For most parts of the Unites States, the cold of winter is finally receding and the warmth of the summer is now on the horizon. As you assemble your spring cleaning list, don’t forget about the wide variety of equipment that should be on that list. Based on the thousands of pieces of individual equipment that we’ve monitored, we’ve found that the energy use by specialized electric equipment in the winter can be nearly the same as the electrical use by air conditioning systems in the summer, which get a lot more attention from facilities managers. You can start saving money on energy right now by adding these energy hogs to your facility prep list as you turn over to the new season.
Mechanical Room Heaters
These heaters are needed during the coldest few months of the year, but should be turned off in the spring. In the worst case, these units only have a dial that determines on or off, in which case they run full blast until told otherwise, costing $200-$300 per month to operate. In the example to the right, a simple type of thermostat was installed and wasted usage immediately dropped by 80%. This unit should still be turned fully off when the probability of multiple days below freezing is low.
Vestibule or Entry Heaters
These can be hidden in the ceiling or built into the wall. They should be operated only during business hours and only when justified.
In the example to the right, a ceiling unit with no visible controls (other than the breakers) was the second most expensive item to operate at this facility during the winter.
Base Board Heaters
The situation here is the same as the other electrical resistance heaters – they are very costly to operate and often poorly controlled.
Although it may be a hassle to reach down and turn these control knobs all the way off, it is worth the cost. In the example to the left, turning off the base board heaters saved about $250 a month.
Outdoor Lights and Signage
The end of daylight savings is the right time to check on the lighting and signage that may be controlled by time clocks. Not only is the one hour shift important to catch, but you may find that morning duty cycles (e.g. lights on from open to sunrise, then turned off until sunset) are no longer needed at all.
Once you’ve made these quick changes, you can kick back and enjoy the start of the warm weather, knowing that 5-10 minutes’ work has saved you hundreds of dollars in energy, and you will keep saving all summer long.
Interested in learning more?