Energy Awareness Program
Getting Started With Energy Awareness
Energy Awareness is a learned understanding about energy issues in a building and how these issues can be better managed. Successful Energy Awareness plans provide for staff and occupant education that reinforces the overall Energy Plan of an organization.
To be energy aware you need to understand the impact of plug loads, lighting and the mechanical services that support the building environment. Lighting is on or off – clearly obvious. Not so obvious is the impact of plug loads such as computers, monitors, and printers. And still less obvious are the silent loads supplying power for speakers, routers, telephones and chargers.
Energy Awareness in Buildings
For most buildings, effective energy conservation means effective energy management of plug, lighting and environmental support equipment. And although some components of Energy Awareness, such as lighting, are obvious, most are not. You can hear a fan motor above the ceiling but not recognize that it may be a significant energy consumer. Should it be running? What conditions cause it to run? These are the type of operating issues that are seldom understood.
A separate world of equipment exists above the ceiling. Terminal air supply equipment, like variable air volume boxes (VAV), consumes energy throughout the year. But what drives the rate of energy consumption from summer to winter? What impact does the thermostat setting have on energy consumption throughout the year? Is it important to set the thermostat to a constant temperature summer and winter? What about radiation effects with windows and cold walls? Energy Awareness provides answers to everyday questions involving the complexities of energy use.
Energy Awareness as a Process
Energy Awareness is also a process, one that not only identifies equipment, but also the methods of operation. Through Energy Awareness, people are trained to understand operating schedules and the impact adjusting these schedules has on building energy consumption. Through Energy Awareness we understand that room air supply can vary by season of the year and what impact that has on energy consumption. And we also have an opportunity to better understand drafty conditions and how to reduce them along with the need for space heaters.
Energy Awareness for buildings involves engaging tenants, employees, and/or students within the Energy Plan. From very basic methods for energy conservation, such as installing light-level and/or motion-sensing controls, to recommending computer users power machines off – or at least go to the hibernate mode – at the end of the day. For some building users, group competitions are an effective way to reduce energy use as part of an energy education program.
Energy Awareness and the Energy Plan
Energy Awareness is supported by the Energy Plan through specific operating policies. Building occupants and support staff have a best-practices handbook to work from for their particular building. Energy Awareness sets building environmental expectations such as temperature, humidity, and run time. And it goes beyond simple expectations and reaches into the core of the equipment supporting the environment. An effective plan has specific operating policies for each and every item of equipment and explains the impact of these policies as part of Energy Awareness.
An effective Energy Plan uses Energy Awareness to build on the knowledge of skilled professionals dedicated to reducing building energy. This knowledge, paired with informed and engaged building staff and occupants, is a source of sustainable energy conservation for years to come.