Energy Saving Resources
There are a lot of misconceptions about the best ways to save energy, so we put together a list that will help you get the best energy-saving bang for your buck.
Air Sealing: Basement & Roof Cavity
Air leakage or infiltration occurs when outside air leaves or enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Proper air sealing in a building can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability, create a healthier indoor environment, and increase occupant comfort level.
The cost of heating and cooling indoor air accounts for a big portion of the building’s operating expenses. All buildings experience a continual exchange of air, and some air exchange is desirable. However, minimizing excessive warm air leaking into the building during summer and out of the building during winter should be a priority for any building owner. Adding insulation can slow the thermal exchange of heated/cooled air.
If you are interested in alternative energy for your house or building, your first step should be to learn about the different systems, their benefits, and their costs.
Alternatives To Window Replacement
Property owners typically consider replacing windows an obvious energy conservation measure and are surprised when the energy analysis does not identify this renovation as a priority. While it is true that modern window technologies such as double-pane glass promise greater energy savings, the cost of quality window replacements is significant. This means other energy conservation measures provide a much better value.
The costs of heating a multifamily building account for a big portion of the operating expenses, and the boiler controls are how these costs can be managed. Inadequate boiler controls can cause ineffective heat distribution, inefficient boiler cycling, and overheating.
Buildings that use simple timers or aquastats—rather than individual thermostats—frequently overheat living spaces, especially when the heating distribution is already uneven. Water in the boiler is often set at 180-200⁰F, which is higher than necessary for occupant comfort during most non-winter months.
Boiler Replacement & Repair
Older furnace and boiler systems have efficiency in the range of 55%–80%, but modern conventional heating systems can achieve efficiency as high as 97%. Unfortunately, replacing a boiler usually involves a long-term financial commitment. When deciding whether to replace the boiler, the owner should consider energy savings along with other benefits such as decreased maintenance costs and better reliability. A boiler can be replaced to save energy but must be replaced if the existing one no longer operates, is no longer safe, or can no longer adequately heat the building.
Boiler Room: Increase Ventilation
The combustion process creates several byproducts that are potentially hazardous to human health and can cause deterioration in your home. You can protect yourself from these hazards and maintain energy efficiency by ensuring that your chimney system functions properly and that your gas heating system is properly ventilated. In some cases installing a sealed-combustion furnace or boiler can also help.
Radiator Valves & Vents
In a typical single-zone multifamily building, not all apartments or spaces have the same heating requirements. As a result, some units may be too hot while others are not hot enough. These discrepancies are due to various factors including differences in distance from the boiler, exposure to sunlight and wind, and the use of internal heat sources such as appliances and light fixtures. Keeping occupants in the coolest unit comfortable sometimes necessitates keeping other units hotter than necessary. This overheating may even cause occupants to open windows to cool the units. The result is higher heating bills.
The cost of heating and cooling a multifamily building accounts for a big portion of the operating expenses. Any efforts to minimize heat flow out of the building in the winter and heat flow into the building during the summer can have a big impact on a building’s operation costs.
Insulation: DHW & Heating Pipes
Uninsulated DHW (domestic hot water) and heating pipes frequently lose heat into unconditioned areas, increasing the heating costs for the building owner. The problem is exacerbated in basements because basements are the coldest area of a building and uninsulated pipes can lose large amounts of heat to the outside and to unoccupied areas of the building.
Home Energy Analysis
If you want to pay less to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you need to be sure that you are using energy as efficiently as possible. One way to accomplish this is to analyze your home to see where energy efficiency improvements—such as increased insulation or a better furnace—could be effective in cutting your energy consumption. This information can be obtained through an energy analysis.
Hot Water Heater Retrofit & Replacement
Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in a building. An older water heater may be using energy inefficiently, resulting in an unnecessarily high heating bill. In some instances, the water heaters that buildings operate are inappropriately sized because the buildings’ occupants may demand more or less hot water. A hot water heater that is too large may be working to heat too much water, wasting energy. A hot water heater that is too small does not meet the needs of the occupants. Finding the most efficient water heating system for a building is a crucial part of running a building efficiently.
Lighting in multifamily buildings typically accounts for about 15% of the electric bill. High wattage bulbs and unnecessary lighting fixtures lead many building owners to spend a lot of money. Regardless of the fixture, high wattage bulbs are inefficient. Switch older incandescent bulbs out with newer, efficient LED bulbs. Many older buildings have many, large, outdated fixtures that ineffectively deliver light. Lastly, lights are used often throughout the day (or night) that aren’t necessary.