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Eco-Friendly Commercial Buildings | 4 Ways To Conserve Energy

Ceiling with bright lights in a modern warehouse, shopping center building, office or other commercial real estate object. Directional LED lights on rails under the ceiling. Tinted.

There’s a common misconception that sustainability comes with an additional cost, but for businesses and developers shifting towards an eco-friendly strategy, the long-term cost savings and benefits are worth the upfront investment. This especially applies to the commercial electrical industry.

One of the top ways a business can invest in its future is to look for ways to minimize the amount of electricity it consumes. Taking an energy-efficient approach to outfitting your business can sometimes save business owners thousands of dollars a year.

The term “eco-friendly” might mean something different depending on who you ask. Overall, making eco-friendly choices is about doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint and to protect the environment by adopting a no-waste attitude. This might look like conserving energy by installing motion-sensored lighting, recycling certain materials that your business uses every day, using sustainable ingredients in your product development and so much more.

If you’re looking for ways to conserve energy in a large commercial building, it’s important to work with a specialized, dependable and experienced team of commercial electricians like Hawkeye Electric. Our goal with every project is to identify and understand your needs so we can develop a comprehensive plan that exceeds your expectations. One of the most common questions we hear from building owners is how they can conserve energy.

Ways to Conserve Energy

When it comes to conserving energy, we believe two things can be true: your building can be configured with sustainability in mind and you can be a good steward of your financial resources. The pinnacle of conserving energy is not using more energy than you need.

1) Energy-Efficiency Equipment

If you want to start conserving energy, the first step is to audit your energy use with a professional commercial electrician. You’ll walk the building with the electrician and talk about each area of the electrical footprint from top to bottom. This is helpful in understanding your needs so an electrician can determine the right energy-efficient plan for you.

Large equipment and/or appliances may be the culprit for excess energy consumption. Outdated machinery and equipment could be working harder to function properly and therefore using more energy. Making sure equipment is turned off when not in use sounds simple, but is easier said than done. An Electrical Contractor will be able to audit your energy waste from large equipment and determine areas of improvement throughout your building.

Another way to ensure your equipment is energy-efficient is by encouraging digital correspondence and data. This will cut down on energy emittance from large printers, which can put a huge dent in your electrical consumption.

Look for some of these ways to pivot towards energy-efficiency equipment:

  • Upgrade old/outdated equipment
  • Install energy efficient thermostats
  • Switch to digital correspondence
  • Turn off large appliance when not in use (install automatic “off” feature if possible)

After your commercial electrician completes the audit, you can implement an energy-saving plan. While you may not choose to perform every recommended upgrade immediately, you’ll have a strategic plan for the future of your business and its carbon footprint.

2) Motion Sensored Lighting

Tenants of a commercial building enjoy the perks of a beautifully lit space. For commercial building owners, creating an attractive and comfortable environment is part of the job. One eco-friendly feature that can help cut down on energy consumption is to install motion sensors that will detect when people are actively in the building.

Most commonly used in office settings, motion sensors are ideal for businesses with offices and meeting spaces. If the sensor detects that there hasn’t been any motion for a certain amount of time, the lights will be automatically shut off. Rather than relying on people to turn off the lights when they’re done with a meeting, this feature does it for you.

3) LED Bulbs

Speaking of lighting, if you’re not installing LED bulbs, that should be the first thing you do if you’re wanting to lean into more eco-friendly choices. Fluorescent lighting is a classic sign of an outdated building. What comes with an outdated building is usually high energy consumption and high costs to run the building. Just like outdated equipment, outdated fluorescent lights use substantially more power than their modern counterpart.

LED lighting should always be the first choice for commercial buildings going forward. At Hawkeye, we truly believe LED bulbs are the way of the future and can make a significant dent in your eco-friendly savings. Additionally, LED lights offer a more attractively lit office environment, which will make workers and visitors more comfortable and productive.

Upgrading to LED bulbs has many benefits including cost savings and reduced maintenance as they have a much longer life. Because LED bulbs require much less energy, they last longer and cost less. Another bonus is that they can be used on exterior lighting as well. Even parking structures can benefit from an LED lighting upgrade. Given the cost of lighting and maintaining a commercial environment, upgrading the exterior alone is even a great first step towards sustainability.

Sometimes it’s an easy upgrade, but it might be necessary to redo the wiring system before upgrading to LED bulbs. A professional commercial electrician can make that determination and work with you to make a plan for this kind of upgrade. It’s not a good idea to simply change the bulbs on your own. Installing without assessing the wiring first could pose an electric fire threat or worse.

4) Natural Lighting

Oftentimes we forget to rely on natural resources as an alternative to artificial ones. Natural lighting is a great example. With floor-to-ceiling windows and an open environment, an office building can sometimes be naturally lit during peak working hours. This isn’t to say that all the overhead lights have to go off, but using that natural light as a supplement is a great way to cut down on energy use during the day.

Natural lighting also has mood-boosting and health benefits, so it’s a win-win. When possible, using natural light to your advantage can cut down significantly on your energy use. Working with a commercial electrician is an excellent way to use natural light to your benefit when installing lighting. Contractors have a trained eye to notice opportunities to use natural lighting in combination with professional lighting in order to cut down on energy consumption.

Culture of Sustainability

When running an eco-friendly building, creating a culture of sustainability will help give you the momentum you need. Sustainability should drive innovation and decision making in your business, which will motivate your team to hopefully adopt this way of thinking. When everyone’s working together towards a common goal, it’s much easier to achieve. Conserving energy is an ongoing commitment that requires steadfast dedication to technology changes and new innovations that might come on the market.

Prioritizing new technology and implementing sustainable practices includes a certain frugality that may need to be learned. Educating your team on why sustainability is important for you—and for everyone—will give them a better reason to connect to the eco-friendly lifestyle. Even identifying ways that your business can safely reuse or repurpose products can help build your culture of sustainability.

If you’re looking to partner with a commercial electric company with a passion for sustainability and industry best practices, give us a call at Hawkeye Electric today—we would love to be the team to get the job done.