2  FM quick reads on Energy Efficiency

1. Energy Efficiency in Small Buildings

Hello. This is Greg Zimmerman, executive editor of Building Operating Management magazine.

Today’s topic is how to focus on energy efficiency in small- or medium-sized buildings. Buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet make up about 98 percent of the building stock in the United States, but most probably don’t have the complicated energy management systems larger buildings do.

The key to energy efficiency in small buildings is taking a very hard look at exactly how the building is using energy. Then, once the baseline is established, begin instituting operational changes like more closely monitoring how energy is used on a monthly basis, even if just means reading the meter and entering the data into a spreadsheet. Make sure occupants are being energy-conscious as well. Ask occupants if they’re comfortable in the space. If they’re too hot or too cold, it’s probably a good indication of a problem that’s wasting energy. Then you get to kill two birds with one stone: Happier occupants and energy efficiency.

Once you’ve established your energy baseline and implemented some energy-focused operations, do some cost-efficient upgrades with a good ROI – like changing out T12s for T8s and installing occupancy sensors. Make sure that you’re not over-ventilating space and perform a retrocommission to tune up HVAC equipment so that it’s operating at peak efficiency.

Finally, plan for some long-term capital projects, like replacing old, inefficient equipment. New equipment often has sophisticated controls built in, allowing the equipment to act as its own energy management device.

Energy Efficiency You Can’t Control (Or Can You?)

Hello. This is Greg Zimmerman, executive editor of Building Operating Management magazine.

Today’s topic is promoting energy efficiency in departments or for pieces of equipment not usually associated with facilities. If you’re managing specialized space, like a hospital, medical office facility or lab space, learn about the pieces of equipment that are using the most energy and ask those in charge how they might be able to reduce this equipments’ energy use. Would it be as simple as just shutting it off at night, or would it require more complex procedural changes? Is the equipment running at peak efficiency, and if not, what would need to be done to ensure that it is? Is there anything the facilities department can do to assist? Being willing to stick your nose where it may not belong may result in pretty significant energy gains.

Another approach is forming energy teams in various departments and asking them to identify opportunities for savings. Provide submeters for energy use in specific areas or departments and make energy savings a competition between departments. Start an energy conservation newsletter that keeps all departments apprised on each other’s progress. See if you can work out a deal with upper management that allows departments that save energy to keep a portion of the savings. Then, illustrate to these departments with calculations related directly to things they care about. In other words, show them that if they can save so many kilowatt-hours in a year, they’ll be able to afford a new fancy gadget they may not have been able to justify before.


Energy Efficiency , Small Buildings

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