What Does Your Building’s Electricity Cost Per Square Foot Say About I…

What Does Your Building’s Electricity Cost Per Square Foot Say About I…

Making a building energy efficient has two benefits: it reduces the building’s carbon footprint and annual utility bill. To get the best results in both situations, energy efficiency should be practiced as a science and not as a fact; that is, companies should hire an energy efficiency consultant to perform and energy audit of their building(s) before moving forward with plans for efficient design, which in the absence of an efficiency consultant usually amounts to one off projects that enhance a building’s efficiency in one area but not systematically, which should be the goal.

calculating the Ideal Electricity Cost Per Square Foot for your Building

For most companies, electricity is the single biggest utility cost, in many situations accounting for upwards of 90 percent of a building’s annual utility bill. consequently, one of the chief practices of an energy audit is calculating a building’s electricity cost per square foot. A company’s ideal electricity cost per square foot depends on several factors, including what kind of building it is (e.g. industrial facility versus office building) and the climate it resides in. Once measurements are taken, they’re often compared to the electricity cost per square foot of similar buildings in similar climates.

The biggest advantage of having an efficiency consultant perform an energy audit is that it results in targeted solutions for your building’s problems areas from greatest to least, which can be implemented on a priority basis. Without this knowledge, companies usually begin by replacing what they think is their least efficient equipment with more efficient equipment. Sometimes companies guess correctly about what to replace. But they can also use big money on solutions that don’t address the biggest problem areas first.

In most commercial buildings, the biggest source of electricity use is an interior lighting system, which accounts for approximately 60 percent of the average commercial building’s annual electric bill. Second to interior lighting is an HVAC system, which accounts for approximately 30 percent of a building’s electrical use. As a consequence, interior lighting and HVAC systems are commonly targeted for energy efficient retrofitting, a course of action where a building’s systems are outfitted to adjust to more efficient equipment.

In an interior lighting system, traditional lamps and ballasts are usually replaced with more efficient ones, and an automatic lighting control system may be additional to the new lighting. In HVAC systems, traditionally oversized elements, such as chillers and air dispensing fans are downsized, consequently reducing their energy usage. By hiring an energy efficiency consultant and taking a methodic approach to energy efficiency, many companies realize a 50 percent or more reduction in their annual utility bill.

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