New Britain, CT - According to a study conducted by ENERGY STAR®, commercial and industrial facilities nationwide consume half the energy used each year, at a cost of over $200 billion annually. The resulting environmental cost amounts to nearly 50 percent of greenhouse gas emission in the United States, a number that may leave many Connecticut business owners asking themselves what they can do to bring these costs down. As a result, the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund, in partnership with Connecticut Light and Power, the United Illuminating Company and the natural gas utilities, are offering energy-efficient tips to businesses of all sizes that not only benefit the environment, but can improve their bottom line.
“In Connecticut, there is ample opportunity for improved energy savings in the commercial and industrial sector, but many business operators are unaware of the programs available or where to even begin,” said Rich Steeves, First Vice Chairperson, Energy Efficiency Board. “As a starting point, business owners should understand how they are spending money when it comes to energy usage.”
To get started, the Energy Efficiency Fund recommends that business owners and operators consider the following areas to build a more energy efficient business:
· Start by converting older style linear T12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts to the newer style T8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts. T8 lamps produce more light per watt of energy than T12s and can reduce energy use by 40 percent.
· Install occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present, and back on when they return. Use sensors in rooms with high traffic (break rooms, restrooms, etc.) to reduce lighting costs of up to 40 percent.
Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning
· Perform regular maintenance tune-ups on cooling equipment by regularly cleaning condenser coils, change belts and filters, and fix duct leaks. Maintenance activities can save up to 30 percent of fan and up to 10 percent of space conditioning energy use.
· A programmable thermostat can optimize HVAC operation. For example, instead of heating or cooling all night, this thermostat can turn on the HVAC one hour before you arrive, based on your daily or hourly needs.
· Look for 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) or, on larger units, 11.5 EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) or above for your HVAC system.
o When looking for or upgrading an HVAC system, seek one with the highest efficiency that exceeds code.
· If refrigeration is applicable to your business operations, check the door seals on the refrigerator because a broken seal is the same as leaving the door open. Replace the seal if it is torn or partially missing.
o To test it, close the door on a single sheet of paper and try to pull it out. If it slides out easily, it needs to be replaced to prevent cold air from leaking out, or consider buying a new unit.
· Assure the compressed air system does not run when your business is not in use (i.e., overnight or on the weekends). Use smaller air compressors dedicated to serve minimal after-hour needs. These actions can save up to 20 percent of a system’s electricity usage.
“In addition to analyzing where energy usage can be improved, business owners should also educate themselves on the commercial and industrial programs available through the Energy Efficiency Fund,” Steeves added. “There are many cost-effective programs that fit the energy efficiency needs of businesses small and large, and they can offer great incentives and savings.”
For more information on business energy efficiency tips and programs, please call 1-877-WISE USE or visit www.CTEnergyInfo.com.
About the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund
The Energy Efficiency Fund promotes efficient energy use, helps residents and businesses save on their electric and natural gas bills, advances economic development, reduces electric demand, and helps reduce air pollution. Energy Efficiency Fund programs serve residential customers, including limited-and fixed-income customers, as well as business and municipal customers. Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs are funded by a charge on customers’ utility bills and administered by the state’s electric and gas utilities including: Connecticut Light and Power, United Illuminating, Yankee Gas, Connecticut Natural Gas, and Southern Connecticut Gas. Additional information on Connecticut’s energy efficiency programs can be found at www.ctenergyinfo.com or by calling 1.877.WISE.USE.