January 11, 2017
New year, new you – this can also apply to your business as we dive into 2017 with new goals and resolutions. Sustainability is increasingly important for businesses, so it is important to make progress as advancement in energy technology continues. However, needs differ – some of us with solar arrays already in place, some without. Here are three energy optimization resolutions to consider for both parties in the new year.
Businesses without solar
Change your lighting
Making the switch to LED efficient bulbs typically results in immediate, significant savings. It also creates an optimal visual environment for employees during work hours. There are many different forms of LED lighting to choose from, including occupancy sensors, which operates only when a room is occupied, and daylight harvesting, which utilizes natural sunlight in the building. An additional form of LED lighting is addressable systems, which allows users to adjust lighting levels individually.
Update your automation/control system
HVAC and other operating equipment have a major impact on energy use in commercial facilities. Energy Management Systems (EMS) are a seamless solution to managing automation and making them cost-effective by allowing the equipment to run on different schedules and turn off when it is not needed.
Replace old operating equipment
On a similar note, replacing old operating systems—like water heaters and furnaces—with Eligible Equipment systems can greatly increase energy efficiency while reducing costs. For example, a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system can operate at an efficiency level of 80%, while the conventional method (producing heat and power separately) typically has a combined efficiency of only 45%.
Businesses with solar
Invest in real-time production monitoring
Real-time data collects from a building’s utility meters, creating usage reports. It collects data thousands of times each second, offering immediate access to the collected information. Real-time data is ideal for businesses to enable faster, significant changes in your utility bills. It offers the ability to determine when peak energy demand occurs and thus opportunities for mitigating peak demand spikes using technology such as energy storage (storage units stockpile energy during off-peak hours and discharge it during peak hours). Collecting such data enables businesses to identify opportunities for improvement in their energy use and devise a plan that can then be implemented with smart controls.
Closely manage your solar incentives
With the help of your solar provider, it is easy to ensure you are getting the best return on investment possible for your array. For instance, our financial team at Solect closely watches the solar incentive market and offers quarterly or yearly reporting of performance information, etc. Understanding your incentive and how to obtain the best ROI is what will ultimately save your business the most on energy costs, which is why it should be a significant goal for the new year.
Carry out necessary maintenance services
Proper maintenance is crucial in maintaining optimal energy production for your solar system. At Solect, we provide annual preventative maintenance site visits, which include the inspection of the mechanical, electrical and PV components of your business’ solar system. In addition, if there were issues with your panels, we provide repair services that quickly identify and correct the problem. Taking advantage of preventative maintenance is one way to decrease the need for corrective maintenance this year, while also increasing the performance and lifetime of your array.
Whether your business is considering solar or has fully committed and invested in an array, there are a number of ways you can maximize your energy efficiency – and what better time to start than in the new year! The more aware of your energy use, the more cost-effective your business will be. And for those with solar systems, the more your array can be utilized to its full lifetime potential.