Today will be the last day in the workplace for many organisations across New Zealand for at least four weeks. Reducing operating costs will make a big difference to cash-flow in these uncertain times. Shutting down energy systems efficiently in your workplace is an excellent way to reduce operating costs over the next few weeks. We have a list of tips for:
Small-medium businesses (SMEs) based on our own experiences
Large businesses based on our clients' experiences.
We have taken the following steps in our offices to reduce energy costs over the next few weeks:
Switched off heat pumps at the wall switch (this means the timers will not activate the units) - make sure you leave on any air conditioning related to server rooms to ensure this critical infrastructure stays cool
Switched off hot water heaters - make sure you switch these back on 48 hours prior to using hot water again to ensure the system has had enough time to reheat above 60 °C and eliminate the risk of Legionella
Cleared out and switched off fridges
Switched off all lighting
Switched off plug loads at the wall switch - printers, computers, screens and other appliances all draw "vampire" power which can be eliminated easily
Take your office plants home - not an energy one but a nice thing to do!
A key part of this process is to make a list of all of the actions taken so that they can be systematically restarted once normal business resumes.
Some of our commercial clients such as airports and councils have seen facility usage rates drop significantly over the last few weeks, even full shut-downs in some cases. We have been working closely with them to ensure energy systems have been shut down efficiently and methodically.
Larger commercial building clients often have a building management system (BMS) that can be used for controlling the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC). Here are some of the changes that can be made to minimise HVAC energy consumption over the next few weeks:
Reviewing schedules and switching off equipment entirely where not required
Operating equipment in set-back modes (reducing fan speeds, relaxing temperature set-points and pressure set-points)
Identifying quick-win improvement opportunities for equipment that has to continue running.
There are some potential pitfalls with making changes like this, so we believe the key is to use an expert to help you quickly understand your options to act quickly and decisively. It is also essential that a plan is in place to quickly revert back to normal operation when the time comes.
Please get in touch with me (027 202 6576 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need help developing a customised strategy to reduce energy consumption without impacting critical business infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic.