Energy Saving Tips for Commercial Buildings

Energy saving is a goal many progressive business owners including building owners, facility managers incorporate for various reasons such as minimizing cost, improving efficiency, reducing carbon footprint and so on. One of the key aspects of energy saving is to invest in an energy monitoring system. With this building owners or facility managers can easily track and monitor energy usage. Once you are aware of energy usage data of your building systems, you can identify the scope and devise an energy saving strategy. In this article, we take a look at some of the energy saving tips your commercial building or facility can benefit from and minimize the energy costs.

Ensure proper functioning of equipment

Periodically monitor that all equipment and controls are functioning properly. Make sure your energy management system is set up correctly to ensure smooth operation as well as control settings are adjusted. Improper settings can not only slow down operation but also result in high energy costs since it is largely the equipment and machine that consume maximum energy in a facility.

Be aware of peak hour energy costs

If you are a resident of Ontario, then make sure you familiarize yourself with off peak hours and peak hours during which energy costs vary. If possible, schedule high energy consuming operations during off peak hours to minimize energy costs. The time can vary depending on the season, specifically in summer and winter. In addition, weekends and holidays in Ontario always offer off peak hours.

Switch to renewable energy sources

Renewable energy sources can be a great way to minimize energy costs as well as reduce carbon footprint as they use natural resources that are environmentally friendly. If your facility or business relies on power generation you can look for other power generation ways such as cogeneration which minimizes energy loss, increases efficiency by up to 90% or more and reduces energy costs.

Automate building systems

In today’s technologically advanced era, investing in building automation system is not a choice but a necessity. It will not only reduce your energy costs and improve efficiency but also add to user comfort, not to mention make managing your multiple buildings a hassle-free process. With efficient building automation and controls, you can monitor energy usage, adjust settings, receive alerts, predict problems, and reduce major repairs and much more. From carrying out simple tasks like scheduling lighting system to detecting occupants using occupancy sensors to gaining valuable insights for better decision making, it is essential to have your building equipped with BAS. Today’s BACnet to IoT app also makes it easy to control multiple buildings anytime from anywhere.

Encourage occupants to turn off power and equipment

When you want to create an energy saving environment, apart from using an energy management system, you also need to build awareness within the building community so that occupants are motivated to participate in the program. You can install signages, posters, hold workshops that encourage employees, staff, or other building users to make sure all the electronics such as task lights, kitchen appliances, computers are turned off. Since humans are creatures who tend to forget, again another option is to go with a building automation system which will take care of turning off any powered system in absence of occupants or based on scheduled tasks.

Install submetering or energy meter

If you own or manage multiple units such as condo projects, install energy meter or submetering for individual units. This helps in identifying actual energy usage in each unit as well as encourages residents to be more conscious of energy using habits as they are responsible for utility bills of their own portion. 

Change old lighting

Replace old incandescent lighting with more energy efficient and modern lighting such as LED. Although initially they may cost you, over the long run, these are more long lasting and energy saving compared to traditional bulbs, thereby helping you reduce electricity bills. Also pay attention to lighting in areas that do not require too much light such as parking lot, areas that receive ample daylight. Invest in motion sensor, smart lighting, or dimmers to effectively control lighting and reduce utility bills.

Install HVAC monitoring system

Since HVAC system is an important component of building as well as a major energy consumer, invest in an efficient HVAC monitoring system or HVAC monitoring app that can give you real-time update and control of the HVAC system. This will not only reduce energy costs but also enhance occupants’ comfort.

In addition, make sure your HVAC controls are properly set and components are serviced and maintained to ensure efficiency and reduced costs. 

Upgrade building controls

Since building systems become obsolete with time, you need to upgrade building controls like boiler controls, chiller and so on so that they are upgraded to the latest system, compatible with new software and optimized for performance.

Invest in energy-rated equipment

Whether buying new equipment for your facility or getting new appliances, it is recommended that you check the energy rating of the equipment. Energy rating refers to how efficient a machine runs depending on the energy it consumes, which can be water, electricity, and how well it functions. Usually, latest models and appliances will have better energy ratings than their older counterparts. These are energy rated for their efficiency and help in conserving energy as well as reducing energy costs.

Energy savings is without a doubt a huge concern for any commercial building owner, operator, or facility manager. While there are many energy solutions available, it depends on many factors such as your industry, business goal, building size and so on. Connect with A-TECH Engineering Ltd. – a leading energy company based in Toronto to discuss the energy saving potential of your building today.

Spring Cleaning for Commercial HVAC System

The HVAC system is a major energy consumer especially for commercial buildings and over time it loses efficiency without proper care and maintenance. With the arrival of spring season, it is the perfect opportunity to pay attention to your commercial HVAC system and carry out some spring cleaning to get rid of accumulated dirt, dust, and germs in your HVAC system and upgrade your HVAC controls to improve efficiency and reduce utility bills.

There are several advantages for carrying out spring cleaning for your commercial HVAC system including improved ventilation, enhanced comfort, increased efficiency and reduced utility bills. In addition, it will also increase the lifespan of your HVAC system.
In this article, we take a look at some of the spring maintenance tips for your commercial HVAC system.

Replace the Air Filter

Over time, the air filter in your commercial HVAC system accumulates dust and dirt which not only contribute to indoor air pollution but also put extra load on the HVAC system.  Cleaning air filter will improve indoor air quality in your space as well reduce energy costs of your building. Operating your commercial HVAC systems with clean air filters can reduce energy usage by up to 15%.

Clean HVAC system components

HVAC system indoor components including evaporating coils, blower fans accumulate layers of dust, dirt, germs, scaling and so on which greatly reduce system efficiency and lower indoor air quality. Make sure during spring cleaning, these parts are properly cleaned for the upcoming season. Also do not forget to clean and lubricate fan blades for smooth function.

With the prevalent of covid-19, it is possible that the virus can circulate in the air through the system and increase risk of transmission within a building due to poor ventilation. This is why it is now imperative more than ever that before reopening you carry out a deep cleaning of your commercial HVAC system. You should ensure you get the services of professionals who follow covid-19 disinfection protocol.

Ensure proper refrigerant level

Cooling systems need to have the right amount of refrigerant to capture and release heat properly. The refrigerant in cooling system is found in evaporating coils- these evaporate the refrigerant to absorb heat from the surrounding area and is transferred to condenser coil where it reverts back to liquid form and heat is released either into or outside the building, ensuring the heat pump or cooling system is functioning properly.  It is imperative that the proper refrigerant level is maintained. Without it, commercial HVAC system will have lower efficiency and eventually lead to system breakdown, requiring major repairs.

Upgrade HVAC Controls

With commercial HVAC systems accounting for more than 50% to 60% of the total energy consumption, upgrading your HVAC controls can be the best investment for your HVAC system this season. Smart commercial HVAC controls such as DDC systems can increase your system efficiency up to 40%. Today’s smart commercial HVAC control also allows you to monitor and control multiple building systems in a unified platform and also provide a hassle-free energy management system, improving efficiency and reducing utility bills.

Inspect and clean drain lines

The cooling drain line can become clogged leading to the unit shutting down or worse, leaking and triggering serious water damage to the building. Inspect your drain lines and condensate pans and make sure that they are not clogged with debris, mold or mineral deposits and clean them properly. If you have a HVAC monitoring app or a newer HVAC system, it can notify you when the drain pan is filled with water so you know that the line is clogged and fix the problem before it causes any major damage.

Clean outdoor units

In addition to cleaning HVAC inner components, you should also ensure that the outdoor cabinet that holds the condenser unit and other components are clean. During winter season, there can be build-up of debris including leaves, branches or other materials that can obstruct the vents and reduce airflow, thereby reducing efficiency. Make sure these are removed and cleaned properly.

Inspect and repair electrical wiring

Another important thing to note during spring cleaning of your commercial HVAC system is to properly check and test control box, wiring and connections so that they are secure and without any damage. Examine all wiring for any signs of damage, including rodent nests, burnt wires, and loose connections and fix the issue before it leads to major problems.

HVAC system is an important building system component for any commercial building and with the arrival of spring season, it is important that you have it ready to prevent downtime and save on energy costs. With these tips, you can ensure your commercial HVAC system will be running smoothly and efficiently and you can enjoy both peace of mind as well as lower energy costs this spring. A-TECH Engineering  Ltd.- a leading HVAC controls contractor based in Toronto provides efficient HVAC system cleaning and maintenance services as well as smart building automation system that not only increase efficiency and reduce energy bills but also improve indoor air quality and occupants’ comfort. Connect with us to get a FREE assessment of your commercial HVAC system today.

Energy Management System for Commercial Buildings

No matter which industry you belong to – whether it is an office building you run, a commercial retail shop you own or an industrial building, as a facility or building manager you must be aware of the role of having an efficient energy management system that ensures your building systems are operating smoothly at all times. It not only provides a sustainable solution for your business but also guarantees comfort of the occupants, thereby boosting productivity and improving your bottom line. This is why it is imperative that when considering energy management system, you pay ample attention to several factors such as ensuring the system is aligned to your business goals and invest in a system that helps you achieve them. In this article we delve into how having an energy management system can benefit your business in a sustainable and efficient way. 


Energy Management System

Energy management systems used for buildings, also known as BEMS, refer to integrated building energy management and building automation systems. They combine the use of IoT, data analytics and other digital communication technologies to provide a holistic approach resulting in better control and optimization of the building system. The system may have multiple layers approach from various sensors connected to a unified interface. The goal is to enable data collection, analysis, trend monitoring and so on in order to provide smart and fast decision-making. Building energy management system can provide easy access to building automation systems from several platforms and various locations. Ultimately, the system enables an efficient and dynamic control of the indoor climate in a cost-effective way while ensuring the safety, comfort, and well-being of the building occupants. For an energy management system to be efficient and sustainable, it is imperative to consider the following areas:


Working towards the goal of reducing carbon footprint


Carbon footprint is defined as “the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions” that your building or facility releases into the environment in any one-year period. In today’s energy-conscious era, as a responsible business owner it becomes prudent for you to strive towards achieving better energy management, increasing sustainability, and reducing the impact of your organization on climate change – which is where the energy management system comes to play a significant role. By employing an efficient energy management system for your building, you can effortlessly monitor CO2 emissions and take preventive steps to minimize it, thereby contributing positively to reduce global warming. 


Ensuring environmental friendliness


Apart from CO2 emissions, most commercial buildings are a major contributor to releasing other environment pollutants as they use an array of harmful chemicals in their day-to-day operations such as methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and so on. When you opt for a reliable energy management system, it also ensures the effective monitoring and controlling of these gases and ensures that your organization adheres to sustainable practices and promotes use of environment friendly processes.


Reducing energy bills


Investing in energy management system plays a significant role in keeping your operations costs from surging high. It is important that the energy management system you utilize is efficient and also one that does not compromise with the operation process. For instance, you might be thinking of investing in an effective ‘daylighting’ system that allows you to harness solar power with the potential for use in building lighting, which ultimately reduces your electricity consumption. In such cases, the use of a proper roofing system can also be a huge help to significantly lower energy consumption. A proper roofing system ensures an ideal temperature is maintained inside the facility and therefore can significantly contribute to efficient use of HVAC systems. Hence both the systems work synergistically to dramatically reduce the overall operational costs of your building.


Utilizing an efficient energy monitoring system


Since efficiency and savings are two major components of any energy management system, the application of energy monitoring system is not only reasonable but also ultimately necessary. Energy monitoring system not only helps to identify trends in energy use but also gives alerts of potential problems, reducing hassle and cost of major repairs of the building system. In addition, you should also ensure that your energy management system actually adheres to standard energy ratings such as LEED or Energy Star to ensure their efficacy.


More and more companies nowadays are implementing robust monitoring and assessment of energy consumption in their facility or building for reducing overall energy costs as well as optimizing efficiency and neither should you lag behind and get started with a qualified energy management services provider. Some companies like A-TECH Engineering offers free evaluation of energy or zero upfront cost to help you get started. Connect with an A-TECH team specialist today to find out more.