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July 2023 EnergyWise Tip: Efficiency for the Office

July 14, 2023

July 2023 EnergyWiseSM Tip: Energy Efficiency for the Office
By: Energy Efficiency Program Manager Cory Fuehrer

Business owners and managers are always looking for ways to reduce costs and improve productivity in their office facilities. There is no exception when it comes to energy costs and usage. Some compare current utility bills to the prior month’s or during the same month last year to identify increases in usage. Then, they review operations over those periods with the hope of recognizing the reason or reasons so future increases can be managed. Below are some of the most common opportunities found when investigating:

1. Lights left on in empty rooms
Even the most efficient lights waste energy lighting empty rooms. Upgrade or replace light fixtures with high-efficiency LEDs, then install effective controls. Occupancy or vacancy sensors ensure unoccupied areas are not needlessly illuminated.

2. After-hours comfort settings
Empty buildings do not need to be conditioned for occupant comfort. Adjusting building thermostat setpoints after hours is a simple and cost-effective way to reduce energy bills. Smart thermostats optimize savings and convenience because they automatically adjust temperatures based on occupancy or time schedules. Many also provide advanced features, such as remote control.

3. Standby power
Computers, office equipment and other electronics draw power continuously, even when unused. Enable power management "sleep" settings on all computers and office equipment. Plug electronics into advanced power strips or “smart plugs”. These devices automatically turn off electricity to devices when they are not in use.

4. Personal appliances
Personal appliances, such as fans, coffee makers and compact refrigerators seem innocuous, but can collectively use a lot of energy. Space heaters are the worst offenders as they are usually under desks and are left operating after hours. Discourage the use of personal appliances by maintaining comfortable temperature and humidity levels. Encourage employees to dress for the season. Keep a refrigerator, microwave and other appliances available for staff in a central breakroom area.

5. Air leaks
Buildings with uneven temperatures in different areas often suffer from air leaks around windows, exterior doors and exterior wall penetrations. Inspect the building for such leaks and seal them with caulk, weatherstripping and expanding foam sealant.

Often, there are additional sources of energy waste that are easy to overlook and cost you money. Your local electric utility, in partnership with Nebraska Public Power District, can help identify other ways for facility owners and managers to meet their energy efficiency goals. They may also provide EnergyWiseSM energy efficiency incentives to reduce the cost of improvements and do business more efficiently. Contact them, or visit www.energywisenebraska.com for more information.

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