This content was written by the advertiser with adherence to Boston.com’s content standards. The editorial department of Boston.com had no role in its writing, production, or display.
sponsored content guidelines
Summertime brings pleasant weather as well as longer and brighter days. It also brings heat—lots of it—which drives up cooling costs for your business.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, cooling accounts for approximately 10 percent of the annual energy costs for office buildings. By improving the effectiveness and efficiency of cooling equipment, a business can ensure a comfortable working environment while keeping cooling costs low. What’s more, by updating lighting and even the outside space around your building, you can reduce heat inside your building, lowering air conditioning requirements.
Start the summer strong with these six tips to reduce cooling costs, save your business money, and increase employee satisfaction.
Upgrade to LED lighting
Halogen or incandescent bulbs are costly to run and also emit a significant amount of heat. By upgrading to new, efficient LED lighting you’ll reduce the amount of ambient heat in your building, lessening the need for cooling. As an added benefit, the high-efficiency LED bulbs you install will save your business money year-round by reducing the energy needed to light your facility by up to 75 percent.
Take advantage of the daylight
More sunshine equals more daylight on both ends of the day. By using daylight-sensing lighting controls in your building, the lighting levels in your workspace will be adjusted based on the amount of daylight present. The MIT Department of Architecture estimates properly calibrated controls can reduce energy usage from lighting by 20-80 percent. Additionally, you’ll use less light from heat-producing fixtures, which reduces overall cooling costs.
Keep cooling under control
A common issue that is often overlooked is overcooling. In a study conducted on government office buildings, researchers found that over 60 percent of workers complained of being too cold at work during the summer. In fact, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that an inside temperature of 74-78 degrees in office buildings is most preferable during summer months, because employees are more likely to wear lighter clothing. Overcooling doesn’t only occur when employees are present, however. Cooling a building when it’s not needed is of equal concern.
Time and/or occupancy-based controls in less-used spaces can save businesses money on their energy bills by limiting cooling in a space to only those times when that space is in use. You can program HVAC operations for specific times as well as install motion sensors to provide lighting and cooling only when someone is present. What’s more, installing a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat allows business owners to adjust the temperature inside their businesses remotely for maximum control.
Maintain your HVAC equipment
A poorly tuned HVAC system uses more energy, and subsequently costs you more money to cool your facility. Weak motors and fans, clogged filters, and leaks in the ductwork are typical causes of wasted energy. By having a qualified contractor inspect and tune up your system regularly you ensure maximum efficiency from your cooling equipment. The Building Efficiency Initiative estimates effective maintenance can reduce HVAC energy costs by 5-40 percent. In addition, your contractor can help you identify improperly sized equipment, which may be adversely affecting cooling. Lastly, properly maintained HVAC equipment breaks down less often and lasts longer, which costs you less in the long run.
Keep the cool in and the heat out
A poorly insulated building lets heat infiltrate through exterior walls. Adding insulation not only keeps the heat outside where it belongs, it also keeps your cool air inside where you want it. In addition, sealing up cracks around windows and other joints will also prevent precious cool air from sneaking outside. These updates increase comfort inside, and decrease the burden on your HVAC system while keeping an even temperature. This in turn reduces your energy and maintenance costs over time.
Put your green thumb to work
The best way to keep the sun from heating your work environment is by blocking it. Take advantage of nature to help you reduce your energy consumption during hot summer months by planting large deciduous trees on the east, west, and northwest sides of your building, as recommended by the Arbor Day Foundation. These trees will produce shade that can keep the hot summer sun from warming up your space. Not only will you be reducing your dependence on your air conditioner, you’ll also be helping to clean the air while providing your employees with a bit of green space to enjoy.
Learn more and save
Energy saving strategies like the ones above help to ensure a comfortable work environment in the summer while also reducing energy costs. Every business can implement some or all of these strategies to get the most from their cooling systems. Visit ngrid.com/save to see how National Grid can help your business make energy saving improvements that increase cooling system effectiveness.
About National Grid
National Grid is one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world and has helped businesses across New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts achieve the many benefits of saving energy.
National Grid is a proud sponsor of Mass Save.