Energy Saving Tips for Landlords
1. Hot Water Controllers
For owners of commercial and residential buildings, paying to heat hot water can be a large expense! But you can take advantage of the patterns of hot water usage. There are devices that record usage patterns and control the output of your boilers to match the demand from your building and to minimize unnecessary water heating.
Many systems have built-in economizers that use sensors, controls and dampers to decide how much outside air to bring into the building. When working properly, these systems can save up to 10% of energy costs, but when they malfunction they can cost you just as much! To ensure that your economizer is working, it should be tested at least twice a year.
3. Programmable Thermostats
Heating a building through winter isn't cheap. A programmable thermostat can automatically operate your heating and cooling systems. When the residents leave the buildings during the days, the system can set itself back a few degrees. Then, in the evenings, the temperature will return to original levels. Many people with programmable thermostats don't even use the features, so if you have one, don't forget to set it!
4. Equipment Efficiency
When was your furnace manufactured? How about the air-conditioner? Units manufactured before 1993 are less efficient than contemporary models, and therefore use more energy to produce the same amount of heating or cooling. Depending on your current model, replacing your furnace or other equipment could save you up to 50% on your energy bill each month!
5. Duct Sealing and Cleaning
Gaps and holes in your air ducts leak air, and dirt and dust in ducts slow down the air speed. Have a professional check your air ducts, seal any holes and clean out any dirt. You'll enjoy the benefits of a more efficient and cost-effective system!
6. Duct Insulation
Without insulation, ducts are just metal tubes carrying the heated or cooled air from the furnace to the vents. Along the path, the some of the heat is "leaked" through the duct metal. To get the same amount of heating to the rooms, the furnaces have to work harder. If the ducts are insulated, the heat won't get a chance to leak out of the system.
7. Clean Coils
An air-conditioning unit with dirty coils is less efficient in two ways: First, it reduces the system's airflow, making it more difficult for air to circulate throughout the system. Secondly, it decreases the system's heat-transfer efficiency. The good news is that the coils can be checked and cleaned fairly easily by a trained technician with the right tools.
8. Change Filters
Depending on the equipment and environment, filters should be replaced three to four times a year. Clean filters not only improve the quality of your building air, but they help protect downstream system components from dirt and dust.
9. Adjust Belts
Like other motors, HVAC equipment motors have belts that transfer energy to the parts. If the belt is too loose, it will slip. If it is too tight, it puts excessive pressure on the bearings, increases wear-and-tear, and causes sooner failures. Belts are cheap to replace, but motors are not!
10. Roofing Insulation
To make most efficient use of heating and cooling systems, make sure that the building is well-insulated! This helps keep the heat IN during winter and OUT during summer. Insulation options include cellulose or fiberglass (installed in attic in "blanket" and/or loose form) and foam board (installed under the roof covering).
11. Tubular Skylights
Skylights provide a natural light source during days. But traditional skylights can increase heat-loss in winter or allow the sun to "cook" the room in the summer. Tubular skylights with dome tops can provide the same amount of lighting through, while conducting less heat (into or out of) the building.
12. Solar Panels
Why not make use of a free and abundant energy source? Governmental grants, loans and tax credits paired with low maintenance solar panels, batteries and inverters, can yield a system cost payback over the life of the system.
13. Low-flow Showerheads and Faucet Aerators
Using less water can significantly reduce water consumption and sewage charges. Low-flow showerheads can maintain the same water pressure while reducing volume of water used. When taking showers, the difference may not be noticeable, but when you get your water bill, you'll see the results!
14. Low-flush Toilets
One of the biggest water guzzlers in any building is the toilet. In traditional toilets, each flush cycle cost four to five gallons of water. The good news is that it isn't necessary to purchase and install a new toilet to reduce water used. There are various products and accessories that can be easily installed to gain immediate water savings. These devices fall into three general categories: water displacement (water bag or bottle), water retention (toilet dams) or alternative flushing (early closure or dual flush).
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