Here you will find 8 strategies from Magic Valley Electric Cooperative that will help you save energy during the summer. Many of these tips are free; others are simple and inexpensive actions you can take to ensure maximum savings.
It is important to get your air conditioning system tuned up before the summer. A tune-up is an opportunity for a certified HVAC technician to professionally evaluate your air conditioning system to ensure that any problems are corrected. Your technician will make recommendations and tell you how to complete your system optimization.
In Texas, air filters are regularly working overtime, which means that you need to pay close attention to how often you change your air filters. “It is important to change your air filters once per month,” said Noel Perez, Energy Advisor for Magic Valley Electric Cooperative. “Changing air filters is critical to the proper performance of any HVAC system.”
You should also use a programmable thermostat, which makes it easy to adjust the settings and regulate the temperature to avoid unnecessary cooling costs. “We recommend setting your temperature to at least 70 degrees,” said Perez. “Also consider a locking cover over the thermostat to avoid having employees change the temperature settings.”
EQUIPMENT AND APPLIANCES
Conserve energy by running equipment and appliances when they are fully loaded, but be careful not to overload them beyond the recommended capacity. If ice makers are used in your business, reduce your energy costs by choosing the right one for the job. Keep evaporator coils clean and free of ice buildup with regular maintenance.
Install automatic door-closers and strip curtains on walk-in freezers or coolers. Make sure oven doors fit tightly by adjusting door latches, and ensure that gaskets are in good condition. Buy insulated cooking equipment when possible since insulation keeps more heat in the equipment instead of the room.
Most water heaters come preset at 140 degrees, which consumes more energy and has the added risk of scalding. The experts at Magic Valley Energy Cooperative recommend most businesses lower the setting to 120 degrees. That is high enough for your needs, and high enough to reduce mineral buildup in your tank and pipes.
Buy a water heater blanket and follow the instructions to wrap it tightly around your water heater. “It is an inexpensive way to help your water heater run more efficiently,” said Perez. You can also reduce hot water usage by installing water flow restrictors on your faucets. Always ensure that your water heater is in good working condition.
Many businesses can easily reduce lighting costs without affecting productivity. “Turn off as many unnecessary lights as possible,” said Perez. Install automatic, occupancy sensor lighting controls to turn lights on or off depending on occupancy or time of day. The right lighting can save up to 15 percent on your energy bill. Always make sure that equipment and lights are turned off after hours.
Replace your high-use incandescent light bulbs with LEDs or compact fluorescent lights. A compact fluorescent light uses 75 percent less electricity to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. The compact fluorescent will last about 10,000 hours as opposed to the 600 to 1,000 hour average life of an incandescent
COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS
Turn off your electronics when you are not using them, especially overnight and weekends. “This practice costs nothing, but it can greatly reduce your energy bill,” said Perez. Choose settings that automatically put computer monitors to sleep when not in use.
To be as energy efficient as possible, only buy office equipment that displays the ENERGY STAR logo. This mark indicates the most efficient computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, televisions, windows, thermostats, ceiling fans, and equipment. ENERGY STAR certified office equipment uses 30 to 75 percent less electricity than standard equipment.
WINDOWS AND DOORS
Exterior or interior window treatments can be used to block sunlight. Keep blinds and windows closed during the day to prevent heat from migrating inside your business. Reflective window films can dramatically reduce thermal radiation losses. Ensure that your windows and doors are properly sealed. “If you can see light coming through the door, the seal needs to be replaced,” said Perez.
Consider installing ceiling fans inside your business. Ceiling fans can draw air upward, cooling the room and ensuring constant airflow. “Instead of turning down the thermostat, turn on a ceiling fan,” said Perez. “It doesn’t change the temperature, but it will feel cooler in the room.” Don’t forget to turn off your ceiling fans when not in use because doing so will add to your energy savings.
If your insulation has not been checked recently, contact a qualified technician to ensure that you have proper insulation. Sealing and properly insulating the attics, walls, and floors over crawl spaces can provide significant energy savings. A professional business energy audit is the best way to determine where your business is losing energy and where you can save.
Magic Valley’s mission is to enhance people’s lives by safely providing the most reliable and affordable electric service by keeping member’s interest in mind. If you are a Magic Valley member interested in using less electricity as a way to manage your bill and benefit the environment, contact MVEC’s energy professionals at 1-866-225-5683.
Eastern Division & Corporate Office
1 3/4 Mile West Highway 83
Mercedes, Texas 78570