by Debbie Allen
Keeping your office at a comfortable temperature is important for you and your clients, but that comfort comes at a price. Most business owners are on the lookout for ways to cut the costs of keeping the office environment cool in the summer months and warm in the winter. The tips below are ideal for doing just that.
Start with the HVAC System
The first cost consideration is the HVAC system you have in place. Ideally it will be ENERGY STAR qualified and the proper size unit for the area. But even the most efficient units need maintenance.
Just before the cooling and heating seasons begin, it is wise to have the unit serviced to ensure it is in top-functioning shape. A check-up and regular maintenance saves you money in the long run and eliminates worries about the unit breaking down when it is needed the most.
HVAC systems use filters that help keep the indoor air quality at a higher level. During months when the system is being used regularly, the filter should be changed (or if reusable, cleaned) at least monthly.
Besides helping to keep the air clean, this also helps ensure the HVAC system will work more efficiently and in a more cost-effective manner. In most cases, filters for HVAC systems are very inexpensive, which makes changing them often a real bargain.
Automating the HVAC system is a great way to save on the cost of operation. Rather than keeping the office cool or warm twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, you can optimize the system, based on the schedule needed. Unoccupied space is left unheated and/or uncooled.
The automated schedule can be overridden for early or late hours or special events. The thermostat can be programmed to heat or cool the space just before you or staff arrives. This saves energy but also ensures the office will be comfortable when it is in use.
Fans can be used year-round to distribute air and keep the temperature comfortable. In essence, it’s a great way to save energy. Moving air simply feels more comfortable than stagnant air.
You can choose from ceiling fans that can circulate air to box fans that can be used to pull in air from the outdoors. Whole house or whole facility fans are added to attic spaces to pull in fresh air from the outdoors while pushing out the stale air.
Make it Air-Tight
Taking the time to check for and plug any leaks can be very worthwhile. One way to do this is to use a candle. Simply hold a lit candle near a door or window facing. If the candle flickers, you know there is a leak. In most cases, these leaks can be plugged with caulking and/or weather stripping. Remember, this is as important in the summer months as it is during the cold months.
Control the Sun
Natural sunlight is a good thing in office space, and in the cold months the warmth from the sun feels great. But during the summer months, the sunlight can result in too much heat for the space. Window treatments can be used to control the sunlight. Other options include planting trees or using awnings or solar films on the windows.
You Can Save and Stay Comfortable
Saving money on the heat and air bill for your office isn’t that difficult. Start with just one or two of the suggestions mentioned in this article and then add another. As you see the savings begin to grow, you will get even more motivated to try additional ways to save.
Debbie Allen is a professional freelance writer, online marketer, and blogger. Besides writing about things like saving money on heating and air, she also writes on topics like online reputation management, marketing strategies, home and garden, and work at home issues.