When you come in from the hot summer sun and sit in front of an air conditioning vent, it can be one of the most refreshing feelings there is. Of course, for facility managers it can also be somewhat stressful, as that relaxing blast of cool air also means that costly energy is being used.
Energy efficiency is an ongoing struggle, especially in the summer months when air conditioners are running almost constantly. Facility managers should be sure to face the season with knowledge of how to keep power costs down through proper building maintenance, as well as consideration of some newer techniques.
According to FacilitiesNet, chillers are more often than not the single largest users of energy in a given building. As such, keeping them running smoothly with maximum efficiency in mind is crucial. Frequent inspections and preventative maintenance are key to proper functioning, because if such systems deteriorate, energy costs can double in as little time as a year. Even newer, more efficient chillers are not immune to difficulties, as FacilitiesNet reminded that they often have stricter control regulations they must operate within.
It's important that FMs aren't afraid to be aggressive with inspection and preventative maintenance of chillers - FacilitiesNet reported that every dollar spent in maintenance can yield $10 back in saved repair and replacement costs.
The road to recovery
Installing high-efficiency systems in your facility is important, but there are even further steps that can be taken to help conserve energy. Newer systems are being incorporated into buildings that include an energy recovery element, used to recycle low-grade waste energy that would otherwise be given off. As a result, buildings that implement such recovery procedures can greatly reduce the amount of energy they need to produce in the first place, which can lead to exponential energy savings.
In fact, FacilitiesNet noted that many commercial facilities are actually required to incorporate some sort of energy recovery apparatus, in accordance with the International Energy Conservation Code. Fortunately for FMs, it's an investment that is well worth it - it's estimated that such systems can begin to yield returns in terms of energy savings in as quickly as four years.