Bloomington, Ind.—While hoteliers have taken steps over the years to reduce energy consumption, many still view high utility charges as merely the cost of doing business. However, according to Stephen Ashkin, president of The Ashkin Group, business and building owners can do more and start right now to reduce energy consumption and costs.
“With energy costs making up to 20 percent of the average office building’s operating costs and with these costs rising, we must always look for new ways to reduce consumption,” Ashkin explains. He shares four steps building and business owners can take now:
Measure and monitor
Know how much energy is currently being consumed in the property. This can be determined by using an online sustainability “dashboard” system to measure and monitor energy consumption. With this information, owners can establish a benchmark and then evaluate progress as they implement energy reducing strategies.
Retro-commissioning typically requires minimal capital outlay but can produce considerable savings. It involves giving buildings a tune-up: testing thermostats on boilers and coolers to make sure they are operating correctly; conducting HVAC diagnostics; and fine-tuning when building mechanicals go on and off.
End demand charges
Utility companies often charge business customers a “demand charge.” Business customers demand a lot of energy for a short period, instead of a steady stream of less energy throughout the day. Cost effective “smart” control systems can be installed that moderate energy use for heating and air conditioning, helping to reduce energy needs and demand charges, trimming utility bills by as much as 30 percent.
Create a “culture of efficiency”
A culture of efficiency is created when the building users, like guests and staff, become a sustainability team and are encouraged to get involved in reducing energy usage. This can result in significant energy and monetary savings when it comes to energy bills.
“Always keep looking for energy reduction opportunities,” adds Ashkin. “It’s a never-ending journey, but one with lots of cost savings along the way.