Business owners who are committed to reducing facility operating costs and energy use also likely help their companies become more sustainable. Your facility’s air conditioning (AC) system is an ideal place to begin lowering your energy use. Here are five strategies to keep energy costs down while keeping your commercial structure cool.
1. Boost Your AC System Efficiency
You can change the internal temperature of your commercial structure during the hottest months without investing in huge power bills for non-stop AC operation. One way to help your AC system work more efficiently is to address heat that enters your building.
If a structure’s envelope or exterior shell has cracks, gaps, rotting places, or other openings, heat enters the structure. The pressure from an AC system helps draw in the hot air wherever leaks exist in the structural envelope.
Boost your AC efficiency by sealing your building from roof to foundation. Add insulation, weatherstripping, and caulk to areas including windows, doors, attic, and exterior walls to keep cool air inside and warm air out of the building.
2. Let There Be Cooler Light
Incandescent lights only convert 10 to 15 percent of the energy they consume into producing light. Some of the wasted energy becomes excess heat in rooms heated with incandescent lights.
Use energy-efficient lighting to lower the temperature in rooms and give your AC system a break. Install timers on lights so no bulbs or fixtures are left on in rooms where they’re not necessary.
Natural sunlight can help cut lighting costs, but the sun’s rays can also heat up rooms and work against AC efficiency. Balance the need for light with the need for cool work and client spaces as you address glass and sunlight issues.
Install thermal window coverings or treatments including draperies, blinds, shades, or curtains to keep intense sunlight out of commercial spaces. Window films are another option to reduce heat transfer into rooms through glass windows.
3. Target Key Spaces on Hot Days
Avoid being wasteful with cool air in your commercial structure. You definitely want your staff and customers to be cool, and you certainly need to protect sensitive assets including computers and servers. However, you don’t necessarily need to cool every single space in your commercial structure.
Close or partially close AC vents in unused offices, meeting rooms, closets, and storage areas. Unblock vents in rooms where AC is a necessity. Install timers or have another thermostat-control system in place to turn up the AC thermostat when the commercial structure is unoccupied.
If your commercial AC system is ready for an upgrade, consider having your HVAC professionals install zonal AC systems. Zonal or split AC systems deliver custom cooled air to individual rooms or spaces.
With a zonal system, you can keep your passionate but hot kitchen staff chilled without freezing out the customers in the dining room. Your data storage room can stay safely cool while your offices remain comfortable for everyone.
4. Enhance Your Fan Game
Consider installing ceiling fans in the hottest spaces of your commercial structure. A ceiling fan allows you to increase AC thermostat settings by four degrees Fahrenheit without reducing human comfort.
Individual workstations and workers should be encouraged to use portable fans as long as the fans are safe and don’t impact other workers, services, or products. If only one worker complains about the heat, addressing the problem on an individual level saves you from having to increase AC operation across the board.
Have a policy in place to turn off fans in unoccupied rooms. Fans cool people directly via the windchill effect and won’t change the temperature in a room.
Another way to use fans to lower cooling costs is to install variable speed fans on your AC system. Modern multi-speed AC fans allow AC systems to run more efficiently.
Rooms aren’t under- or over-cooled by constantly blasting air when you have variable-speed fans to blow cooled air at moderate rates as needed. Your AC components don’t constantly cycle on and off or run for excessive periods of time when the fan blowers operate at variable speeds.
5. Maintain Your AC Equipment
The above steps won’t significantly lower your energy-cost bottom line if your AC system is neglected or in need of repair. A poorly maintained AC system must work hard to overcome neglect from clogged ducts, dust, loose wires, wobbly fans, and other issues.
Check and service your commercial AC systems at least once a year with qualified HVAC professionals. A professional HVAC service checks dozens of key areas of the system and repairs problems before they lead to AC failure.
When you change your AC filters regularly, follow the above tips, and schedule routine maintenance of your commercial AC system, you protect your assets and keep your building more comfortable. A serviced, clean, and smooth-operating AC system is a greener AC system and will work more efficiently for your business throughout the hottest seasons.
Save on AC energy costs when you schedule inspection of your commercial AC system in Stockton, Fresno, Modesto, Chico, or Sacramento by contacting Derek Sawyer’s Heating & Air Conditioning right away. We service commercial structures throughout Central California and offer emergency AC services, too.