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illustration: CFL bright idea Improving Building Energy Efficiency

Effective energy management creates a tremendous opportunity to reduce annual operational expenses. Sound energy management includes: using the most energy-saving products, increasing the efficiency of lighting and heating equipment, and implementing certain building improvements that save energy.

For information on energy-efficiency programs and products, visit helpful links about energy efficiency.

Here are some tips to get you started:
choose energy-efficient equipment and appliances
make building improvements that increase energy efficiency
increase lighting efficiency
improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment

helpful links about green building

Choose energy-efficient equipment and appliances

Look for equipment and appliances labeled with the ENERGY STAR® logo. NYC Local Law 37 of 2002 requires NYC Contracting agencies to purchase energy-using products that meet Energy Star requirements for energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. The program promotes energy-efficient products through product labeling and consumer education. Products with the ENERGY STAR label use less energy and reduce both energy costs and environmental impacts, without compromising quality or performance.

Over 11,000 product models in more than 30 product categories bear the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR Purchasing provides information on how to purchase and specify ENERGY STAR labeled products. Savings cost calculators aimed at demonstrating the benefits of buying ENERGY STAR labeled products over others are available for many product types.

environmentally preferable purchasing

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Making building improvements that increase energy efficiency

Upgrading facilities with more energy-efficient products can significantly reduce energy costs. Building improvements can include any or all of the following:

  • Improving HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) equipment.
  • Installing automated lighting or HVAC monitoring systems.
  • Incorporating energy efficiency into renovation or new building projects is a big component of “green” building. Learn more about green building.

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Increase lighting efficiency

Increasing lighting efficiency means reducing the number of lamps needed and/or increasing the life expectancy of the lamps.

Check out the ENERGY STAR website for detailed information on optimizing building lighting and energy-efficient lighting equipment.

Standard and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) come in a large variety of shapes and shades and are amongst the most practical, energy-efficient lighting options available. When installing new lights, look for lower-wattage fluorescent lamps.

LED (light-emitting diode) lamps are the most economical choice for certain applications, such as exit signs and traffic signals. They use 80 to 90 percent less energy than comparable incandescent bulbs and last 5 to 10 years, whereas an incandescent bulb usually lasts up to one year.

Consider purchasing and installing lighting controls such as timers, dimmers, and occupancy sensors that activate or dim lighting when needed. Depending on your needs, these devices can be relatively inexpensive and will dim or turn lights on and off for a specific period of time or during periods of non-use. Good locations for such devices include conference rooms, restrooms, and stockrooms.

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Improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment

Check out the USEPA’s ENERGY STAR website for detailed information on energy-efficient HVAC equipment.

To ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner, routinely replace or clean the filters. Some types of filters are reusable; others must be replaced. Clean or replace your air conditioning system’s filter every month or two during the cooling season. Filters may need more frequent attention if the air conditioner is in constant use or is subject to dusty conditions.

When purchasing new air conditioners, select those with the highest energy efficiency. Choose an air conditioner with a temperature readout and a built-in timer to allow for more control. Purchase units with the highest energy efficiency ratio (EER) or seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The EER is the amount of heat energy removed from the building when the air conditioner is running. High-efficiency air conditioning units have EER ratings of 9.0 or above. High-efficiency central air conditioners have SEER ratings ranging from 10.0 to as high as 16.0.

When tackling humidity, consider installing desiccant or heat pipe systems as money saving alternatives to standard reheat air conditioning options. Desiccant systems dry air with liquid or solid moisture-absorbing materials while heat pipe systems passively recover energy, increasing your air conditioner’s dehumidification capabilities by up to 91 percent. For more information on humidity control technologies talk to your local electric or gas utility company.

Insulate ducts and hot water distribution pipes. Duct leakage can reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 40 percent and can lead to indoor air pollution.

Improve boiler efficiency by installing an electric ignition, which eliminates the need for the pilot light to burn all the time. Sealed combustion is a good option because it uses outside air to fuel the burner, reducing draft and improving safety.

Incorporate a timer into your HVAC system to automatically accommodate for heating and cooling needs when your facility is open for business versus closed, or for peak versus off-peak hours in 24-hour establishments.

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