BLOG

9 Tips & Tricks For Winter Energy Efficiency In Commercial Buildings

9 Tips & Tricks For Winter Energy Efficiency In Commercial Buildings

Winter often leads to inefficient energy usage. Did you know, for example, that space heating alone accounts for 45% of a commercial building’s energy consumption? A building that is not energy efficient is not only not only expensive, but it also has serious environmental impacts. In fact, 39% of CO2 emissions are produced by buildings and construction work. 

If you want to lower the energy consumption of your commercial building, and make it more sustainable, it will translate to lower energy bills and a cleaner footprint – and you can start right here with our tips  for marketing your commercial property more energy efficient this winter.

9 Ways To Make Your Building Energy Efficient For Winter

Whether you’re a landlord, a business owner, or a building manager, you can save a significant amount of money if you make your building or commercial space more energy efficient. 

One way of doing this is by ensuring that your HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible. HVAC systems contribute around 40% to a commercial building’s energy consumption, and that figure is only set to double in the coming years. You can streamline the efficiency of your commercial building by hiring a reputable company to ensure that your HVAC system is running smoothly. 

Fortunately, commercial buildings are generally midsize, making it easier to retrofit them for energy efficient features. Larger buildings, like skyscrapers and manufacturing facilities, are comparatively more difficult to turn green. That being said, there are some factors that can contribute to a commercial building being a CO2 guzzler, including floor layout and the age of the building. 

Once you’ve preempted the winter months by having your building retrofitted for energy efficiency, it’s much easier to maintain your HVAC and other related systems. These are just some of the ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your commercial space.

1. Prevent heat loss through doors and windows

A simple way to minimize energy loss from your building during winter is to make sure that your windows and doors are kept closed when not in use. In winter, windows are energy drainers, and more heat is lost through them than through any other surface. Through the small act of keeping a window closed, you’ll likely start to notice savings on your energy bills. 

The foot traffic in your store, warehouse, or residential building also has direct correlation to energy loss. The more doors that are left open, the more heat will escape, and the harder your HVAC will have to work. One way to curb this is making sure that doors are weighted, or have automatic closing mechanisms. You can also add seals to windows to ensure they stay airtight. 

2. Check or replace old heat exchanger (gas or propane systems) or heat strips (electric systems)

The heat exchanger/heat strip of a commercial HVAC system is crucial in maintaining a warm comfortable temperature inside. It’s also a significant contributor to energy loss during winter, especially if your system is old. 

The first step you can take is having your HVAC professional check these items for you, to let you know if it’s working properly or needs to be repaired or replaced. If you’re in the Kansas City area, you can call us to check this out for you.

3. Install revolving doors

If you own a multi-residential or commercial building, you might want to consider installing revolving doors at the entrances. These doors prevent heat loss (and heat gain) by constantly being closed. Revolving doors are more than just an efficient way of handling traffic, they also act as airlocks that prevent drafts. If revolving doors aren’t for you, you could alternatively install an airlock door system that will achieve the same effect. 

4. Use thick glass for doors and windows

If your commercial space has large windows or glass doors, like those in restaurants or office buildings, you can install thick glass to prevent heat loss. You can also use double-glazed glass, which also serves as a heat insulator. These will keep spaces warmer for longer so that your HVAC doesn’t have to be running all the time or at maximum output. Double-glazed windows are also great for cancelling out noise pollution. 

5. Allow as much sunlight in as possible

You should allow as much sunlight as possible to enter your building. This will not only minimize the need for artificial lighting, it will also minimize the need for artificial heating. Your commercial HVAC system won’t get too overburdened during winter if it has the planet’s main energy source doing some of the work. 

[Related: Preparing your HVAC system for colder temperatures]

6. Program the thermostat

During winter, rooms in a commercial building should maintain a temperature range of approximately 68–74°F. It may sound straightforward, but programming your thermostat to set a comfortable working temperature is an often-overlooked way of saving energy (and therefore money). By setting timers that correspond to busy hours or vacant office spaces, you can ensure that no heat energy is going to waste. 

7. Set a minimal temperature for the radiator at all times

Though it sounds counterintuitive to our previous tip, your radiators’ temperatures should be set at a minimal comfortable temperature, even during periods of downtime. This is because it’s more difficult for your HVAC system to raise the temperature of a building during winter if the heat has dropped below the comfortable range. Therefore, you should set a minimal comfortable temperature at all times, even if nobody is in the building.

8. Lower the water pressure

If you have a multi-story building, pumping water to the upper floors becomes difficult for plumbing systems, especially during winter. Water has to be heated first to prevent it from freezing and bursting the plumbing system. You could try reducing the water pressure to allow your system to more efficiently pump water. This way, you’ll also reduce the amount of energy being consumed.

9. Use solar water heaters

Even during winter months, there are good days of sunshine. When you use solar water heaters to partly heat the water supply of a building, you can save a lot of energy and cost. However, you should still connect the system with the regular water heater to prevent the water in the solar heater pipes from freezing.

HVAC systems and boilers in commercial buildings don’t need to be too overworked to provide optimum temperature conditions, nor do they need to be running up costly bills. With these simple tips on cost-effective, preventive maintenance, you can achieve winter energy efficiency for any commercial building.
If you’re in the Kansas City metro area and would like to chat about your commercial HVAC system, contact us today for your customized quote.