation). Know what to look for when replacing or upgrading your HVAC system. Get the opinion of several specialists to get a feel of what you’ll need for your business place. Take special care to note if your equipment is Energy Star approved; products with this distinction will save you a fortune in energy savings over the years of its use. And finally, remember to schedule regular maintenance inspections so that you can keep your equipment effective and energy efficient.

 

Following the dos and avoiding the don’ts listed here will help you save a substantial amount on your businesses’ energy output, meaning more savings for you and less pollution in the environment.

 

Jason Wall is a HVAC technician with more than 23 years of experience. When he isn’t working or writing tips and tutorials about HVAC systems for industry resources, Jason catches the occasional baseball game and spends time with his kids. He currently writes for Griffith Energy Services.  

World’s Greenest Building Opened Yesterday

Bullitt Building Seattle

Located in Seattle, the Bullitt Center opened on Earth Day as the world’s greenest building. It features state-of-the-art engineering and sustainable systems.

Timed perfectly with Earth Day, the Bullitt Center opened its doors yesterday as the world’s greenest building. Located in Seattle, the six-story, 50,000 square foot office building features a variety of sustainable projects, including composting toilets.

The Bullitt Foundation “hopes that the new center will demonstrate that carbon-neutral office space can be ‘commercially viable and aesthetically stunning.'”

Part of the Living Building Challenge, the Bullitt Center features a rain water collection system, aerobic composters, and rooftop photovoltaic panels that produce around 230,000 kilowatt-hours a year.

The mechanical and electrical rooms of the Center will have large glass windows to display the state-of-the-art engineering and innovative systems. The building’s indoor air quality, energy consumption, and solar power production will all be closely monitored and updated in real time for visitors.

Read more about the innovative Bullitt Center at the Arch Daily.

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Strategies for Cooling Buildings

cool roof building envelop

Adopting a mixed mode approach is an effective cooling measure for commercial buildings that have high energy usage.

It may not feel like it here in Kansas City, but summer is right around the corner. For businesses looking to save on utility costs, that means implementing strategies for cooling commercial buildings.

It seems that commercial buildings are more susceptible to higher energy use. This is because offices and commercial buildings have high indoor waste heating from people, lighting, computers, and other electrical appliances.

Of course, reducing energy use isn’t the only reason for cooling buildings. Comfort for employees is also important. So how do you keep your business cool during the summer months without spending a fortune?

One solution is to adopt a mixed mode approach in which passive cooling measures are used including lighting controls and occupancy sensors.

Worldwide Energy also provides building envelope solutions that can even temperatures to improve occupant comfort such as cool roof reflect, insulation, and window tinting.

With careful design and system management, commercial buildings can provide high levels of indoor comfort while still operating in an energy efficient manner.

Contact one of our certified energy auditors to schedule a complimentary facility review.

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Energy Savings with Window Film

Window tinting is an effective building envelope solution, and can help reduce solar heat gain and utility costs.

Energy efficiency is a cost saving investment that most businesses are tuning into. And according to a new report by the International Window Film Association (IWFA), installing window films on homes and businesses is the way to go, especially if it’s an older building.

The study was commissioned by the IWFA and conducted by ConSol and compared installing window film to several traditional energy saving techniques. Researchers found that installing window film on new homes and businesses did not perform as well as other equipment, such as efficient lighting.

However, when it comes to older buildings, “the savings per cost of adding film to windows outperformed all other energy saving measures.” Retrofitting older buildings to become energy efficient is an investment, and window film usually has a return on investment of less than two years.

Window tinting is an effective building envelope solution, and can help reduce solar heat gain, and reduces air conditioning costs and lighting bills, all while letting in natural light without harsh UV exposure.

Source: Energy Boom

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