Tips for Government

Start Saving with Simple Steps

It’s easy to reduce your energy use and trim costs. Getting started can be as simple as engaging employees to adopt new habits and prioritizing quick, low-cost energy-saving projects. Then move on to bigger changes that can drive deeper, long-lasting savings. Involve your team in changing the way you use energy, and together you’ll be making smart energy choices that improve your operation and contribute to a clean energy future.

Lighting

  • Use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) wherever lighting fixtures are on for more than one to two hours per day.
  • Use occupancy sensors. In rooms or areas that are infrequently used (such as storage areas and conference rooms), easy-to-install motion-detecting devices will turn lights on and off automatically.
  • Install timers or photoelectric controls – and make sure these automatic controls are working properly. Some lighting may be controlled by a time clock that switches the lights off and on automatically at predetermined times or by light sensing photocells. These devices are especially useful in outdoor applications and eliminate the possibility of human error – but only if they are working correctly. Make sure the timer is set accurately and the photocell is unobstructed by foliage or equipment. Just an hour or two a day of unnecessary lighting, say, in a parking area, can add substantial energy costs that can be avoided.
  • Develop a standard lighting protocol. Implement a company-wide procedure for shutting off lights during closed hours and during certain operating schedules that require less man-made light. Standardizing company behavior results in better compliance.
  • Use natural light whenever feasible. Make the most of natural light by moving desks, reading chairs and workbenches closer to windows. Keep in mind that lighter colors for walls, ceilings and floors reflect more sunlight.
  • Remove unneeded lamps (bulbs) in areas where lighting exceeds the needs of the occupants. By removing lamps while paying careful attention to the activity and light distribution of an area, you can reduce lighting costs without reducing productivity or comfort of the people using the space.
  • Use partial lighting before and after “public” hours. There may be times when employees must work in an area but the public isn’t there. Examples include before and after store opening times. Allow enough light for employees to safely work, but reduce lighting in display and retail areas.
  • Review your outside lighting needs. A business may have lighted parking areas, signs, entrances, walls and landscaping. You may be able to turn off some of this lighting if not needed, use for fewer hours, or use lower wattage lamps. Make sure you are in code compliance for any safety and security lighting.
  • Reduce general Lighting. Install desk lamps and other types of low wattage task lights for “close work” at desks, drafting tables and product assembly areas. These provide light only when and where it is needed, can improve productivity and may permit ceiling lighting to be decreased.
  • Buy ENERGY STAR® equipment such as copiers, printers and computers.

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Heating & Cooling

  • Replace filters in HVAC systems. If your heating system has a filter, inspect or replace it every six months.
  • Check for energy-wasting leaks. Check your forced hot air heating system’s supply and return ducts for easy-to-fix leaks.
  • Adjust your thermostats. For every one degree you set your thermostat back, you could save one to three percent on annual heating and cooling costs.
  • Use automatic controls. Replacing manual-dial thermostats with inexpensive programmable thermostats could save another 5 to 15 percent on heating costs. Have a licensed contractor provide a cost estimate.
  • Keep your equipment clean. Clean the condenser coils (outdoor unit) quarterly for debris that can collect in them, restricting free air flow. At the beginning and end of the cooling season, gently wash the coils.
  • Repair broken HVAC components. Many central air conditioning systems have an “air-side” economizer that pulls in cooler outside air before requiring the refrigerant compressors to kick in. Have a licensed contractor service your air conditioning system, including making any repairs to the economizer linkages or controls. An economizer that is stuck in the fully open position can add as much as 50 percent to a building's annual energy bill by allowing hot air in during the air-conditioning season and cold air in during the heating season.
  • Make sure your HVAC systems are in proper working order. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the return air going to your air conditioner. Then check the temperature of the air coming out of the register nearest the air-conditioning unit. If temperature difference is less than 14°F or more than 22°F, have a licensed contractor inspect your air-conditioning system.
  • Use ceiling fans. Ceiling fans used in conjunction with the air conditioning system create a cooling effect on the skin. This can allow you to raise the air conditioning set point.
  • Don't heat or cool unused space. Close supply registers in unused rooms, but do not close more than 20 percent of them. This might interfere with the operation of your central heating and cooling system. Do not block any return air vents or grills.
  • Eliminate HVAC system use in vestibules. To save energy see if you can turn off the heating and cooling supply to the vestibule entirely. If a building’s orientation or a severe climate still requires some heating or cooling in the vestibule, you may be able to reduce the level and achieve some energy savings.

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Electronics

  • Buy ENERGY STAR® equipment such as copiers, printers and computers.

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