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Five ways to reduce your office electrical consumption

Office buildings consume nearly 20% of the electrical consumption in the USA. About 50% of all the energy consumed by office buildings is for lighting (25%), space heating (13%), and space cooling (11%). Certainly energy usage for our businesses affects our bottom line. How can that change?

Faryal_OPTIFaryal Dotani of MODUS, a mechanical and electrical engineering company in Des Moines, offers five ways to reduce your electrical usage at the office.

Provide occupancy sensors which turn off the lighting when no one is present. In new buildings this is almost standard practice but can also be retrofitted to existing buildings.

Use LED fixtures and lamps. An LED lamp uses less wattage and provides more light. The lamp can also last nearly seven to eight years compared to two to three years for a fluorescent lamp.

DAY LIGHT HARVESTING reducing electrical_OPTIAdd windows or skylights to harvest the sunlight and reduce your lighting by as much as 50%. Most of the time the lights are off at MODUS.

Install photovoltaic panels and generate electricity. Faryal completed the design for the Franklin library where all the lighting during the daytime is generated by roof top panels. Although paybacks range from 15-40 years depending on the system, she says every year less expensive and better systems are on the market.

Provide demand based HVAC controls similar to occupancy sensors for lighting which turns on and off motors and fans for the heating and cooling system.

-Rob Smith

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