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Inward Investment Guides
Energy Management Strategies That Can Save Facilities Thousands
In today's tough economic times, companies considering operational innovations can reduce their uncertainty with a solid energy risk management strategy.
Joseph Falci, Senior Director, Rate Analysis & Energy Procurement, Advantage IQ (Winter 2011)
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In the summer, stage multiple chillers from highest to lowest efficiency. Avoid using inefficient equipment unless absolutely necessary. For example, part of one client's facility was freezing, while another part was too warm. To keep one part of the building comfortable, the client had to overcool the other part. Ensuring that the appropriate controls and efficient equipment are in place will eliminate a costly and uncomfortable work environment.

Check for proper boiler temperature settings and possible night shut off. And discourage personal heaters or fans.

Lighting is often the top energy and cost drain for industrial buildings, and can account for as much as 50 percent of a facility's energy use. Cut industrial lighting costs with these strategies:

• Check illumination levels with a light meter to determine if the facility is excessively lit. (There are standards for appropriate illumination by industry.) Using dimmers or turning lights off can save energy.
• Install occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on when someone enters a room and shut them off when the room is empty.
• Utilize optimum start and stop settings where lights will not turn on simply by a time of day, but will also illuminate the proper amount of ambient light into the space.

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Building Envelope
Maintaining optimal energy usage in building envelopes is especially difficult for industrial buildings, as there are often long periods where truck bays may be open. When possible, the building envelope should be tightly sealed to ensure that air stays put. To ensure a secure building envelope, keep all exterior doors and windows closed. Doors near truck bays are the biggest offenders when it comes to wasting energy.

Additionally, make sure that electronically controlled doors open and close properly. Check overhead doors for broken slats, worn seals, or bent tracks. Check insulation and roof integrity. A leaky roof can dampen insulation, which compromises the building envelope's efficiency.

Small leaks around the building can cost owners thousands of dollars a year in utility costs. Check faucets, toilets, hot water systems, hydrants, and irrigation systems for leaks. Make sure water fountains work properly. If they don't, they could signal a bigger, more expensive problem.

Reap the Benefits
Each facility is unique, so no advice will apply evenly to every property. But these cost saving measures can reduce energy consumption and improve the bottom line. Applied across a real estate portfolio, they can help identify which properties are most efficient and which may be running on outdated equipment.

Determine the energy performance of your portfolio, then focus on the high-cost, high-use facilities. Raise awareness across your organization to involve all employees in the energy conservation program. Create a competitive environment to encourage participation. Lastly, quantify the energy savings. Get the data to prove your program's effectiveness and figure out how much you've saved so you can invest those funds in more expensive - and effective - operations.

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