On the Energy Front: Do Some Spring Energy Cleaning to Save Energy AND Money
                                                                                                                By:  Andy Farmer, Virginia Energy Sense

Andy FarmerWinter may be ending soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing your business (and homes) to take advantage of all the energy savings opportunities that the Spring season affords. Spring “energy cleaning” will help you save energy and money, benefitting your business as well as your home.

Virginia Energy Sense (VES), the Commonwealth’s energy education program, is here to help. We are committed to helping Virginians understand their energy use and what they can do to save energy easily and cost effectively. Here are a few helpful tips to help you take some easy steps so you can do some Spring “energy cleaning” at your business.

Energy Audit: You can conduct your own energy assessment or hire a professional to conduct a workplace energy audit to assess your workplace for opportunities to save energy. While an audit may cost several hundred dollars, much of that expense can be recouped in less than a year through energy savings and then will continue to save you energy and money once you have recouped the cost.

Maintain Your HVAC System: Replacing your air filters regularly can reduce your energy consumption up to 15%. Beyond that, consider getting your HVAC system serviced once per year to ensure it is running at peak efficiency.   (in Annanadale, call JAMA Heating and Cooling at 703.307.6935 or jamaheatingandair@verizon.net.) 

Clean Your Refrigerator: Have a breakroom with a refrigerator? When a refrigerator’s coils are covered with dust and debris it won’t run efficiently. Clean the coils on your refrigerator as well as dusting behind it and underneath it.

Seal Ducts: If your workspace has exposed HVAC ductwork, inspect it for exposed seams and seal any gaps or seams with appropriate heat-approved tapes or sealant.

Set Your Thermostat: On warm days, set your programmable thermostat to a higher temperature than normal during non-business hours to reduce energy costs.

Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting: Swap out any traditional incandescent lightbulbs for LED bulbs. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, ENERGY STAR rated LED bulbs use much less energy and last up to 25 times longer. LED bulbs are more durable and produce very little heat. That means reduced energy and maintenance costs.

Seal Air Leaks: Sealing, weathering-stripping or caulking any openings in your office around windows and doors will keep air from escaping and leave more money in your pocket.

Install Window Treatments: Adding coverings like blinds can help reduce the amount of radiant heat that enters your workspace, making it easier to keep your business cool.

Close Vents in Unused Rooms: If you have some rooms in your office that employees don’t spend time in, such as a storage area, close the air vents in that space and close the door. By closing the vent, your HVAC system won’t be cooling (or heating) a room employees don’t use.

Following these easy pointers will help save you and your business energy and money. This will allow you to spend your energy elsewhere, perhaps by investing those savings back into your business.

Taking these important steps will also help Virginia reach its goal of reducing electric energy consumption 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2020, which will benefit all Virginians.

You can learn more online about how to save energy at work (www.virginiaenergysense.org/category/at-work-tips/) and home (www.virginiaenergysense.org/category/at-home-tips/) to cut down on your energy costs.

This article first appeared in The ENDEAVOR News Magazine in April 2017.  Reproduction in whole or in part requires the written permission of the magazine.



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