The environment matters and a lot of building owners are taking steps to ensure their property operates more efficiently. There are a lot of recommendations out there, but, after working in the industry for several years we’ve been able to see where the most bang for your buck exists. These are some of the simplest solutions which will help to improve your property:
Swap Out Old Lamps for LEDs
The capital cost of LED technology is decreasing, it hasn’t quite hit the price of traditional incandescent or fluorescent lamps but it’s getting better. Re-lamping your building with LED bulbs is perhaps one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to reduce your impact on the environment and the operational costs of your buildings. The cost savings come not just from the energy reduction but also from the man hours saved on paying someone to go around once a month to replace bulbs.
If you want to take it one step further there are retrofit kits for fixtures to make them even more efficient. In a recent project we installed a Philips LED kit for the pot lights in an 80 year old building. Not only did it clean up the look but the performance and heat improvements were immediately noticeable.
Check Your Mechanical Unit Filters
Seriously, this is a mistake we see all the time. Mechanical units can only put out as much air as the filter medium will let them. We’ve seen so many occurrences of building owners complaining that an area is cold only to go in and find out the filter hasn’t been changed in years and the unit is only performing at 30% of its capacity because of it.
Implement a filter replacement program on all of your units and replace them atleast once a year. Consider high performance filters. These things protect your mechanical units from damage so it’s best to keep them in good condition.
Caulking, Caulking, Caulking
For those of you that have heard the mantra, caulking fixes everything. While it’s far from the truth caulking can help to seal a building envelope. If your building is aging it may be best to hire a building envelope consultant (more on that later) and implement a face sealing program as a short term solution.
If your concerned with drafts in your small commercial building or house, caulking can help. Consider renting a thermal camera (get a good one it’s worth it) and do a scan on your house. If a window is leaking you’ll be able to see it right away and fix the problem.
This is a bit of an open ended suggestion but retrofitting your building with new components may pay themselves off. Things get old and wear out over time just like we do! Retrofitting can come in many different shapes and sizes, below are just a few suggestions for you:
- Roof replacement – upgrade the insulation and the roof membrane if leaks are occurring
- Mechanical Unit Upgrade – have someone come in and replace the belts and bearings in the motors, this may help them to operate at their original efficiency. If that fails replace the motors and internal guts or replace the unit in it’s entirety.
- Seal Ductwork – ductwork leakage has been said to be cause for 15-20% of air leakage in buildings, consider hiring someone to seal ductwork in your ceilings.
- Window Replacement – many companies are starting to specialize in glazed unit replacements, if your windows are single pane consider upgrading them to an IGU (hint this cab be done nowadays without replacing the frame itself).
Hire a Professional
There are people that do this work for a living (trained professionals). Consider hiring an envelope consultant to make recommendations on your building and perform a building assessment. Likewise for mechanical and electrical systems.
Make sure you check out their fee structure, we’d recommend paying a flat fee rather then percentage of the work, this way the consultant is not incentivized to choose the most expensive repairs.
Be open, let them understand your budget and the report and recommendations that come out of it may be tailored towards your budget. To be wary though, bringing a professional in to review your building may give you bad news so don’t be surprised if their recommendation includes replacement of all of your failing windows!
We here at constrctr can also provide you with some advice, feel free to reach out to us below or via our contact us form with any issues you have!
Have an improvement we haven’t mentioned above? Feel free to share below or in our discussion forums.