A senior consultant, Kendra Tupper, with the Rocky Mountain Institute conducted an online chat at Greenopolis.org today. When asked about energy efficiency, Tupper, an expert on the subject, listed simple things both renters and homeowners can do. Here are Tupper’s recommendations:
- Tenant Fit Out: When you are first fitting out a space, the renter or tenant can choose materials and finishes which are environmentally friendly and have low embodied energy.
- Lighting: One of the biggest electricity consumers in office spaces is lighting - this is something the tenants can often retrofit themselves. Look for third generation T8, efficient electronic ballasts, and occupancy sensors and daylight controls (where applicable).
- Submetering: Request that your space be submetered (this is most successful if negotiated during the fit out). Even if the tenant has to pay for this, you can often recoup the cost if your able to negotiate utlity billing based on submetering, rather than building wide metering. With this scenario, you realize the cost paybacks of your retrofits.
- Cooperate with landlord: Offer to share the up front cost (and utility savings) with your landlord. Lease renogiations are a good time to address collaborative projects, and you can structure the lease to align incentives to make efficiency upgrades.
- Programmable thermostats
- Energy efficient window shades - thermal or insulated window coverings can add up to R6 to your windows
- Seal ductwork with mastic tape to prevent leakage
- Weatherstripping, window caulking, and foam barriers behind electric outlet plates to prevent infiltration
- Clean refrigerator coils - these should be cleaned twice a year as dust build up prevents the condenser from operating
- Shade the condensing unit of your AC unit - this maintains a low temp for the condensing unit and it will run more efficiently
- Insulate hot water tank and pipes
- Lower the temperature on your DHW tank to reduce heat loss - it shouldn't be set higher than 110F
- Plant deciduous trees on the west and south side of the house to block solar heat gain
- Turn off power strips when plug loads are not being used