Originally published in Interiors & Sources

03/25/2013

Target Behavior to Lower Loads

Occupant neglect can drive up energy costs

 

How much could your office building save if you choose an ENERGY STAR-labeled replacement when a piece of equipment is ready for retirement?
All cost savings estimates are based on an assumed electric rate of 10 cents per kWh.
CREDIT: EPA/LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY
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Do your building occupants turn off their computers when they leave for the day? What about the printers – do you turn them off or activate a low-power setting overnight?

If not, you have an easy opportunity to further reduce your building’s energy consumption, according to ENERGY STAR’s guide to building commissioning. The commissioning process can be helpful for finding hidden waste, but many of these changes can be made in-house.

How Occupants Increase Loads
Supplemental load sources such as unused equipment that is left running when it’s not in use contribute to your building’s energy consumption, but the situation is easy to remedy.

Try conducting a walkthrough of your facility after hours to see what equipment is left on overnight, on weekends, and in periods of low use during the workday. Encourage occupants to shut down their computers or other equipment when they leave. As equipment is replaced or added, specify highly efficient office equipment, such as ENERGY STAR-labeled items.

“Energy-efficient equipment not only uses energy efficiently, but typically features a low-power sleep mode for inactive equipment,” notes ENERGY STAR.

Power management features such as sleep mode help cut the energy consumption of equipment that the occupant can’t or won’t turn off.

 

 
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