To Save Energy, Improve Operations
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Today’s tip is about reducing energy use through changes in operations. A Texas A&M University study showed that energy could be reduced by 10 to 40 percent by simply making operational changes. This bucks the common misperception that vast amounts of money need to be invested in expensive equipment upgrades to see any energy savings at all.
But operational changes don’t just happen magically. The first step is to simply learn as much as is possible about the building systems. As ASHRAE’s new president, Bill Harrison puts it, “You can’t blame an operator who was educated in the 1980s if they get 1980s results from 2008 systems.” So continuing education and additional certification are essential parts of operational changes with energy efficiency goals.
Another step is to perform an audit – or a full-scale retrocommissioning – to find out what’s working well and what’s not. You’ve no doubt heard the cliché – You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Well, clichés become clichés for a reason – they’re true! Take stock of which systems are operating well, where occupants are happiest and most comfortable and what changes can be made. Does the AC really need to be running throughout the whole building until 8 pm if only one person is working that late?
Often, a key to operational changes is getting occupants to recognize energy efficiency goals and secure their interest. Communication is the key. Let occupants know about corporate energy savings goals and get them involved. Many veteran facility executives know that half the battle is getting occupants to want to change behavior, not feel like they’re being forced to!
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