Controlling energy and cost efficiencies through the thermostat
Remember a time when you opened up a utility bill, then wished you hadn’t because of the shock?! Improvements in facility energy efficiency can result in more advantages than a smaller bill. Energy efficiency also increases employee productivity, customer comfort. Not to mention choosing energy efficiency exhibits social responsibility and environmental stewardship – two valuable public relations components in today’s business world. For facilities, this means enhancing customer satisfaction and improving customer loyalty, which ultimately adds significant value to a brand. There are a number of low cost measures readily available to enhance energy efficiency that can allow building owners and facility management to realize both savings on energy costs and improve their sustainability profile.
A great deal of savings can be found by having a little electronic gadget known as a programmable thermostat professionally installed. The benefit of a programmable, digital thermostat as opposed to a traditional analog is that the former provides exceptional control with regard to timing and temperature management. By installing a programmable thermostat, adjustments for the amount of time that the HVAC units are active are based on a pre-determined schedule. Energy savings of approximately 10% per year can be realized on heating and cooling bills by simply altering your thermostat 8–14 degrees (F) for eight to ten hours (bringing it closer to the outdoor temperature), when an area is unoccupied. The newer versions of programmable thermostats can remember multiple daily settings which can be temporarily overridden with ease, without later disrupting the daily programming schedule.
The numbers don’t lie
One common myth is that it takes a disproportionately large amount of energy to raise or lower indoor temperature relative to exterior temperature, thus negating energy savings that is realized by a reduction in the relative temperature differential. In other words, doesn’t it cost more money to have to warm up the room and cool it back down rather than keep the temperature constant? This has been discredited by a number of studies, as well as the laws of thermodynamics. For example, the amount of energy needed by a furnace to raise the temperature 8 degrees (F) is roughly equal to the savings gained by allowing the temperature to lower and re-stabilize by 8 degrees (F). Simply stated: the less your heating and cooling systems have to work in order to maintain a given temperature, the more energy (and money) you save.
Good on ya, mate!
If you already have a programmable thermostat, nice work! But remember, it’s important to make adjustments for seasonal changes and calibrate thermostats on an annual basis in order to ensure temperature readings are accurate. In addition, the importance of educating your work force on energy management cannot be overstated. Successful energy management requires a collective effort. Team members should be educated on basic energy management strategies and then empowered to make a difference.