October is Energy Awareness Month and, to emphasize the importance of energy conservation in commercial buildings, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Intl. has released its top 10 ways for building owners and managers to reduce energy consumption.
"There is a tremendous business case, as well as tremendous environmental benefit, for improving energy efficiency," says Brenna S. Walraven, BOMA Intl. chairman and chief elected officer. "These no- and low-cost strategies allow real estate professionals the opportunity to dramatically reduce operating costs [and] have a similarly positive impact on reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, all while improving comfort for building occupants."
BOMA's Top 10 Energy-Efficient Strategies for Property Professionals
1. Institute an Energy-Awareness Program.
Create promotional items, post posters, write news releases - tell everyone about your commitment to energy savings. Use your company newsletter and company/building announcements to keep tenants informed about your energy-savings goals and how they can both help and benefit. Share these energy-savings tips with them as well.
2. Switch Off Overhead and Task Lights When Daylight is Sufficient.
3. Clean Windows and Skylights.
Window and skylight cleaning will allow more natural daylight to illuminate work areas, reducing the need for overhead and task lighting.
4. Encourage Tenants to Use ENERGY STAR® Equipment.
Adopt a procurement policy as part of your overall successful energy-management strategy and encourage tenants to do the same. The ENERGY STAR label can be found on computers, copiers, external power adapters, fax machines, laptops, monitors, multifunctional devices, printers, scanners, water coolers, and more. When you're finished or ready to upgrade, recycle that equipment.
5. Calibrate Thermostats.
Periodically walk through the building and compare the thermostat setting with a handheld digital thermometer (preferably one measuring to 2 decimal places). Ensure that the thermostat setting equals actual space temperature.
6. Adjust Dampers.
Bring in the least amount of air necessary to maintain proper air quality. Reduce outside requirements by adjusting dampers to minimize the need to condition outside air, but be sure to stay within code requirements.
7. Use Workstation Task Lighting.
Direct light where tasks are being performed and use lower wattage for overhead ambient lighting. Consider combining with motion-controlled power strips.
8. Install Occupancy Sensors.
Install occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights when physical movement stops. This strategy may be specifically effective in spaces that are used infrequently, such as in storerooms and conference rooms. Occupancy sensors work not just for lighting, but also for HVAC controls.
9. Convert T12 to T8 and T5 lamps.
Re-lamping? Even if you just re-lamped your buildings 3 years ago, take a lighting survey again. Lighting continuously gets more efficient. Converting to more efficient lamps and ballasts saves total building energy.
10. Encourage Tenants to Turn Off Equipment.
During off hours, be sure to power down everything, including copiers, kitchen equipment and task lights. Use cleaning/security personnel to turn off miscellaneous items such as coffee pots, kitchen equipment, and individual office lights.
For additional resources on sustainable practices for commercial real estate professionals, visit The G.R.E.E.N. (The Green Resource Energy Environment Network) at (www.boma.org/AboutBOMA/TheGREEN).