Tag Archives: electric conservation

Six Ways to Save Energy and Money This Winter

For most of the country, winter means several months of chilly temperatures, hot bowls of soup, and snowflakes in the air. But it doesn’t have to mean costly utility bills. Whether you’re concerned about your monthly payment or your environmental impact, there are a few simple steps you can take to save electricity in your apartment this winter.

  1. Wrap your windows. As a renter, you can’t install storm windows or replace older, drafty single-pane windows. But you can still seal out the cold. Use heat-shrink plastic wrap, sold in kits for varying window sizes, that trap a layer of insulating air to block out wintry winds. It might not be the most stylish solution, but, if you live in an area with blustery winters, these kits can save you up to $20 per window throughout the heating season.
  2. Turn down the heat. You rarely spend all day inside your apartment, so why should you spend all day paying to heat it? Before you leave for work or school, turn down your thermostat a few degrees. Lowering the temperature while you’re away can lower your heating bill by about 10%, according to Energy.gov. But don’t keep your apartment too cold: To prevent pipes from freezing, you should heat your apartment to at least 50 degrees — warmer if you have pets.
  3. Open the curtains. If you have south-facing windows, where the sun spends its time in the winter sky, open those curtains let the sun stream in. Although you probably spent most of the summer trying to keep the sun from turning your apartment into an oven, now is the time to take full advantage of the sun’s warm rays.
  4. Use your ceiling fan. During the summer, your ceiling fan should be spinning counterclockwise to push down a cooling breeze. During winter, reverse the direction so that your fan is pushing air up. Keep it on a low-speed, and the fan will  circulate heat more efficiently and keep your home warmer.
  5. Bust out the blankets. Keeping your apartment at a cooler temperature while you’re away has its benefits, but if you also keep them a few degrees lower while you’re home, your savings will be even greater. Energy.gov estimates that you can save about 1% of your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat, so bundle up with sweatshirts and blankets instead of cranking the heat up to 75 degrees.
  6. Block drafts. Is there ice building up on the inside of your window? Turn the lock. Locking your windows in the winter time creates a seal that blocks out winter winds and prevents this buildup. Also, many apartments have a locked closet that holds their HVAC unit, which vents outside and, unfortunately, lets cold air into your apartment. Use a door snake or a tightly wrapped towel to block the draft and keep your warm air inside.

Saving energy in the winter isn’t just a homeowners game. Your pocketbook (or your property manager’s) can still reap the benefits of a few thoughtful tweaks around your apartment.

Originally published by ABODO

Advertisements

Illuminate Your Lighting Efficiency

Shedding the Light on Energy Savings

The EIA says 50-75% of your utility expenses are for electricity and of that, approximately   21% is just lighting. If you spend an average of $100,000 annually on one building that adds up to $21,000 just to keep the lights on! By simply making your lighting 25-50% more efficient, you could save up to $10,500 each year.

It sounds easy and it is. Below are some steps to get you started:

Step 1:   Determine how much you are using and spending

It’s critical to know what you are doing now so you can assess opportunities for energy savings later.  You will need 12 months of common area bills that include the building’s interior lighting.  This should include all account numbers, billing date cycles, number of days in each bill, usage in kWh and demand kW, and expense. At the end of each month, calculate the rate by dividing expense by usage. This will give you a base analysis for where you are now versus when you initiate your lighting cost avoidance program. If possible, include a hyperlink to actual bill images to be referenced later as needed.

Step 2Complete a building lighting audit

You need to know what type of lighting you have, how often it’s in use and where it’s located.  A building diagram with notes is very helpful.  It is best to do the audit both during and after business hours. Below are some examples of questions to answer:

  • Are lights off in unoccupied spaces? (Stairwells, parking levels, fitness centers, business centers, party rooms, offices, basements).  There may be opportunities for reduced or sensor lighting.
  • Are lights in the models on sensors or timers to be off when unoccupied?
  • What are the model, types, and usages for your lighting fixtures in the main hallways and business areas?
  • What are the hours when lighting is used in business areas, hallways, basements, storage, garage, fitness, and business rooms?
  • Are you installing energy efficient lighting in vacants when turned?
  • Do you have the number of fixtures, number of lamps per fixture, type/number of lamps per ballast, wattage?
  • What dates were fixtures installed and what is their condition?
  • What is the daylight availability (windows near lighting)?
  • Are the tasks performed in the space (critical or secondary)?

Step 3: Low hanging fruit: Consider where you can change lighting hours, add motion sensors, timers, light reducers and use energy saving lamp bulbs.

This is the easiest, least expensive step you can make.  You know you can’t rely on people to remember to turn off lights but for a small expense you can make sure lights not used are off or energy reduced during day light hours or evening hours. Sensors, light reducers or timers in models, business centers, fitness facilities, basements and storage areas are key energy savers.  Even in the garage and stairways, you can usually install light reducing devices that will use half the energy when not in use without violating any safety requirements. Make sure you rid every lamp of incandescent light bulbs – these not only use more energy to light the space, they put off 2-3 times the heat and last a fraction of the life of an energy efficient bulb.

Step 4Hallway lighting

Hallway lighting can easily account for a large chunk of your common area electrical bill.  By choosing the best lighting for the task you can reduce your usage by 20-50%. If the fixtures are well-maintained, it may be worthwhile to research your options for replacement bulbs that would fit and be more energy efficient. If it’s time for replacement, you may pay for the new fixtures in energy savings within a reasonable time. A simple pay back analysis can help you determine what your best option might be:

To calculate a simple payback on your investment, divide the cost of the new fixtures by the annual cost savings using current rates. You have already determined your annual usage and rates in Step 1.  Now, you can apply the energy savings by installing the new equipment to the usage once

you have that number divided by the cost of the investment.  Easy Tip: Hallways and ceilings painted in light reflective colors increase the light glow and help reduce energy usage.

Finally, once you’ve completed Steps 1-3, it’s recommended to consult with lighting experts on your findings and determine the most efficient next steps toward energy savings. You and your budget will be glad you shed some light on your energy expense!

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Why Degree Days Matter

When Electric Bills Give You the Third Degree
The Scene: Your financials were just distributed. Ten minutes later your email box is blowing up with ALL CAPS emails asking why your electricity expense is 23% higher than what was
budgeted. You look at the bills and the rate is the same but the usage is excessively high
compared to last year and the year before. What happened?

Unless you’re allowing a department store to hook up to your power line, it is likely due to a
change in the weather. Sounds like a good explanation but how do you explain that to your
supervisor or deliver that message to an owner that has unmistakable credibility?  Understanding the impact of degree days is critical.

Explaining Degree Days: Degree days is a measurement that explains the difference between
the average daily mean temperature and what it will take to heat or cool a building or facility to meet the desired building point temperature (BPT).

For example, if the average outside temperature per day is 59 degrees Fahrenheit for a month and your BPT is 65 degrees, than the heating degree days (HDD) = 65-59 X the number of days in a month or period of heating degree days.

Heating degree season begins:  July 1
Cooling degree day season begins:  January 1

65F-59F= 6 HDD x 31 days in the period = 186 HDD in the period

Consequently, if last year the average temperature was 62 degrees for the same period, the
number of heating degree days was less:

65F-62F= 3 x 31 days in the period = 93 HDD in the period

Or, a 50% increase in HDD year over year for the same period.

The same concept applies for cooling degree days (CDD). If the average temperature is above
65F then there will be additional cooling degree days.

75F – 65F = 10 x 31 days in the period = 310 CDD in the period

The prior year, same period;

70F – 65F = 5 x 31 in the period = 155 CDD in the prior year

Or, a 50% increase in CDD year over year for the same period.

For the full article, click here: http://www.minolusa.com/pdf/Why-Degree-Days-Matter.pdf