Reducing energy usage has long been a focus for building facility and operations managers, but many energy-saving technologies come with large monetary outlays and often require longer term planning. Nevertheless, there are also a host of solutions that can quickly, easily, and inexpensively deliver significant savings.
Room/Area Occupancy Sensors
Many areas within a facility might not be occupied for extended periods during the work day such as conference rooms, restrooms, and storage rooms. Now add all those areas that are unoccupied after hours. The energy costs can really add up. Room and area occupancy sensors can turn off the juice when it’s simply not needed.
If budgeting is a challenge, start small by installing some occupancy sensors in the least-occupied spaces, and then slowly expand coverage. The additions can pay for themselves many times over.
Wall Switch Dimmers
Lighting dimmers are an often-overlooked energy saver, and dimmers combined with timers or occupancy sensors can be very effective energy reducers. One common “best practice” is to set the starting lighting level at 50 percent. If more light is needed, it can be turned up.
Not only do dimmers save money by reducing power, but they can also extend bulb life. Incandescent and halogen bulbs have been shown to last up to 20 times longer when used with a dimmer. That’s money in your pocket. And when used with LED bulbs, the savings can be greater still.
Plug Load Controls
Essentially a high-tech, large-scale, more customizable version of the occupancy-sensing power strip, plug load controllable and wireless receptacle controls help eliminate vampire power draw throughout an entire building.
Products like Legrand’s Wireless Receptacle Control products leverage lighting control sensors for improved ROI. Plug load controls provide an estimated 10 percent energy savings and meet new energy codes that require 50 percent of all 15 and 20A, 125V receptacles be controlled automatically in areas such as private offices, open offices, modular partitions, and computer classrooms.
Digital Daylight Controls
There are a host of daylighting controls that automatically reduce electric light levels based on the amount of natural light available through windows or skylights. These devices, such as dimmers and photosensors, can reduce energy consumption by as much as 40 percent.
Shades can reduce heat, glare, and energy cost. While we usually enjoy having natural sunlight coming through our windows, the heat from the sun can affect your HVAC load. Manage natural light for energy savings with automatic motorized shades, which can be programmed to raise and lower to keep lighting and temperature at optimum levels.
Occupancy-Sensing (OS) Power Strips
Power strips draw electricity, whether or not the devices they serve are turned on. Occupancy-sensing power strips have a motion sensor that senses when a room or area is no longer in use and automatically shuts off power to individual outlets. Because there may be devices that must receive power at all times, many power strips offer a number of “live” outlets that receive power 24/7. OS power strips give an added level of energy control for non-critical devices that don’t need power during unoccupied periods.