Since 1980, the energy intensity of commercial buildings has been reduced by more than 40%, according to The Sustainable Energy in America 2013 Factbook.
In fact, from 2007 to 2012 alone the energy demand of commercial buildings has decreased by 6.4%, according to the Factbook.
The reduction in energy use in commercial facilities is most likely attributed to more efficient new construction as well as retrofits in older buildings, including buildings with upgraded energy-efficient HVAC systems, according to an article in the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News.
Today’s commercial buildings incorporate more electronic devices than the buildings of the 1980s, but the increase in the use of electricity is clearly being offset by the use of more efficient HVAC and lighting systems.
But even though energy use in commercial buildings is decreasing, facility managers can still do better.
Energy use still accounts for the largest operating expense in commercial buildings, according toEnergy Star, the EPA’s energy efficiency program. And commercial facilities are responsible for about 20% of the nation’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, contributing largely to the problem of global warming.
Facility managers can retrofit their existing systems to make them cost-effective, energy-efficient systems, but doing so often comes at a steep price. Energy Star also recommends these low-cost measures that will save you money and reduce your building’s energy use:
- Measure and track energy performance
- Keep lights turned off when not needed, especially at night or during the day
- Set the thermostat lower (during the winter months) and higher (during the summer months) whenever the building is not occupied
- Educate building occupants about how to utilize energy-saving measures
- Maintain equipment regularly to ensure it’s working properly
Using more energy-efficient systems includes keeping your HVAC system clean, which starts with a planned maintenance schedule using products to make cleaning easier.