Recession or in life of plenty, energy produced from hydrocarbons is finite. We need to conserve energy use so that the availability of such resources could be stretched farther.
Renewable and alternative energy sources are still catching up.
There is big question mark on nuclear energy after the latest Japanese disaster.
Even in a comparatively poor country such as India, changing life styles and global warming have added on to the per capita energy consumption.
- Gone are those days when people used to walk or cycle to work; or mostly use public transportation.
- Homes without refrigerators are rare.
- Most urban homes have at least one air conditioner.
- Two wheelers and televisions are essential commodities these days.
- We need electrically operated treadmills to exercise, rather than walking for free on the roads or a park.
- The list will go on……….
It is more difficult to change adapted or adopted individual life styles. Increasing the awareness on the impending energy crisis through events such as “Earth Hour” etc would help individuals in shaping their energy consumption.
When it comes to commercial buildings (offices / factories / hospital complexes / hotels / amusement parks / public utility buildings etc) that account for a large chunk of energy consumption, it is no different except for some parameters. Here are some tips to save energy and with that the operations cost.
- 1 Reduce Site External Illumination. Keeping in mind the safety and security needs, reduce the non essential lighting.
- 2 Revamp Your Facility Operations. The measures would include:
- Scheduling equipment off time when not needed
- Periodic calibration and resetting of all automatic controls
- Adding features to existing controls to improve system efficiency
- Repair insulation, seals, dampers and valves on equipment or systems to reduce or eliminate energy wastage
- 3 Make Energy conservation a community initiative. When you get the top management, occupants / users, security personnel, maintenance groups, IT teams involved in the initiative, the results are better.
- 4 Turn off vending machine lights. Per machine save may be minimal, but the total long term benefits are large.
- 5 Encourage use of stairs where possible. Keep it as a challenge, that people will take up. Highlight the benefits to individual health through using stairs regularly.
- 6 Improve Kitchen Processes to reduce Energy Use. Energy consumption of commercial kitchens could be reduced by optimising the usage for the most effective and efficient output. Revisiting oven preheat time, cooking temperature settings, just in time supply of frozen foods to reduce refrigerated storage mass, week end reduction of logistics supply, optimizing the menu spread etc.
- 7 Reducing solar heat gain and loss. By controlling the radiated heat entering the premise during summers and losing the stored heat within the room in winters through installation of double glazed windows, sunscreen films, textile drapes, vertical or horizontal blinds etc.
- 8 Reduce Air Conditioning (Cooling) Costs During Cooler Months. Use the cooler fresh air to cool the building interiors. High dust or hazardous environments may hamper this initiative.
- 9 Increase Space Temperature in Summer. By increasing the space temperature within the buildings, the occupants are not likely to make out the difference much since the temperature differential compared to external ambient air is high. This is applicable to non critical comfort AC spaces only.
- 10 Reduce overall fresh water consumption. Reduced use of water would indirectly reduce the energy cost of water processing, pumping and grey water treatment costs.