Occupancy Changes?

A unique opportunity has presented itself to us in the form of occupancy changes. Many facilities that would normally be occupied and running at full steam are finding themselves with fewer and fewer people in their facilities. Here are a few things you will want to take advantage of during this time, to ensure your facility is running as efficiently as possible. 

HVAC

The Department of Energy released a study that found that around 40% of energy costs for the average commercial building are spent on heating, cooling and ventilation. This makes it essential that you adjust these systems as occupancy changes in your building to prevent high energy costs

Heat Settings

If you find that your facility is empty, now is a great time to adjust your heating system. Start by lowering your thermostat to 45 degrees. This will ensure pipes don’t freeze while also cutting back dramatically on heating bills. If on the other hand, your facility is still occupied but with far less people, you should consider adjusting the different zones of your facility.  Lowering thermostats in rooms or entire sections of the building that are not in use will also result in a significant savings for your business.   

Cooling Settings

 As the weather continues to get warmer you may find yourself considering what to do with your cooling settings. The Department of Energy recommends you set your thermostat to 85 degrees when your building is unoccupied and 78 degrees when tenants are present. This goes a long way in reducing your energy costs. In fact, you can save up to 3% for each degree the thermostat is raised in the summer and lowered in the winter. 

Retro-commissioning 

Another thing to consider doing during this time is retro-commissioning.  When most existing buildings were built, energy efficiency was not a major concern.  Couple that with often incomplete documentation and missing or incorrectly installed components and you may find your building is not running efficiently. 

Retro-commissioning is a process in which the entire building is taken into account to improve how building equipment and systems function together. This has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective means of improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings.  Energy savings can fluctuate between 5 and 15 percent depending on the building and you will generally notice a full return on your investment in less than one year. *Portland Energy Conservation Inc. 

With occupancy changes, now is a great time to consider this strategy as you will not need to disrupt as many people to make it happen. 

Energy Use Benchmarking

With occupants gone this is also a great time to benchmark your building’s equipment. This will give you a baseline on which to compare your building’s energy performance. You can utilize this energy use baseline to compare your building to itself in the future or to compare it to similar buildings it’s size now. Either way this can create a substantial savings when done correctly.  

You will want to take into account more than just energy consumption when benchmarking your building. Important factors to consider include current weather and temperature, ongoing tasks that affect energy usage, and energy pricing. This will allow for an accurate comparison to other buildings. Using this data, along with your energy use benchmark, will allow your organization to track and improve performance over time.   

Unique Times Create Unique Opportunities

What else could you be doing to improve efficiency and performance in your building? How can you use this time to improve your buildings equipment so when you bring it back online it is running better than ever? 

Need help getting started? Reach out to the experts at Rasmussen Mechanical Services and take back control of your facility. Call us at 1-800-237-3141, email sales@rasmech.com, chat with a support agent, or contact us online. 

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