Tag Archives: businesses

LED Lighting Creates Better Learning Environments

 

Administrators at the Cherokee Elementary School in Scottsdale, Arizona are hoping that LED light fixtures will help students focus more; particularly special education students.

 

Educators found that students in the special education classes were often bothered or distracted from the continuous flickering and buzzing of fluorescent lighting. To fix this, the classrooms were retrofitted with new LED fixtures that provided a quiet atmosphere and better lighting for the students.

 

The lighting retrofit also saved the school nearly 60 percent in energy consumption, plus additional reductions in maintenance costs. The school received utility rebates to help offset some of the costs of the project.

 

“Augmenting the need for fewer fixtures to provide the needed light, the LED luminaires use less ceiling space while illuminating the same amount of area inside the classrooms. In addition, the fixtures are fully dimmable with a hand-held infrared device so teachers can adjust the lighting levels to meet the changing needs of the classroom.”

 

Creating a conducive lighting environment can spell out better concentration, productivity, and safety for occupants, especially in schools and businesses.

 

Source: ThomasNet.com

8 Energy Management Tips

 

Energy efficiency is a great opportunity for businesses to save on costs, and energy management can help find those opportunities.

 

Energy Manager Today lined out some tips and steps to take when managing and maximizing energy cost savings.

 

  1. Understand your building’s functional, energy, and cost baselines.
  2. Rate your buildings.
  3. Perform focused energy audits.
  4. Develop and prioritize Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs).
  5. Identify incentive programs and funding sources.
  6. Project implementation and management.
  7. Perform measurement and verification.
  8. Keep track and continue to measure performance of equipment and systems.

 

Read more on how to implement these tips at Energy Manager Today.

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.  

Chambers of Commerce as Catalysts for Clean Energy

A nonpartisan clean-energy network for local chambers of commerce found that many are serving as catalysts of clean energy innovation and growth.

The Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy surveyed hundreds of local chambers from around the country and found that they are becoming major drivers of innovation and economic development with clean energy.

“We found that chambers are eager to help their member companies tap into growing clean-energy markets,” wrote Diane Doucette, the Executive Director of the organization.

“Local chambers are trusted business experts in their communities and have a unique ability to bring together policymakers, regulators, entrepreneurs, investors, academics, nonprofit groups, and labor around economic development and the emerging clean-energy economy.”

Source: Greenbiz.com

 

By Gaylen Davenport

10 Mistakes of Corporate Sustainability Reporting

Corporate sustainability reporting has been enacted in many large companies as a way to track energy usage. When done incorrectly however, CSR can do more harm than good. Here are ten mistakes to avoid for your CSR report:

  • Weak goals: know what success looks like for your company and build your CSR around that
  • Mismanaged data: collect good data, and assign responsibilities to trained people to check for accuracy
  • Disordered priorities: prioritize sustainability in the CSR reports as well as financial performance
  • Discounting feedback: take advice from third parties such as auditors
  • Breaking the rules: good reporting should follow a trusted framework or guideline
  • Tenuous comparisons: know how sustainable you are compared to your industry peers, not your own benchmarks
  • Unreachable targets: make your targets relevant and aggressive, but still achievable
  • Underreporting: communicate your progress in a variety of ways and in different media
  • Thinking short-term: don’t turn down a sustainable opportunity because of a higher price tag or longer ROI
  • Inadvertently greenwashing: don’t focus solely on the positives; make reporting meaningful by acknowledging areas for improvement

Source: Greenbiz.com

 

By Gaylen Davenport

June Feature Client: Centrinex

Centrinex, a call center in Lenexa, KS, recently had Worldwide Energy install a lighting control system to allow them to monitor and control lighting in their facility. The lighting control system allows Centrinex to monitor lighting based on what spaces are being used by employees and what are not. They can also control lighting switches remotely from a desk.

Centrinex is expected to save more than $18,000 a year and reduce 149,507 kWh annually.

By Gaylen Davenport

Lighting Controls for Your Business

Automated lighting can come in handy to businesses looking to reduce the costs of lighting systems. Lighting controls rely on consistent programming to ensure the lights are off when there are no occupants, and that lights stay at the appropriate level.

“Automated lighting isn’t limited to one design. Whether it’s an independent fixture control, a whole system circuit-level control, or connected individual fixture level controls, each one offers both benefits and drawbacks.”

Independent fixture controls utilize occupancy sensors to determine whether lights need to be on or off. These types of fixtures are easy to maintain since each sensor is self-contained, so there’s no software system to monitor. Utilizing this type of system can result in substantial savings.

In a whole system circuit-level control, all the fixtures are linked together, so they respond in a zoned area as one unit. Movement in one small part of the zone will trigger the lights in the entire zone to turn on. This type of system can be integrated with standard fixtures for more manual control of an area.

Connected individual fixture level controls are also known as smart lighting, a system that offers near limitless levels of customization. Each fixture is networked to a central place, which can monitor and control light usage remotely. Being able to control the lighting on such a sophisticated level can improve satisfaction immensely while still netting significant savings.

Source: Energy Manager Today

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Is Energy Benchmarking Needed?

A new report questions the value of energy benchmarking laws, especially in terms of what they are meant to achieve.

Robert Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard University, examined “whether mandatory benchmarking and auditing rules can achieve what they’re meant to do.”

Energy benchmarking has worked its way to the Midwest as a way to garner more data on buildings and disclose energy information from commercial buildings.

The study was funded by opponents of the recent ruling in Minneapolis, and found that while benchmarking rules “do not necessarily come with a pile of money to help inefficient buildings, the data coming from the disclosure could help utilities or other market players design more effective energy-efficiency programs to target the lowest-performing buildings.”

While Stavins does not discredit benchmarking rules, he does question how much they can accomplish. Energy benchmarking is still in its early stages in the U.S. But from what we can see, from larger cities like New York, and Washington, D.C., “benchmarking has already allowed them to identify problematic sections of the municipal building sections of the municipal building stock and take actions – whether that’s a full-fledged energy audit or simply changing the rules for how building managers monitor equipment.”

And while benchmarking rules are not perfect, they do have an effect on market and behavior shifts that will put energy efficiency front and center.

Source: Green Tech Media

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Corporate Reporting Gets Integrated

While still in its beginning stage, companies and investors are beginning to meld together sustainability reporting with traditional financial reporting for their companies.

Most sustainability reports contain information about the impacts and risks of sustainability strategies. But a growing movement is shaping up to push companies toward integrated reporting that combines conventional financial information along with key sustainability data.

Much of the integrated reporting model is being backed by the International Integrated Reporting Council, a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, and NGOs.

Sustainability reporting is not likely to go away as more companies are seeing the financial benefit of implementing energy saving strategies.

“Good companies will see integrated reporting as an opportunity to communicate on and implement a sustainable strategy.”

Source: GreenBiz.com

 

By Gaylen Davenport

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