It’s 2020 and summer is in full swing. COVID-19 may have limited how we gather for fun and celebrations, but we can still enjoy the Fourth from the comfort of our own homes. Beer and barbeques remain a staple, and we’re sure your tenants are eager to rush out of work and enjoy the weekend festivities.
It’s estimated that Americans spent about $6.7 billion celebrating the birth of their nation in 2019. Factoring in the amount of money and resources thrown into the fire of wasted energy, it’s no wonder spending is at such a high this time of year.
What does all this mean for you? It means now is a great time to begin saving over the holiday weekend. With a couple of quick changes, you can cut operating costs and conserve energy in ways that will keep you and your tenants happy and healthy, and we’ll tell you how to get started.
It’s no secret temperature setbacks can save a building money, but setting your temperatures forward is far more likely to be effective over a holiday weekend. Depending on your building envelope and climate, you may want to ask your engineer to set temperatures forward. With just a few minutes, you could be saving a handful of cash through conserving energy. Not to mention, Mother Nature will definitely be happy with this effort to protect her.
Keep in mind, though, ASHRAE recommends against entirely disabling heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems as doing so could increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Saving money is important, but the health and safety of your tenants should take priority. Make sure your decisions are made with consideration to others, as well.
Tenants’ spaces often account for half of a building’s energy use, and unlike the larger aspects of the building itself, these costs may be out of your control. That doesn’t mean you can’t be an influence, though! Engage your tenants to cut down on those energy costs you don’t control. You may ask them to turn off all lights before they go home and unplug everything that can be unplugged (excepting refrigerators, of course). Devices like laptops, computers, and coffee makers are notorious for eating away at power, even when not in use.
In today’s climate, there’s no such thing as “too careful.” Asking your tenants to be conscientious of their own areas, such as personal cubicles or dedicated lounges, is also an excellent way to promote social distancing while saving money for you and them. Tenants will appreciate it, and the world will benefit from the conservation of energy.
Keeping social distancing in mind once more, instead of sending your tenants outside of their personal areas, you may want to take it upon yourself to find other energy users in your building and unplug or shut them down. Or, if possible, recruit your engineer to shut them down remotely! Not only will this save some cash, but cutting down on human involvement mitigates the spread of the virus, keeping your tenants safe as they prepare for the holiday.
Weekend celebrations mean most places of business will be back in office come the following Monday. In all of the commotion, don’t forget the steps you’ve taken to conserve energy. You may need to prepare your building ahead of time in order to give the HVAC system a chance to reach a comfortable level and ensure everything is plugged in, lit up, and ready to go.
Preserving energy and helping our planet may seem like daunting tasks, but they don’t have to be. Little changes can make a world of difference, and the last things you need to worry about during a pandemic are the easily-avoidable, excess expenses of a weekend holiday. Implementing these small steps will help you relax so you and your tenants can focus on having fun and staying safe and healthy this Fourth of July.
If you're preparing your buildings to reopen, join us for a free webinar to learn about the new ASHRAE guidelines for building operators to ensure the safety of tenants and occupants.