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Archive for February 18th, 2008

Energy Savings Tips

Monday, February 18th, 2008

As part of our Green Business Marketing program, your consultant will make recommendations that will augment your green printing efforts and make your business more eco-friendly. Printing is just one area that is addressed. We look at water and power usage, ergonomics in production, and many other aspects of your operation. Call us to discuss details of the program. Meanwhile, here are some tips for saving electricity that we find many of our clients can benefit from at the office and at home:

Raise air conditioning thermostat settings in the summer, and lower them in the winter. A difference of a couple of degrees can make a significant difference on your electric bill and lower C02 output. Areas that do not need to be heated or cooled, such as storage rooms and unused offices should be isolated by closing the vents and keeping the doors closed. Areas that are used only occasionally might be better heated with efficient space heaters.

Replace tank style water heaters with on-demand units. Use small, energy efficient models and install one per bathroom or point-of-use. Alternately, wrap your older heater in an insulating blanket. In either case, lower the temperature setting to 120 degrees. If you have an older heater, install heat traps on the water lines. Regular maintenance is critical too. Sediment accumulates in the bottom of the tank, which creates a barrier between the heating element and the water it’s trying to heat. Draining the tank every 6 months will keep the sediment flushed out. Insulate exposed hot water pipes.

Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent, or better yet, LED alternatives. Compact fluorescent bulbs are roughly 70% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs are relatively new to the market and more expensive, but are even more efficient than compact fluorescents and will not lose brightness over time. Also, they don’t generate significant heat, so will not add load to your air conditioning system. Eliminate halogen bulbs altogether, as they use the most energy and generate a tremendous amount of heat.

Replace light switches with motion-sensing units. These will automatically turn the lights on when a person enters the room, and turn it off after it stops sensing motion. These are most appropriate in rooms that get occasional use, like bathrooms, storage rooms and closets.

Raise the temperature of your refrigerator. 38-40 degrees is recommended for the refrigerator, while 5 degrees is ideal for the freezer. These are typically the middle of the dial, or what are labeled as “factory settings” on some models. In an office that is closed at night, install an appliance timer that turns off the fridge between 9pm and 6am. A well insulated fridge will stay cold all night if the door is not opened, but the unit will still cycle on and off if not on a timer.

Check for air leaks around window frames. Caulking or weather stripping them is easy to do and is a huge energy saver. If you have single pane windows, install double-pane glass or replace them altogether.

Check for air coming in through electrical receptacles. If you feel a breeze, install gaskets (available at hardware stores) behind the covers. Also use plugs to cap unused outlets.

Look at your HVAC ducts to see if they are insulated. Air ducts that pass through unconditioned space will lose efficiency if they are not insulated. Also, tape all joints in the ductwork to prevent air lose through leaks.

At home, wash only full loads of clothes and dishes and consider air drying them rather than using the clothes dryer or the drying element on the dishwasher. If you do use the dryer, avoid over drying your clothes, as this will shorten the life of the garments as well as use un-necessary amounts of energy.

Replace older appliances. Newer models are much more efficient. Look for the “Energy Star” seal when choosing appliances. These models are required to use less than 50% of the energy required by the Federal minimum standard.

Remember that anything you do to save water will also save energy. Using less hot water lowers energy consumption, and if you are on a well, your pump will run less too. Low-flow shower heads and sink aerators are a good place to start.

All of these tips will save money. Even the ones that involve significant costs should break even in the relatively short period of 1-3 years, depending on the solution implemented. In the meantime, you can take satisfaction from the fact that your carbon footprint has been greatly reduced. Please leave us your tips through the feedback feature on our newsblog at www.barefootpress.com

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