WASHINGTON, D.C. — A highly competitive business environment, coupled with roiling oil and natural gas prices, demands that building and business decision-makers achieve the lowest possible energy costs. Energy services cost commercial businesses about $100 billion a year, an average of about $1.50 per square foot of commercial floor space. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has launched an "Online Guide to Energy-Efficient Commercial Equipment" to help businesses invest wisely to control costs by reducing consumption through efficiency, and to protect the environment while doing so.
"By cataloging the continuous wave of new equipment aimed at making commercial buildings more efficient," said Harvey Sachs, ACEEE's Buildings Program Director, "we developed an online resource that can stay abreast of all of the new developments coming to market." He added, "We plan to update the information periodically and to provide other enhancements in order to make life easier for commercial equipment decision-makers who are overloaded with information and competing claims about performance."
The "Online Guide to Energy-Efficient Commercial Equipment" addresses critical needs in three areas common to commercial buildings: lighting; heating, air conditioning, and ventilating systems; and energy-efficient motors.
Lighting accounts for more than 40% of commercial sector electricity consumption in the United States. Its by-product, heat, has a great effect on air-conditioning loads. Best practice lighting provides equal or greater lighting quality while cutting energy use by up to 50%—even for buildings with fluorescent lamps throughout. Side benefits include improved building appearance and aesthetics, and also increased building asset value (for both owner-occupied and owner-leased revenue-producing space).
Heating, air-conditioning, and ventilating systems have improved due to remarkable advances in the past decade. For small buildings, performance far better than building code requirements is widely available, often with integrated ventilation and "economizer" sections that improve air quality and control costs. For larger systems, the equipment is better-and there is also much more awareness of how to minimize "parasitic" loads like air handlers.
- Energy-efficient motors to handle building needs are much more easily chosen now because of new programs to certify premium motor performance.
In addition, office equipment, packaged refrigeration, ice-makers, and even distribution transformers are available that work reliably while saving money. All are included in the "Online Guide to Energy-Efficient Commercial Equipment," which can be viewed at http://aceee.org/buildings/coml_equp/index.htm.