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Energy Efficiency

Need help with your energy efficiency/ energy conservation plan? Use the list items below for ideas. Additionally, check our VISE website for more information about renewable energy, alternative fuels, and financial incentives. Consider LED (holiday) lighting this season. Cut your holiday electricity use with LED holiday lights instead of incandescent lights. LED lights may cost more, but they last longer, use less energy, and are less likely to break. 

DISCLAIMER: References and links to commercial products or services do not constitute or imply an endorsement by DEQ or the Commonwealth of Virginia of such products or services, or their providers. DEQ and the Commonwealth of Virginia are not responsible for the content of external sites.

Tracking energy bills and setting goals

meterKeep monthly records of electricity and/ or vehicle fuel usage.
You can't manage what you don't measure, so before you can set a goal to reduce you energy use, you need to know how much you use. Additionally, analyzing the records on a monthly basis can assist in finding energy consumption issues. If inconsistencies are found, determine the reason and correct the issue as soon as possible.
You can use computer software to easily track you energy usage and see your progress. A free resource is ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

Have had an energy audit to identify efficiency opportunities

An audit usually includes an examination of past energy (and sometimes water) bills and an evaluation of the building envelope (windows, doors, insulation); the lighting; the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC); and other appliances to identify where and how much energy your building uses. The audit will compare the actual performance of the building's systems and equipment against their designed performance level or against the best available systems and equipment.
An audit will identify where your building is inefficient and allow you to prioritize areas for improvement to get the most benefit for the least cost.
The VA Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) has compiled a list of building auditors from multiple sources who do business in Virginia. This list is not exhaustive, and will be updated from time-to-time. Please note: DEQ and DMME do not endorse any company so due diligence should be used in making your contractor choices. This list can be viewed at: Energy Audits

Calculate the pollution factor of our energy usage by using a pollution calculator

The amount of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, etc. emitted from the burning of fuel to generate the energy you use.
Determine the air emissions impacts of your electricity use by entering your zip code and monthly kWh (from your utility bill) at EPA's Power Profiler.

Use ENERGY STAR's Benchmarking Tools for the Hospitality Industry

ENERGY STAR’s Benchmarking tools are designed to improve energy efficiency of your facility. You can start with the “Energy Management Plan” that would help to analyze your current position and assist your facility in improving its energy and financial performance while distinguishing your organization as an environmental leader. You could assess the performance of your hotel with the “Hospitality Benchmarking Starter Kit,” participate in online training sessions, and earn Energy Star points.
Partnering with ENERGY STAR is a commitment with the financial value of your corporation as well as to the environment. 1) Reducing energy use by 10 percent across the hospitality industry would save $285 million. 2) A 10 percent reduction in energy costs is equivalent to increasing ADR by $0.83 for limited service hotels and by $2.45 for full-service hotels. Strategic energy management can reduce costs and increase guest satisfaction.
Go to ENERGY STAR’s Benchmarking tools website.

Ceiling fans

Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air-conditioning, and a temperature setting of only 3-5 degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Each degree of higher temperature can save about 3% on cooling costs. Ceiling fans can even be reversed in the winter, and on low speed will pull warmer air down from the ceiling. Businesses, like restaurants, with high heat and humidity from cooking, fans can make a huge difference in employee and customer comfort, by giving a boost to air-conditioning. When used properly, ceiling fans can save you money in utility bills in both the winter and summer months.
Products and vendors:
ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans use improved motors and blade designs; you can dramatically increase your savings with ENERGY STAR qualified ceiling fans.

Have a geothermal heat pump and/or water heating

Geothermal heat pumps are similar to ordinary heat pumps, but use the ground instead of outside air to provide heating, air conditioning and, in most cases, hot water.
Because they use the earth's natural heat, they are among the most efficient and comfortable heating and cooling technologies currently available. ENERGY STAR qualified geothermal heat pumps use about 30% less energy than a standard heat pump and they are quieter than conventional systems as they don't require the outdoor condenser (fan) unit.

Use natural lighting

Have you ever walked in to a sunny room and seen all the lights on when they were not needed? Often the amount of light coming through a window or skylight is sufficient, and artificial light is not needed. 'Use natural lighting' means having a policy of not using artificial lights during daylight hours (unless needed for comfort or safety). This can be accomplished through behavioral changes or through the use of daylight sensors (see item below).
The quantity and quality of light around us determine how well we see, work, and play. Light affects our health, safety, morale, comfort, and productivity. You can save energy while still maintaining good light quantity and quality.

Use lighting sensors to turn on/off lights

Sensors detect the amount of natural light and dim or turn off artificial lights when not needed.
By using dimmer switches to control light output to only the amount needed, electricity consumption can be reduced.

Use occupancy sensors to turn on/off lights

Occupancy sensors automatically turn lights on when someone enters a room and/ or automatically turn lights off in unoccupied spaces.
Occupancy sensors can reduce energy waste by as much as 68% and increase energy savings by as much as 60%, according to a new study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
fluorescent bulbs

Have installed high efficiency fluorescent ballasts and lamps (T5 and T8)

Take a look at the tubes (lamps) in your overhead fluorescent lights. If the tubes are an inch and a half wide, they are older T12 lamps. T8 lamps are 1 inch wide and use 35% to 43% less energy than T12s!
T8s can usually be used in the same fixtures as T12s.

Have installed high efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs in all rooms and in canned lighting

A compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) uses the same technology as the long tube lamps (see above) but are much smaller and are made to fit in screw-type lamp fixtures such as found in table lamps, floor lamps, and some recessed (canned) lights.
Compared to incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps generally use 75% less power and last 10 times longer. Although they may be more expensive to purchase than incandescent bulbs, because they use less electricity and last longer they will save you money over their lifetime - about $30 per CFL! CFLs come in a range of 'colors' of light, from warm, soft white (like traditional incandescent) to bright white (daylight) and some are made for special applications such as three-way, dimmable, and with a reflector for recessed lighting.
Buyers Guide; How CFLs Work; Recycling and Mercury

LED Exit Signs

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) emit visible light when electricity is applied, much like a light bulb, but they do not use a filament such as found in the standard light bulb.
LEDs present many advantages over traditional light sources including lower energy consumption, longer life, lower toxicity and smaller size. All exit signs manufactured on or after January 1, 2006 must have an input power demand of 5 watts or less per face.

Use directional (downward-facing) lighting in parking areas and other outdoor areas

Outdoor directional lighting is designed to focus light down where it is needed for safety and security, instead of shining light in all directions.
Directional lighting helps to combat light pollution which is harmful to many types of wildlife.

Have adopted a policy/practice to minimize the use of lighting during night cleaning

If custodial cleaning and maintenance done during the day then building systems can be turned down sooner at night. This way, cleaning is done while building systems are up and running for tenants and occupants.
Your custodial staff can also serve as an asset when it comes to energy management: Ask members to check out office equipment as they travel from floor to floor, and to turn off equipment that was accidentally left on.

Use ENERGY STAR qualified commercial food service equipment

Commercial food service products in these eight categories may earn the ENERGY STAR: fryers, hot food holding cabinets, commercial refrigerators and freezers, and commercial steam cookers, commercial dishwashers, commercial ice makers, commercial griddles and commercial ovens.
Qualified products can save up to as much as 50 percent over their conventional counterparts. Outfitting an entire kitchen with a suite of ENERGY STAR Qualified Commercial Food Service Equipment could save operators about 350 Mbtu/year annually, or the equivalent of approximately $3600. Besides saving energy, ENERGY STAR qualified steam cookers and commercial dishwashers save water. Steam cookers that have earned the ENERGY STAR are 90% more water efficient than non-qualified steam cookers; an ENERGY STAR qualified commercial dishwasher is 25% more water efficient than standard models.
Products and vendors:
ENERGY STAR's Commercial Food Service Equipment webpage

Use ENERGY STAR qualified office equipment

Office equipment that is ENERGY STAR qualified uses less energy when in use and automatically enters a low-power mode when not in use. These types of equipment can earn the ENERGY STAR: computers, copiers and fax machines, digital duplicators, enterprise servers, external power adapters, mailing machines, monitors, printers, scanners, 'all-in-ones,' and water coolers.
ENERGY STAR specifications promise significant energy savings. In addition to reducing power use for the products themselves, the new specifications also set additional requirements for accessories.
Products and vendors:
list of ENERGY STAR qualified office equipment; list of retailers that sell ENERGY STAR products

Have adopted a policy/practice to turn off fans, computers, monitors and other devices in unoccupied rooms at the end of the workday or when otherwise not being used

Behavioral change as well as equipment upgrades can save energy.
No capital costs! Just establish a policy and educate your employees.

Have joined ENERGY STAR’s Low Carbon IT Challenge

The ENERGY STAR Low Carbon IT Campaign is a nationwide effort to assist and recognize organizations for reducing the energy consumed by their computers and monitors.
Saving energy reduces air pollution associated with the burning of fossil fuels, and ultimately lowers the risk of global warming.
EPA's Low Carbon IT website

Use alternative fuel, hybrid-electric, or electric vehicles

Any vehicle that runs on ethanol, biodiesel, natural gas, propane, or is a hybrid-electric or electric vehicle.
Using these types of vehicles reduces the amount of fossil fuels (gasoline and diesel) burned, which in turn reduces air pollution.
Resources: US DOE Alternative Fuels Center

Generate electricity from photovoltaic solar panels

Photovoltaic cells convert light energy into electrical energy (direct current).
PV has numerous environmental benefits: it is silent, it does not produce air pollution or hazardous waste, and does not require fuels to be extracted, transported, and burned. Additionally, as a domestic source of electricity, it contributes to the nation's energy security, and as a relatively young, high-tech industry, it helps to create jobs and strengthen the economy.
US DOE Solar Electric Systems

Have installed a solar water heating system

Solar water heaters use the sun to heat water or a heat-transfer fluid in the collector. Heated water is then held in the storage tank ready for use, with a conventional system providing additional heating as necessary.
Using solar thermal energy to heat water or is cost effective. A typical residential sized solar water-heating system reduces the need for conventional water heating by about two-thirds, and a large commercial or industrial facility may be able to reduce its convention water heating by 40%. Solar water heating minimizes the expense of electricity or fossil fuel to heat the water and reduces the associated environmental impacts.
US DOE Solar Energy Technologies Program - Solar Water Heating

Generate electricity from a wind turbine

A wind energy system transforms the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical or electrical energy that can be harnessed for practical use.
Wind energy system operations do not generate air or water emissions and do not produce hazardous waste. Nor do they deplete natural resources such as coal, oil, or gas, or cause environmental damage through resource extraction and transportation, or require significant amounts of water during operation.

Purchase Green Tags or Renewable Energy Certificates

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), also known as Green tags, are tradable environmental commodities which represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. RECs represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects and can be sold separately from the physical electricity. Customers can buy RECs without having to switch electricity suppliers.
Purchasing RECs or Green Tags supports the development of renewable energy and is one way to purchase 'green power.'

Purchase Green Power

Green power is electricity produced from a subset of renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro.
Products and vendors:
Green Power Products

Are an EPA Green Power Partner

The Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that supports the organizational procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources.
Partnering with EPA can help your organization lower the transaction costs of buying green power, reduce its carbon footprint, and communicate its leadership to key stakeholders.
Visit the Green Power Partnership .

Earned the ENERGY STAR label for our building

An ENERGY STAR qualified facility meets strict energy performance standards set by EPA and uses less energy, is less expensive to operate, and causes fewer greenhouse gas emissions than its peers.
Energy use in commercial buildings and manufacturing plants accounts for nearly half of all energy consumption in the U.S. at a cost of over $200 billion per year, more than any other sector of the economy. Commercial and industrial facilities are also responsible for nearly half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming.
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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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