Heating can be a very expensive operational cost.
In fact, it can account for up to 60% of a building’s energy costs. Most companies have large heating bills as they over-heat their offices or have inefficient processes to heat spaces.
In this article we discuss 5 easy tips that a company can take to reduce its gas bill and save on your electric bill.
Personal heaters are an inefficient way of heating an area and are typically quite costly to run.
To reduce your energy bills you can look at minimising the use of personal heaters or maximising the efficiency of the devices you do use.
To improve the efficiency you can ensure that individual heaters are not left on unnecessarily, adjust the temperature thermostat and timers accordingly, and position individual heaters to benefit several people at a time.
To avoid over-heating you need to ensure that you maintain optimum temperature and timing settings.
In terms of temperature control, you should make sure your heating system does not operate above 20 degree C, as well as avoid simultaneous heating and cooling (i.e. ensure there is a sufficient gap between the heating and cooling temperature settings of at least 4 degree C).
Moreover, you should avoid heating the space when unoccupied (e.g. during evenings and weekends). By setting simple timer controls you can also reduce your heating bill.
Rule of thumb for timer controls is to allow adequate pre-heat time to let the building reach set temperature just before occupancy.
You can use seven day timers to allow for variable occupancy levels throughout the week. Make sure to set thermostats carefully – ensure they are situated away from draughts, direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators and office equipment
Utilising more efficient heating technology can really help reduce your energy bills. From a gas heating perspective you can look at the following solutions:
1) Replacing old boilers (>12 yrs old) with condensing boilers
2) Ensure boilers are properly maintained and serviced by a qualified engineer at least once a year – a poorly maintained boiler can use over 10% more energy than a boiler in good condition
3) In conventional radiators, excess air stops radiators from warming up. Bleed them once a year to expel excess air.
4) Fit Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) – useful for maintaining consistent comfortable temperatures in areas suffering from under or over-heating. (Note: they should not be used as on-off switches. Avoid using the max-min settings)
5) In convector radiators, cleaning internal filters and external grilles bi-monthly will ensure a good air flow. You should also bleed air from the heater element
6) Ensure all pipes and connectors are adequately insulated.
Other useful heating technologies include Optimum Start controls which automatically adjust heating start up times based on outside air temperatures, as well as air source heat pumps which absorb heat from the outside air. This heat can then be used to warm water for radiators or under floor heating systems, or to warm the air in your office.
Surplus heating is usually due to heat loss through poorly draught-proofed doors and windows – around 25% of a building’s heat is typically lost through windows and doors.
To avoid surplus heating you can draught proof all gaps around doors and windows, ensure all doors between zoned heating areas are kept closed, ensure windows are kept closed during cold weather, and install trickle vents in the window frame for background ventilation if required
In offices that are relatively big you should ensure zoned areas are set up to satisfy individual heating requirements. This will entail reconfiguring the placement of all heating units within each zone, as well as improving heating controls within each zone area. Once reconfigured you should ensure heat settings meet the requirements of each zone’s occupancy profiles.
A good idea is to conduct a survey of temperature profiles in different zones to better understand requirements, or place thermometers in each zone to monitor whether preferred temperatures are being maintained.
To maximise heat distribution within each zone you can fit radiator heat distributors (RHD) – a device that maximizes heat output by speeding up heat distribution and minimizing heat loss through walls.
Reducing your gas bills is good for your bottom line and good for the environment.
The these top 5 tips to reduce your gas bill are all relatively low cost and have paybacks within 12-18 months. If you think that your heating costs are too high I would recommend exploring some of the tips above.
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