Energy Efficient Offices

Offices are energy-consuming buildings; between heating and cooling, lighting, and technology and equipment required to run a business, the amount of energy used continues to rise. 

With more builders and contractors committing to sustainable building, commercial offices are becoming more green, or environmentally friendly. Green buildings are designed and constructed with sustainable materials that make the building more energy-efficient and reduces energy costs.

Business owners don’t often have control over how the building was built, unless moving into a brand new development. But there are things every office can do to maximize energy conservation and reduce costs. 

HVAC 

Space heating accounts for 25% of energy use in commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Ideally, a building will have proper insulation to help maintain a comfortable temperature. In older buildings, this cannot always be achieved. Whether you are leasing office space or own the building, maintaining your HVAC system can help decrease energy use and save money. Here are some ways to make the most of your HVAC:

  • Clean filters. Dirty filters slow down airflow. Check any filters regularly and change as necessary.
  • Program heating and cooling. Program the temperature of the office. After employees leave for the day, the heat (or AC) does not need to be turned up as high. 
  • Equipment tune-up. To make sure all systems are working efficiently, get a tune-up from an HVAC professional. 

Lighting

Lighting is one of the easiest ways to make energy-saving changes to your office space. Because lighting makes up 10% of the total energy use in buildings, it is worth the effort.

  • Motion sensor lights. Motion sensor lights are ideal for areas that are occupied during certain times of the day, including parking lots, stairways, and meeting rooms. 
  • Make the most of natural light. Builders are taking more advantage of natural light. Through a process called daylighting, sunlight illuminates buildings, cutting energy use and costs. This provides an added bonus – sunlight increases positive moods of everyone in the workspace. 
  • LED lights. LED bulbs last longer than fluorescent and incandescent lighting, and reduce the amount of energy used. 

Office Technology and Appliances

Offices are filled with technology and appliances – from computers and copiers to refrigerators and microwaves. Being mindful in your selection of these items can significantly reduce energy usage. 

  • Laptops. Laptops use up to 90% less energy than desktops. Depending on how many people work on computers in your office, this can make a significant difference.
  • ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR appliances, computers, copiers, televisions, and even fans and thermostats, are the most efficient equipment for the office. 

Minimizing energy consumption in the workplace is beneficial for both the environment and your business savings. As we take on new developments, we are mindful of sustainable practices and work to make each building as environmentally friendly as possible. 

 

What is the best location for HVAC condensing units?

With the official start of spring, temperatures will soon be rising again. If you are installing HVAC, efficiency should come before the appearance of the unit. With advanced technology and a multitude of options, it’s becoming easier to find an HVAC system that keeps your home a comfortable temperature, doesn’t make your electric bill skyrocket, and is not an eyesore.

When choosing a location for the condensing unit of an HVAC system, people often try to “hide” it from view. But the location of the unit, when placed correctly, can actually help it run more efficiently.

Condensing units, like air conditioners, help cool down your home. The condensing unit is the part of the HVAC system that goes outside your home. To make sure it is not working too hard in the summer months, consider where it will be placed. Here are a couple of tips when choosing a location:

 

  • Stay out direct sunlight. The cooler the air around the unit is, the less it has to work, lowering both energy use and costs. Opt for a shady, cool area whenever possible.
  • Keep the area clear of debris. Hiding the unit by planting shrubs or bushes could cause filters to get clogged. Keep the area directly surrounding the unit clear of leaves, long grass, and other debris to avoid this.

 

This doesn’t mean you can’t get creative when placing your condensing unit. Many people place their condensing unit under a deck to hide it from view. Another option is putting up a wide-slotted fence around the unit, which allows for airflow and muffles noise.

Work with your heating and cooling contractor to choose a place that ensures efficiency and doesn’t block any views of your yard.

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