There is no way we can avoid heating costs 100%, but there are plenty of things we can do to minimise them and run our heating systems efficiently. We certainly do this at home, and commercial buildings require a lot more management in terms of their heating requirements than domestic properties.
Commercial buildings are typically much bigger than domestic properties and often have multiple heating systems servicing them. There are also more people to keep warm and comfortable, each carrying out a different task or activity in different conditions. Finally, there are different annexes to commercial buildings which can include offices (both small and open plan), kitchens, workshops, showrooms, warehouses and climate-controlled IT server rooms.
Of course there are always practical ways to save money and improve the organisation’s environmental impact, and such utility management also creates a mindset and teaches discipline that can spread positively into many other areas of the company’s business.
An air conditioning system is the most efficient way to create a stable all-year-round temperature, because you are not trying to achieve quick peaks in temperature when people feel cold, the climate is comfortable all the time. But many commercial buildings still operate on separate central heating systems, and as the nights draw in and we start to assess our heating requirements for the long winter months ahead, here are some tips on running your commercial heating systems efficiently.
1) Understand your heating system and how it works, including the location of all thermostats and how the programmable timers operate.
2) Have you got the right heating system(s) for the size of your property and its individual rooms?
3) Check for draughts throughout the building. 15% of energy lost is through gaps in windows and doors.
4) Not every area or room in a commercial building has the same temperature requirements, there are differences in occupancy and of course room size. Getting the climate right in each room is vital and increases morale and productivity, but you can use timers to ensure rooms are only heated when they need to be, and you are not wasting money heating a room only used infrequently and for only a few seconds at a time.
5) Use thermostatic controls to find the right temperature level and avoid having all radiators on full blast. Just shaving a few degrees off the temperature can save a lot of money on an annual basis. Thermostats should also be positioned carefully, ie. not directly next to doors or windows, so that the temperatures they are measuring are a true example of the actual indoor climate.
6) Make sure you service your boiler at least annually in order that it runs more efficiently and lasts longer.
7) Insulate pipework on hot water systems so that hot air doesn’t escape, resulting in you using more energy to heat the water than you need to.
8) Don’t overheat water in hot water systems, it doesn’t have to be boiling.
9) Be clever with open plan offices, use partitions and room dividers to deflect or capture heat as required.
10) In the winter months we often get afternoon sun which quickly disappears as darkness falls, use natural light by opening blinds to make the most of the warmth that sunlight creates and then shut the blinds to retain that heat when it goes dark.
For more information on running a commercial heating system, please call us on 01423 770094.