For some, the fact that energy efficiency is closely aligned with the green movement signifies that it can’t make a significant impact for companies that implement it, which isn’t true. In fact, energy efficiency remains the most popular green practice among companies because it can make an impact. In the era of corporate cost savings, anything that allows a company to realize commercial energy savings essentially increases its bottom line, and energy efficiency can save more money than other cutting measures. Here’s why: a commercial building’s interior lighting system and HVAC system account for most of its energy usage, and energy efficient design targets these areas, reducing their energy consumption by implementing energy saving retrofits.
When companies learn how much of their annual electric bill stems from interior lighting (roughly 60 percent), they often express surprise. While a few lamps don’t incur much cost, floor after floor of lamps-many of them burning 24 hours a day-can add up. There are two basic measures for reducing the energy consumption of a lighting system: implementing more efficient lamps and ballasts, and implementing a facility wide lighting control system that dims lights or turns them off when no movement is preset or on a set schedule. Retrofitting a lighting system is an efficiency measure, while implementing a lighting control system is a conservation measure. But combine them, and you could easily reduce the cost of your annual lighting bill by 50 percent.
Retrofitting a lighting system consists of replacing lighting technology. But retrofitting an HVAC system consists of downsizing HVAC components, particularly chillers and air distribution fans. Yesterday’s HVAC systems were designed with components that are oversized, and use more energy than necessary to produce the optimal heating or cooling effect. In addition, traditional HVAC systems commonly have boilers that display a poor electricity to heat conversion ratio (roughly 65 percent), which can be replaced with boilers whose conversion ratio is as high as 90 percent. By retrofitting a traditional HVAC system in addition to an inefficient lighting system, companies can easily reduce their annual utility cost by over 50 percent.
Traditionally, one of the biggest reasons that companies fail to implement energy saving design is its potentially high cost. But considering that many projects have a first year ROI of 50 percent or better, and that energy efficient consulting providers offer long-term, interest free financing, the once sensible reasons for not implementing energy saving design aren’t s sensible anymore. If your company is trying to save money in a down economy and considering cost cutting measures that would cut jobs, consider implementing energy saving design instead. You can improve your bottom line and not contribute to the unemployment line in the process.