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October 24, 2011 -
Today's tip is about relatively simple things you can do to grab a few pieces of energy savings here and there to meet the constraints of pared down operational budgets. As we all know, there's still a lot of economic uncertainty, so check these things first.
First, make sure all controls are working properly and setpoints are programmed for optimal energy savings. This may seem like a no-brainer, but experts often talk about how common it is for facility managers to assume controls are fine after they've been installed. Controls are not a set-it and forget-it technology. The facility must be constantly tuned and checked to make sure everything is working properly. One facility manager at a high school even programs his BAS every Monday morning based on the activities in the school that week. That way, he ensures that lights and air conditioning and heating aren’t being used when the building's empty.
Ensure that equipment is right-sized. One facility manager cut his monthly gas bill in half simply by using a smaller steam boiler for humidification. The oversized boilers that were designed and installed in the facility were used as backups for the two weeks or so per year that they were needed.
One final tip: Always ask occupants for suggestions on ways to save energy. They may have the best ideas — and just aren't sure who to tell. You could even offer some sort of incentive for an idea that works and saves X amount of dollars. Make it an "we're all in this together" scenario.