As a leader in your community, your top priority is the well-being of your citizens. We can help enhance comfort and safety through services that also promote economic growth and improve connectivity.
Visit our economic and community development website, Amazing Alabama, for more information on:
Learn how we can help improve the quality of life for your community through initiatives focused on connectivity, workforce training and improved infrastructure.Strengthen Your Community
It doesn’t take much to notice a big difference.
In multiple tower/chiller installations, run all the water over all the fill when possible.
Savings from gas cooking are lost to increased costs of air conditioning.
Provide all air handling units with an economizer with enthalpy control. Applications include all areas and buildings that can use outside air for "free cooling" during a significant portion of the year. This reduces the energy required to operate a chilled water plant.
To increase the efficiency of a boiler by 2 to 3 percent, install an economizer. This device preheats the feedwater (returned condensate). In the case of a 250-horsepower boiler, an initial investment of $6,000 provides an annual savings of more than $3,000.
Incorporating low-E glazing on glass windows will improve the energy efficiency of your facility year-round. During the cooling season, long-wave infrared radiation from outside the facility is blocked before it can pass through the glass, thus reducing the cooling load.
Insulate exposed hot-water, steam and chilled-water distribution piping and valves where feasible.
Pump and fan capacities can be reduced and energy saved by using variable speed drives to control their speed. These are low-cost alternatives to expensive electric drive modifications. Reductions in both peak and off-peak energy costs can be obtained by using variable speed drives on pumps, fans and compressors that operate at varying loads.
Light energy can be controlled using overhangs to shade windows, shading glass surfaces, and using glazing material for exposed window surfaces. Other methods for controlling heat flow include selecting the correct materials for the walls and roof and using natural ventilation and landscaping. Our experts can help you select strategies, which provide enough savings to justify their expense.
Increasing the amount of natural light used in your facilities dramatically lowers your utility bills. The more artificial lighting used, the greater the heat load imposed on the air-conditioning system. This is a critical point because artificial lighting and air conditioning consume the largest amount of electrical energy in a typical commercial building.
The costs of properly maintaining boilers are fully recovered in fuel savings. To ensure peak efficiency, remove scale, replace leaky tubes and flanges, remove damaged insulation and control linkages, and recalibrate controls.
To reduce costs, investigate using the economizer cycle to cool a building at night.
Internal walls influence window design and placement. Highly reflective, but not glossy, light-colored walls will spread daylight back from sidewalls. Jewel-toned walls will absorb more light and may require more supplemental lighting sources.
Encourage employees to turn off computers, monitors, printers and copiers when they are not being used. Consider equipping computers with devices that turn them off automatically after a set period of inactivity.
The energy recovered can be redistributed to space conditioning and domestic water heating. Costs are typically low for installing, operating and maintaining these systems. And they are adaptable to future energy sources, such as solar heating. What's more, individual unit control means greater flexibility and comfort.
The goals statement for a comprehensive lighting energy conservation program should read: turn it off when it isn't needed; use the most efficient, suitable equipment; and provide light only where it is needed.
Maintaining cleaner heating and cooling coils by using and regularly changing filters can lead to greater efficiencies. Effective filter replacement schedules will reflect changes of use in the building.
Seventy-five percent of a building's total air loss is from small leaks. Seal electrical outlets and gaps between moldings, as well as plumbing and wiring penetrations. Attic checkpoints include hatches, plumbing vents, chimneys and other roof or wall penetrations. Many areas can be sealed with a caulk gun and tubes of silicone or urethane caulking.
To conserve energy, make inexpensive repairs and improvements to the HVAC mechanical system as required. For heating efficiency, repair or replace burners and add radiator reflectors. Install flue dampers or balance the ventilation system to reduce the exhaust rate. Relocate thermostats, install fans to keep hot air off the ceiling, and install thermostats in hot water tanks.
In addition to their aesthetic values, interior window treatments can reduce energy consumption. Insulating vertical or horizontal blinds and/or draperies can reduce heat loss and solar gain through window openings.
Fixtures that have state-of-the-art lamps or ballasts (T8 lamps, electronic ballasts, etc.) may save plenty of energy but may also require a higher premium at relamping or reballasting time. Much of this cost is offset because of the longer life. This longer life not only cuts down on replacement component costs but also reduces the associated labor expense to replace them.
Perform regular energy audits to establish the basic costs and uses of energy forms including electricity, gas and steam, and to identify waste or inefficiency. By identifying on-peak and off-peak periods, you can take advantage of a utility's rate structure.
Incorporate motion detectors to reduce lighting usage and save energy.
Consider installing instruments to monitor real-time, cooling plant efficiency in kw/ton. The saying goes, what gets measured, gets done. If efficiency is your goal, then you need an indicator of how well you are doing.
Structures such as hospitals, universities and industrial facilities use high- and medium-pressure steam containing valuable energy that can be recovered. Avoid venting this steam into the atmosphere where its heat is wasted. Instead, use the recovered heat to preheat domestic hot water or returned hot water from the building's heating system.
Window films not only reduce air conditioning loads but also help reduce heating energy use. In optimum situations, energy savings frequently pay back the cost of film installation in a year or less. In a surprisingly large number of cases, building owners have been able to pay back the cost of window film installation directly from energy savings.
96% of electric infrared heat generated goes to the person or object.
Select replacement windows with a 0.46 U-value or better with optical properties that are appropriate for building use. (U-0.46 is a low-E window in a thermally improved metal frame.)
Rejected waste heat from air conditioning or refrigeration equipment can often be used to serve building needs. The potential energy savings and cost benefits depend on how many hours per year of excess energy are available and also on whether that heat can be used for purposes that would otherwise require purchased energy.
Uninsulated brick walls are very common, particularly in buildings constructed prior to 1960. You can realize significant energy savings by adding insulation using one of three methods: furring the interior surface, insulating the cavity or insulating the exterior.
When retrofitting an existing lighting system, high overall light levels can be reduced when good task lighting is installed. A combination of good, sensible lighting design with the use of the latest technology can result in substantial energy savings and an overall improvement in lighting quality.
Full-range dimming systems can significantly reduce the power delivered to fluorescent lights and can even be activated in response to available daylight for perimeter areas.
In many cases, high overall light levels can be reduced when good task lighting is installed. A combination of good, sensible lighting design with the use of the latest technology lighting systems can result in substantial energy savings and an overall improvement in lighting quality.
To improve cooling tower efficiency, lower the cooling tower fan horsepower by adding surface area and free area within the tower fill. These additions result in a five to 10 times lower load on the cooling tower fans. The motors can therefore be resized. The tower performance goal should be .012 kw/ton or better.
Dehumidification equipment helps prevent illnesses and lost productivity.
Infrared heaters boost temps first, so you boost productivity.
To improve the thermal-insulating characteristics of aluminum frame windows, request that the window must include a thermal break, which is an insulating section placed between the inner and outer aluminum sections of the frames.
Consider controlling all the cooling tower fans with one variable frequency drive and modulate the fan speed together.
Many lighting control projects have payback periods of less than one year. Daylighting control systems examine the total amount of light available in a given space and switch off one or more banks of lights whenever enough sunlight is available. Daylighting control systems are particularly well suited for use in facilities with large areas of exterior glass.
Although individual components of the HVAC system, such as the chiller, may be quite efficient, the overall system may contain inefficiencies that need to be fixed.
Using a thermal storage system in the chiller plant conserves energy, particularly when there is a significant difference in energy demand between peak and off-peak hours.
LEDs get progressively dimmer over time, which is helpful in critical lighting areas.
To conserve energy, allow elevators to time out and shut down slowly. They should idle long enough so that the power consumption is equal to or just less than power consumed in starting the motor/generator.
At present, many air conditioning systems are being replaced due to the phaseout of ozone-depleting refrigerants. This is an excellent opportunity to incorporate design features that reduce the cooling load on the system. Updating the system results in lower equipment and energy costs.
Get rid of mercury lamps inside and outside a building. Their light output reduces over time, and a dim mercury lamp uses as much energy as a brand new one. Replace them with high-pressure sodium or metal halide lamps.
Gas water heaters lose 3.5% stored heat per hour. Electric units lose 1%.
Replace your 10- or 20-watt incandescent lamps in exit signs with LEDs. While the incremental energy savings may seem small, the continual operation of exit signs makes the retrofit very cost effective.
Operating chillers at peak performance will save energy and maintenance.
The initial cost of a state-of-the-art system may even be lower than the overall cost of a less expensive and less efficient system if you use fewer fixtures to achieve the same or better light levels, and if you can tap into utility rebates and other incentives.
Shutting down unnecessary auxiliary HVAC equipment improves system efficiency without impacting performance. To save energy in central HVAC plants, turn off auxiliary equipment such as cooling tower fans and circulating pumps for chilled water and condenser water when not required.
When specifying piping insulation, look at both the maximum temperature it will be exposed to and the minimum temperature.
For peak efficiency, repair or replace damaged or missing boiler insulation.
Artificial lighting and air conditioning consume the largest amount of electrical energy in a typical commercial building. The more artificial lighting is used, the greater the heat load imposed on the air conditioning system from lamps and ballasts. Carefully increasing the amount of natural light will decrease the need for artificial light, reducing energy in both lighting and air conditioning systems.
Use cooling towers to save energy in cooling plants by delivering cooler water to the chillers.
LED lighting uses 2-3 times less energy than most CFLs.
To improve chiller performance, monitor outside air temperature and humidity to control chilled water supply temperature. Even in hot, humid climates, you can increase the chilled water supply temperature and still maintain building comfort year-round.
Think system efficiency when making decisions about conservation strategies. For instance, you may have the most efficient chiller available, but if parasitic loads from chilled water and cooling tower pumps are high, then the system efficiencies could be quite low.
Heat recovery systems can reduce ventilation costs by 50% or more.
Consider a thermal storage system when designing your chiller plant. With a thermal storage system, the idea is to run chiller equipment during off-peak periods and store cooled water or ice, then draw on this cooling during the peak times of the day.
EVs have lower life-cycle costs, saving up to $6K annually per vehicle.
To avoid losing efficiency, calibrate pneumatic thermostats every three to six months. The exact frequency depends on the condition of the air supply and how often occupants tamper with thermostats.
The right system can be retrofitted to greatly reduce energy costs.