Reducing operational costs and energy usage are goals every facility owner hopes to achieve. With national and local building codes requiring businesses to become more green, new energy saving methods are constantly being developed. Approximately 40% of commercial buildings’ electrical bills are from lighting. Automating your lighting can significantly reduce your bills while maintaining a comfortable working environment.
Following is a list of energy saving strategies businesses of all sizes can put in place to become more green.
1. Lighting System Integration
Integrating modern lighting systems with other systems is one of the simplest ways to save wasted energy dollars. Lighting systems can integrate with access control, surveillance cameras and more. Lighting can be programmed to dim when surveillance cameras detect that areas are only occupied by a few people. For example, if a janitor is the only person in a large space, lighting fixtures will adjust to lower levels. If a larger number of occupants are detected, lighting fixtures will adjust to higher levels. Similarly, lighting fixtures can be programmed to light up only when employees swipe their access cards in that area.
Daylight harvesting deactivates lighting fixtures when natural sunlight supplies enough lighting in an area. When sensors detect a high level of sunlight, programmable curtains, shades, blinds and lighting fixtures adjust to provide adequate lighting using the least amount of energy. Daylight harvesting is ideal for commercial spaces that have large windows and skylights. Spaces such as warehouses, schools and large office buildings benefit the most from this method.
Light scheduling lets users schedule when lighting fixtures will automatically be turned on/off based on the time of day. If you know your building is never occupied after 6 p.m. or on weekends, simply add these times to your schedule and your system will take it from there. You can also schedule lighting to automatically turn on at the beginning of work days. Light scheduling is one of the simplest and most popular methods to reduce energy consumption. By scheduling lighting to turn off during times when areas aren’t occupied, energy will never be wasted on empty space.
Demand limiting reduces power loads during periods of time where energy is at a premium cost. When energy costs are high, lighting is adjusted to a lower intake. If one of your operational goals is to never spend “X” amount on energy bills, then you can set your system to never surpass that amount.
Load shedding differs from demand limiting by shutting off loads during times when a facility is being charged with maximum power. When building automation systems detect high energy intake, lighting fixtures turn off in areas where they aren’t needed. Load shedding systems can even be programmed to alert users when power reaches a predetermined level. For example, if your facility consumes more power from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. than other times, systems will automatically adjust to decrease usage during these demand periods.
Power metering eliminates blindly paying power bills without knowing what you are being charged for. Power factor, kilowatt consumption, peak demand and more are reported to connected smartphones and PCs for analysis. Being able to track power usage is an easy and effective way to control your building’s performance. Power metering is also critical for mechanical equipment. As equipment ages, power metering devices notify users the moment equipment drifts beyond acceptable efficiency.
Choosing which strategy to implement largely depends on your operational goals. To find out more about how your building can become more energy efficient, please request a free energy audit.