Low-cost and no-cost energy saving tips for your business

There are many low-cost and no-cost ways to improve the energy efficiency of your business. Here are some tips:

Spring

  • Clean coils, air ducts, and heat exchangers to allow air to circulate freely.
  • Clogged filters make your equipment work harder and run longer. Clean or replace filters regularly.
  • Check door seals and weather stripping regularly and repair if needed.
  • Have your cooling systems checked and perform necessary maintenance before summer not only to save energy, but also to maintain proper cooling and to extend the life of equipment.
  • Turn off computers, monitors, printers, and copiers in workspaces during non-business hours.

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Winter

  • Open shades and blinds on sunny winter days to warm buildings naturally and close them at night to prevent heat loss.
  • Don't alter thermostats. If there is a problem with temperature, report it to the office/factory manager.
  • Keep furniture away from radiators and make sure windows and doors are closed to maintain indoor temperature.
  • Check weather-stripping around windows and doorframes for leaks or drafts and replace weather-stripping if necessary to prevent heat loss.
  • Caulk all around windows and doorframes to keep heat from escaping.
  • Replace or repair any broken window locks or latches.
  • Install seals or insert plastic plugs in electrical outlets of exterior walls to prevent cold air drafts.
  • Install parking lot controllers to reduce your outdoor electricity costs by up to 50 per cent, and ensure trouble-free car starts for tenants, staff, and guests.

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Appliances

Routinely clean appliances to eliminate food build-up. Dirty appliances may have inefficient heat transfer, uneven cooking, and potentially cause breakdowns. Follow the maintenance recommended in your owner's manual.

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Water

  • Replace old fixtures:
    • install flow control devices on faucets;
    • install early closure devices for flappers on toilets.
  • When replacing faucets (depending upon the type of use and amount of use of the faucet), consider:
    • metering faucets that deliver measured quantity of water;
    • self-closing faucets that close as soon as the user releases the knob;
    • automatic sensor-controlled faucets.
  • Install flow control devices to reduce splashing, water waste, and hot water energy costs. Bathroom faucets are normally set to 8 litres per minute. Flow control devices can reduce this to less than 3.5 litres per minute. Taps in the janitor's rooms, or in the kitchen for filling pots or for pre-rinsing dishes, should be left at full flow. Low-flow aerators may not fit on all faucets.
  • Schedule regular leak detection of all toilets and other water-using devices. A slow leak can waste 50,000 litres of water per year. If hot water is leaking, repair the leak and reduce energy costs.
  • Switch to ENERGY STAR® certified front-loading commercial clothes washers to save water and energy, and lower your business operating costs. Benefits include:
    • using less electricity and gas to heat water;
    • using less water per load and reduces flow to the sewer;
    • increased capacity due to larger interior space, as there are no agitators.

Some faucets are manufactured to limit maximum flow rate without using an aerator. When considering payback for reducing water flow at faucets and showers, water-heating costs may add substantially to predicted savings.

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Refrigerators and freezers

  • Perform regular checks to keep your refrigeration costs down and avoid unexpected repairs. Inspect:
    • mechanical and electrical equipment;
    • filters;
    • refrigerant charge;
    • economizer;
    • cabinet panels;
    • unusual noise, vibration, and decrease in performance of compressors/motors.
  • Set operating temperatures as low as necessary to ensure optimum levels and maintain consistent temperatures:
    • ideal temperature for refrigerators is 3°C;
    • ideal temperature for freezers is −18°C;
    • keep doors shut; repeated fluctuations in temperature damages food quality and costs money.
  • Raise the evaporator temperature to the maximum level possible.
  • Optimal refrigeration efficiency is achieved with ambient air relative humidity levels between 40 to 55 per cent.
  • Verify operation and efficiency of defrost timers and moisture sensors to ensure optimal performance.
  • Manage anti-sweat heaters and defrost cycles and turn off when not required.
  • Keep cold air supply and return registers clean and clear of product.
  • Ensure hot and cold water basins are clean.
  • Clean and disinfect condensate drain pan.
  • Defrost freezers when ice build-up reaches 5 mm thick.
  • Avoid heat build up – use as few lights as possible to illuminate interiors.
  • Make sure ventilation is available for your refrigerator's mechanical equipment. A 2.5 cm gap on the sides and 10 cm gap at the back are recommended to allow the condenser and fan to have access to a steady flow of air.

Schedule regular maintenance checks for fans, evaporator and condenser coils, and compressors.

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Stocking refrigerators and freezers

  • Load your refrigerator or freezer properly. Overloaded units disrupt air-flow patterns necessary to cool the products efficiently, and allow deterioration to occur. Proper cooling occurs when air can circulate. Under-loaded units waste energy, so keep freezers full. It is easier to keep a full freezer at the correct temperature than a partially empty one.
  • Load product when cool. Do not let refrigerated items warm-up during delivery and/or restocking. Shut down refrigeration areas where extensive loading and unloading occurs.
  • Ensure freezer curtains remain in a vertical position to retain cool air and keep out warm air.
  • Ensure night blinds are closed at night after re-stocking.
  • Defrost frozen goods in the refrigerator.
  • Control conditions to reduce refrigeration needs. Install:
    • a thermometer in each freezer to enable frequent temperature checks;
    • dehumidifier units to control humidity;
    • anti-sweat door heater controls;
    • defrost controls;
    • evaporator and motor controls;
    • sensors to monitor product temperature instead of air temperature in a cold storage area;
    • motion sensors to turn off lights in unoccupied refrigerated areas.
  • Adjust door latches, and check door seals and weather stripping regularly and repair if needed. Insert a piece of paper between a door and its frame. If the paper can be withdrawn easily, the gasket is not sealing properly.
  • Change filters regularly.
  • Ensure compressor belts maintain proper tension. Replace damaged and worn belts promptly.
  • Replace all insulation damaged by moisture. Oil stains near compressor lines since the presence of frost may indicate a breakdown in insulation.

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