BEA Technical Tips
Technical Information on Energy Efficiency:
For technical information on energy efficiency, go to EFFICIENCY VERMONT (outside of Burlington) 1-888-921-5990, and for Burlington businesses contact BURLINGTON ELECTRIC DEPARTMENT (within Burlington) 1-802-865-7342.
Find out about efficiency services offered by Vermont Gas Systems HERE.
Learn more about the Vermont Fuel Dealer's Asociation efficiency recommendations HERE.
- Keep evaporator and condenser coils clean to improve air flow
- Set refrigerator temperatures no lower than required by health code
- Keep the cooler well stocked, helping it to stay colder longer
- Cover refrigerated cases and freezers when not in use to prevent warm air from getting in
Low-Cost Solutions (with return on investment)
- Evaporator Fan Motors/Controls- Upgrading your evaporator fan motors can save you $30-$35 per year per fan. Adding controls that turn off a portion of the fans when the compressor is not running can save you $200-$300 per year. Efficiency VT offers rebates of $550 for 4 fans.
- Outdoor Air Economizer- For large walk-in coolers, this device utilizes cold air from outside for cooling while shutting down your compressor-based refrigeration. Being in Vermont, this would essentially give your refrigeration system a 6-month vacation while you use an emissions-free and cost-free resource in its place. Savings vary, but are estimated to be between 25-50%. There is also a rebate of $1,250 from EVT.
Note: At least two BEA participants have used this Free-Air system with great success!
- Lighting- Lighting equipment inside coolers adds heat and increases cooling demand. Replacing T12 fluorescent lighting with High-Performance T8 (HPT8) fluorescent lighting or LED lighting can reduce heat gain and save electricity. Rebates exist for different types of lighting and lighting controls.
- Door/Frame Heater Controls- limits operation of door/frame heaters to periods of high relative humidity. These can save $65-$85 per cooler door and $140-$180 per freezer door per year. Another option is the Zero Energy Door with high insulation that eliminates the need for heaters. Rebates exist for $50 per door.
- Utilize your windows- On hot days, close your windows and also close coverings on the windows that get direct sunlight. Open your windows in the morning and at night.
- Use a window fan blowing toward the outside, to pull cool air in through other windows and to push hot air out. Moving air can make a higher temperature and/or humidity feel more comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditiong and a temperature setting of 3-5 degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans.
- Keep doors closed to keep cool air in. If you have a storefront building or restaurant and are worried about appearing less welcoming, you can put a "We Have AC" or "Door Closed for AC" sign to entice people in on hot days.
Low-Cost Solutions (with return on investment)
- Plug leaks around doors, windows, and outlets with weather stripping and caulking
- Buy ENERGY STAR - ENERGY STAR air conditioners are 15% more efficient than conventional ones. If your central air system is 12 years old or older, you could save up to 30% by replacing it with an energy star certified one.
- Regularly change (or clean if reusable) HVAC filters You should do this every month during peak cooling or heating seasons for maximum air flow and efficiency. New filters only cost a few dollars. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality by blowing in dust and debris.
*Many of these strategies double up to make your heating more efficient in the winter.
Tips for Office Equipment Efficiency
1. Use laptops instead of desktops. According to E-Source, using a laptop computer instead of a desk-top system can save 80-90% in electrical cost.
2. Look for ENERGY STAR. When purchasing new office equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR label. To find lists of qualified office equipment, look for the Products section of http://www.energystar.gov and click on "Find ENERGY STAR Products".
3. Use power management features. Most of you probably have your computer monitor set to enter sleep mode when the computer is not in use. However, the computer itself is rarely set to enter this same low-power mode. If you are using an ENERGY STAR computer, you can activate these settings easily by using power management features. This could save you up to $50 per computer.
4. Become aware of plug loads. Plug loads in offices can account for 15-20% of office electricity use or higher. Some ways to decrease energy use include:
- Unplugging devices when they are not in use. Anything plugged into an outlet will continue to use electricity, even when the device is turned off.
- Use an advanced power strip (ask at Vermont hardware stores) that turns off peripherals when you turn off the computer.
5. Establish a shutdown protocol for lights, office equipment, kitchen appliances, and anything else that doesn't need to operate after business hours.
6. Engage staff. Make sure they understand why, when and how to power down equipment.
April E-News Quick Tips:
Love Your Light-Efficiency Vermont is making the process of choosing efficient lighting easier, through their Love Your Light campaign. Following the link to their website, users will be able to use a simple tool to discern between the many lighting options on the market today. The tool will help users make an educated decision,maximizing comfort and beauty, while minimizing short and long term energy expenditures.
Learn more in this informational video, or simply follow the link below to their website.
March E-News Quick Tips:
- If the warmer months represent your highest electricity bills, focusing on cooling your space efficiently is a good place to cut costs. Here are a few tips and some outside information to get you started.
- HVAC System Maintenance: Maintaining an efficient HVAC system means system maintenance. Find more on efficient HVAC systems in this neat infographic.
- Lower Set-points: Lowering the set-point of your HVAC system can translate in to large reductions in energy use. For each degree a cooling thermostat is raised by, energy reductions of 4-5% are realized.
- Preventative Maintenance: Read this article from Buildings.com on how properly maintaining your system not only reduces your consumption, but also can save you money in the long run.
- Refrigeration costs, especially if you have an outside air economizer, trend upwards in the summertime. Here are some tips to keep those costs down- in every work environment from home to office to grocer.
- Don't let this happen to you: remember to check the air seals on your refrigeration unit!
- Maintenance (again): Obviously, this is a recurring theme. Check & clean the coils on your unit, and make sure air seals are functioning appropriately. Find more in this graphic here.
- Lighting: Use cool, efficient, LED lighting. Traditional bulbs counteract cooling by producing waste heat.
February E- News Quick Tips:
Follow some of these easy low-and-no cost tips to reduce your heating bill.
Consider a Programmable Thermostat: These cheap improvements will allow you to set back the temperature settings in your space when it is not occupied. A 1 degree setback can save 1% on your energy bill.
Air Seal Your Building: It's cold outside- Don't let it in! Sealing the drafty spaces in your building's envelope can save you money on your heating bill. Consider improvements like seasonally adding transparent window film, adding sweeps and weather stripping to your doors, and caulking/ foaming the plumbing and electrical wiring holes leading to colder places (i.e. attics, basements, warehouses, etc).
Contact a Building Performance Contractor: These contractors can help identify and resolve building performance issues present in your business, utilizing in-depth energy audits, including blower door tests. Find a list of rebates offered by Efficiency Vermont, as well as a list of BP contractors in your area, here.
Check out this presentation on zero and low cost energy efficiency measures anyone can take, produced by Efficiency Vermont.