How your Commercial Electrical Contractor can help your Business become more Energy Efficient
The State of California is committed to meet targets for greenhouse gas reduction and amendments to energy efficiency standards for buildings form a part of the strategy. Energy efficiency makes sense for your business, as well as for the country, and the planet, as saving energy can improve your bottom line.
In commercial buildings, about a quarter of electricity usage goes on lighting and about 30% is used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). These are key areas where your commercial electrical contractor can help you comply with the relevant standards and reduce your energy needs.
Apart from using low energy bulbs and the most efficient fixtures, there are a variety of ways in which lighting can be modified and controlled so that it is not wasted. The principal methods are discussed below.
Multi-level controls offer settings between ‘on’ and ‘off’ which allow individual users to set the light level they find most comfortable. Lower light levels are often preferred by those using desk top computers. Or similar controls may be operated centrally to reduce light levels at times of high electricity demand or when full lighting is not required, such as in meetings.
Occupancy sensors work by detecting movement and so switch lights on only when they are needed. They are particularly useful in areas such as restrooms and storerooms which are frequently unoccupied.
Setting a timer to automatically switch off light a certain time after the end of working hours saves having to rely on the last occupant to switch off, even assuming that person knows they are the last to leave. In other situations, a form of sensor is often the better option, as it saves having to adjust the timer according to seasonal variations in natural light.
Daylight and Photocells
Daylight sensors, also known as photocells or photo controls work by measuring the natural light level and switch on lighting as daylight fades. They can be used indoors in areas with windows that benefit from natural light and outside for security lighting, for example.
Combining sensors and level controls offers the possibility of more specific light control. For example, the sensor may trigger an adjustment from half to full lighting, not just from off to on.
To help save money on heating and air conditioning, make sure your system is regularly serviced. Even the most energy efficient systems need to be kept in good condition. Have the filters changed or cleaned during times of peak use, as a clogged filter makes the equipment work harder to produce the same effect which costs more in energy and reduces the life of your equipment.
Use Ceiling fans to move air around. In the summer, moving air feels cooler than still air at the same temperature. In winter, your fans can pull warmer air down from the ceiling if the direction of rotation is reversed.
These are just some of the ways in which you commercial electrical contractor can help your business to save energy and money, in the high energy use fields. Which are the right options for you will depend on your area of business and the size, location and structure of your premises. Your contractor will be able to advise you in more detail and suggest the most energy efficient and cost effective solutions for you. Saving energy is good for your business and good for us all.