Energy Efficiency Doesn’t End with Boilers and Windows
Over the years, I have asked dozens of facility managers some version of the question “Have you implemented any energy-saving projects in recent years?” Many times the answer goes something like “We just replaced our boilers and windows. We’re all set with energy efficiency.” Whoa!
Replacing the worst windows imaginable, single pane and “loose fitting” as defined by ASHRAE, with double pane insulated “tight fitting” windows, may scrape up 5% energy savings – at a very high capital cost. Typically, boilers are replaced with similar boilers of the same capacity. Old boilers are not wasteful if maintained properly. See Energy Brief #1: Boiler Misconceptions.
What about the invisible? The invisible can make your operating budget suffer like an invisible flu virus can make you suffer. The invisible includes equipment behind close doors, above ceiling tiles, or burned on a computer hard drive. The table provides some examples.
Any one of these items can waste as much as the new windows are saving. Combined, deficiencies like these can cost owners an extra 20-30% annually. Feeling the chill and aches coming on? Unlike flu that strikes only 5-20% of Americans in a given year, there probably isn’t a building standing that doesn’t have many similar wastes.
These are the kinds of wastes that typically persist indefinitely unless a thorough investigation via retrocommissioning is conducted. Relatively speaking, the cost for such an investigation and analysis is almost always less than one year’s wasted energy expenditures.