Tips: Top 10 Ways for Commercial Buildings to Save Energy

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International recently released its top 10 ways for building owners and managers to reduce energy consumption. The no or low-cost strategies that made the list are part of the nationally recognized BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP) that offers commercial real estate professionals strategies to reduce energy consumption by as much as 30 percent.

"The built environment accounts for 48 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in this country," said BOMA International Chief Elected Officer Kurt R. Padavano, who also is chief operating officer of Advance Realty Group of Bedminster, N.J. "The good news is that there are many low- and even no-cost strategies that are proven to save energy and reduce emissions, and they are easy to implement and have the added benefit of often reducing building operation costs."

BOMA Top 10 Energy Efficient Strategies

1. Check that Equipment Is Functioning as Designed

Regularly inspect all equipment and controls to ensure they are functioning as designed. Double-check energy management system (EMS) programming to make sure that operations are optimized. One firm corrected an EMS software programming error from "And" to "Or" and saved $3,700 annually.

2. Consider Your Cleaning Options

Team Cleaning -- Janitors go through the building as a team floor by floor, and the lighting is turned on/off as they progress through the building.

Occupancy Sensors -- Install motion sensors that will turn lights on when janitors are cleaning and automatically turn them off when the floor is vacant.

Coordinate -- Have janitors coordinate with the security crew to walk through the building and turn off equipment that was inadvertently left on by tenants.

Day Cleaning -- Why not have the janitors clean during the day while the lights are already on?

3. Encourage Tenants to Turn Off Equipment

During off hours, make sure to power down everything, such as copiers, kitchen equipment and task lights. Use cleaning/security personnel to turn off miscellaneous items such as coffee pots, kitchen equipment and individual office lights.

4. Use High-efficiency LED (light-emitting diode) Exit Signs

Replace inefficient exits signs with high efficiency LED exit signs. LED exit signs operate 24 hours a day and have lower maintenance costs due to their extended life.

5. Institute an Energy Awareness Program

Tell everyone about your commitment to energy savings. Use your company newsletter and company/building announcements to keep tenants informed about your energy savings goals and how they can both help and benefit.

6. Install Monitor Power Management Software

In U.S. companies alone, more than $1 billion a year is wasted on electricity for computer monitors that are left on when they shouldn't be. Avoid those wastes by installing power management software for computers.

7. Change Incandescents to Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) and High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lights

CFL lights use less energy, have a longer lamp life, and produce less heat, thereby reducing heat load. Also, check the lighting in restrooms, closets, server rooms and some common areas. Thanks to the 2005 Energy Bill, lighting retrofits and upgrades that meet energy efficiency requirements may be tax deductible.

8. Harvest Daylight

Locate workstations requiring high illumination adjacent to windows.

9. Evaluate After-hours Usage

Talk to the tenants to learn if they are actually using their space during the lease-required operating hours. Adjust building operating hours to reflect actual tenant usage.

10. Adjust Ventilation

Reduce exhaust and outdoor-air ventilation rates within codes. Take a look at the fans and adjust ventilation in unoccupied and low-density areas to reduce the ventilation to a practical, yet comfortable level.

For additional resources on sustainable practices for commercial real estate professionals, visit The G.R.E.E.N. (The Green Resource Energy and Environment Network) at

This article originally appeared in the 04/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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