There are a lot of misperceptions about the best ways to save energy. As more and more building owners, homeowners and renters are looking to make their households more energy efficient, it is becoming more important to get quality information into the hands of the people doing the work.
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Air leakage, or infiltration, occurs when outside air enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Proper air sealing a building can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability, create a healthier indoor environment and increase the occupants’ comfort level.
Air Sealing and Insulation – Basement
The cost of heating and cooling indoor air accounts for a big portion of the building’s operating expenses. All buildings experience a continual exchange of air, and some air exchange is desirable. However, minimizing excessive warm air leaking into the building during summer and out of the building during winter should be a priority for any building owner. Adding insulation can slow the thermal exchange of heated/cooled air.
Air Sealing and Insulation – Roof Cavity
The cost of heating and cooling indoor air accounts for a big portion of the building’s operating expenses. All buildings experience a continual exchange of air, and some air exchange is desirable. However, minimizing excessive warm air leaking into the building during summer and out of the building during winter should be a priority for any building owner.
If you are interested in alternative energy for your house, your first step should be to learn about the different systems, their benefits, and their costs. While investing in alternative energy has many benefits, it is not – in most cases – cheaper than relying on traditional energy sources.
Alternatives To Window Replacement
Property owners typically consider replacing windows an obvious energy conservation measure and are surprised when the energy analysis does not identify this renovation as a priority. While it is true that modern window technologies such as double-pane glass promise greater energy savings, the cost of quality window replacements is significant. This means other energy conservation measures provide a much better value.
Don’t replace those old windows before you try window inserts
The costs of heating a multifamily building account for a big portion of the operating expenses, and the boiler controls are how these costs are managed. Inadequate boiler controls can cause ineffective heat distribution, inefficient boiler cycling and overheating.
Buildings that use simple timers or aquastats – rather than individual thermostats -frequently overheat living spaces, especially when the heating distribution is already uneven. Water in the boiler is often set at 180-200⁰F, which is higher than necessary for occupant comfort during most non-winter months.
Boiler Replacement and Repair
Older furnace and boiler systems had efficiencies in the range of 55%–80%, but modern conventional heating systems can achieve efficiencies as high as 97%. Unfortunately, replacing a boiler usually involves a long-term financial commitment. When deciding whether to replace the boiler, the owner should consider energy savings along with other benefits such as decreased maintenance costs and better reliability. Boilers need to be replaced not just for energy savings, but if the existing boiler no longer operates, is no longer safe, or can no longer adequately heat the building.
Boiler replacement cost guide
Boiler Room – Increase Ventilation
The combustion process creates several byproducts that are potentially hazardous to human health and can cause deterioration in your home. You can protect yourself from these hazards, as well as maintain energy efficiency, by ensuring that your chimney system functions properly and that your gas heating system is properly ventilated. In some cases, installing a sealed-combustion furnace or boiler can also help.
The cost of heating and cooling a multi-family building accounts for a big portion of the operating expenses. Any efforts to minimize heat flow out of the building in the winter and heat flow into the building during the summer can have a big impact on a building’s operation costs.
Insulation – DHW & Heating Pipes
Uninsulated DHW (Domestic Hot Water) and heating pipes frequently lose heat into unconditioned areas, increasing the heating costs for the building owner. The problem is exacerbated in basements because basements are the coldest area of a building and uninsulated pipes can lose large amounts of heat to the outside and to unoccupied areas of the building.
Insulating pipes and radiators
Home Energy Analysis
If you want to pay less to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you need to be sure that you are using energy as efficiently as possible. One way to accomplish this is to analyze your home to see where energy efficiency improvements – such as more insulation, a better furnace, or other techniques – could be effective in cutting your energy consumption. This information can be obtained through an energy analysis.
Do-it-yourself home energy audits
Hot Water Heater Retrofit & Replacement
Water heating can account for 14%–25% of the energy consumed in a building. An older water heater may be using energy inefficiently which results in an unnecessarily high heating bill. In some instances, the water heaters that buildings operate are inappropriately sized because the buildings’ occupants may demand more or less hot water. A hot water heater that is too large may be working to heat too much water, which wastes energy. A hot water heater that is too small does not meet the needs of the occupants. Finding the most efficient water heating system for a building is a crucial part of running a building efficiently.
Lighting in multifamily buildings is typically about 15% of the electric bill. High wattage bulbs and lamps and unnecessary lighting fixtures lead many building owners to spend a lot of money. For all lighting fixtures, high wattage bulbs and lamps are inefficient for effectively lighting a space. Outdated large amounts of fixtures in a small space waste energy because it is an inefficient way to deliver light to a space. Lastly, lights are used often throughout the day (or night) that isn’t necessary.
Best Practices for Lighting Retrofits
Managing Your Thermostat
Your thermostat’s temperature settings can save you money on heating and cooling costs, but confusion often arises regarding why and how this process works. Abundant misinformation has created a wide gap between the way people heat and cool their homes and the efficient way to do so. This fact sheet is intended to help bridge the informational component of that gap, and explain how to effectively use a programmable thermostat to turn the heat down or the cooling temperature up to save money and energy.
Radiator Valves & Vents
In a typical single zone multifamily building, not all apartments or spaces have the same heating requirements. As a result, some units may be too hot while others are not hot enough. These discrepancies are due to various factors including differences in distance from the boiler, exposure to sunlight and wind and the use of internal heat sources such as appliances and light fixtures. Keeping occupants in the coolest unit comfortable sometimes necessitates keeping other units hotter than necessary. This overheating may even cause occupants open windows to cool the units. The result is higher heating bills.