Temporary Closure & Cost Saving Strategies

In many cases, you can save as much as 30-40% in utility expenses by simply adjusting normal operating schedules to holiday mode.  It is important however, to document normal operational settings before making any adjustments, and to have a plan in place to return these settings a few days before staff returns to work to ensure comfort, air quality and that equipment is functioning as intended. Below are some tips that may be helpful as you are thinking about how to save on operating costs during temporary closures.

*It is also important to note that some critical equipment should remain protected in your temporary shutdown plan, such as IT equipment and areas that require sufficient ventilation to maintain air quality.

  1. Buildings w/Building Automation Systems – change “occupied” periods to “unoccupied” schedule.
  2. Buildings w/Programmable Thermostats – adjust daily and/or setback temperatures to unoccupied settings
  3. Important considerations for altering HVAC schedules:
    • You may want to consult your HVAC technician to determine the appropriate temperature setpoints for your specific HVAC equipment and building type/usage.
    • Be sure to maintain relative humidity to limit potential mold growth.
    • Ensure equipment setting for IT equipment is operating as required to protect it.
  4. Reduce outside air flow to non-occupied cfm, which is the minimum your building requires to maintain air quality (and have plans to return to normal schedule a few days before building is re-occupied).
    • Some spaces that house odor-producing products, such as janitor’s closets, may always require some ventilation
  5. Turn off all lighting, except that which is essential for egress and security.
  6. Turn off non-essential exhaust fans; such as kitchen exhaust hood ventilation, bathroom exhaust and parking garage exhaust.
  7. Reduce heating water supply temperatures.
  8. Remove “phantom” and unnecessary plug loads, those not needed during temporary closure; such as coffee pots, strip heaters, chargers and monitors.

Other Cost Savings Opportunities

This could be a good time to quality check equipment, implement upgrades, and address needed repairs, such as:

  • Replace HVAC filtration – consider increasing to MERV 13 or higher (if equipment allows)
  • Check exhaust dampers and VAV’s to ensure they are operating properly
  • Check that airside economizer controls are properly functioning
  • Add airside economizers to equipment and take advantage of “free cooling” during optimal outside air temperatures (look for potential rebates from your utility provider and PACE)
  • Upgrade all high energy-using lighting to reduce costs and improve quality of light; such as T-12 Fluorescent, Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium (look for potential rebates from your utility provider and PACE)
  • Check kitchen, breakroom and bathroom faucets for leaks
  • Check toilets to ensure they are not running continuously