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Indoor Lighting Tips

  • Turn lights off in any space or room you are not using and consider installing occupancy sensors timers, photo cells, or timers to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
  • Use focused lighting; instead of lighting an entire room, focus the light in the space where you need it, only when you need it.
  • Consider three-way lamps. They make it easier to keep lighting levels low when bright light is not necessary.
  • Use high-efficiency fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for larger areas fluorescent ballasts/bulbs have become 25% more efficient tin the last 3 years
  • Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFL)

  • Newer compact fluorescent bulbs are four times more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and provide the same lighting. Consider the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some enclosed fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger CFLs.
  • Consider buying dedicated compact fluorescent fixtures with built-in ballasts that use pin-based replacement bulbs.
  • For spot lighting, use CFLs with reflectors. The lamps can range in wattage from 13-watt to 32-watt and will provide a very directed light using a reflector and lens system.
  • Let as much daylight in as possible by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows. Also, if you decorate with lighter colors, then it will help to reflect more daylight.
  • If you have any halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent lamps. Compact fluorescent lamps use 60% to 80% less energy and can produce more light (lumens) than the halogen lamps.
  • Outdoor Lighting Tips

  • Use outdoor lights with a timer or photocell unit so they will turn off during the day.
  • Don't use decorative outdoor gas lamps. Just eight gas lamps, burning year round, use as much natural gas as it takes to heat an average-size home during an entire winter.
  • Exterior lighting is one of the best places to use CFLs because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold-weather ballast.
  • Heating and Cooling Tips

  • Keep your Summer temperatures as high as is comfortable and your Winter temperatures as cool as is comfortable.
  • Clean or replace all filters on furnaces once a month or as needed.
  • Clean all vents, warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they're not blocked by carpeting, curtains, or furniture.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Use bathroom, kitchen, and other ventilating fans wisely; in just 1 hour, these fans could pull out a roomful of warmed or cooled air. Turn vent fans off as soon as they have done the job.
  • During the heating season, keep curtains on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow sunlight to enter your office and then closed at night to reduce the chill coming from cold windows. During the cooling season, keep curtains closed during the day to prevent excess heat build-up.
  • During the heating season, make sure close any unoccupied rooms that are isolated from the rest of the building, then turn off the heating or turn down the thermostat for that room or zone. Be sure to check that it does not adversely affect the rest of your system. For example, if your office is heated with a heat pump, do not close the vents. Closing the vents could harm the heat pump.
  • Select energy-efficient equipment when you need to replace heating and cooling equipment. Contractors will be able to give you energy fact sheets for all of the different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. Look for high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings and the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The national minimums are 78% AFUE and 10 SEER.
  • Duct Tips

  • Check all of your ducts for air leaks. Look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then check for obvious holes.
  • If you have used duct tape to repair and seal your ducts, check to make sure the tape is still airtight, it tends to degrade, crack, and lose its bond with age.
  • Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of the insulation on cooling ducts to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Get a professional to help you insulate and repair all ducts

    Heat Pump Tips

  • Do not set back the heat pump's thermostat manually if it will cause the electric resistance heating to come on. This type of heating, often used as a backup to the heat pump, is more expensive to produce.
  • Clean or change filters once a month or as needed, and maintain the system according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Insulation Tips

  • Consider factors such as your climate, building design, and budget when selecting insulation.
  • Ventilation can play a large role in providing moisture control and lowering summer cooling bills. Upper level vents can be installed along the entire ceiling cavity to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit. This will help to make your building more comfortable and energy efficient.
  • Recessed light fixtures also can be a major source of heat loss, but you need to be careful how close you place insulation next to a fixture unless it is marked. If it is marked "I.C.", then it is designed for direct insulation contact. Check your local building codes for recommendations.
  • When installing insulation, always follow the product instructions for installation and wear the proper protective gear.
  • Weatherization Tips

  • First, test your office for air tightness. On a windy day, hold a lit incense stick next to your windows, doors, electrical boxes, plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets, ceiling fixtures, attic hatches, and other locations where there is a possible air path to the outside. If the smoke stream travels horizontally, you have located an air leak that may need caulking, sealing, or weatherstripping.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring penetrates through exterior walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install rubber gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on exterior walls.
  • Look for dirty spots in your insulation, which often indicate holes where air leaks into and out of your house. You can seal the holes by stapling sheets of plastic over the holes and caulking the edges of the plastic.
  • Install storm windows over single-pane windows or replace them with double-pane windows. Storm windows as much as double the R-value of single-pane windows and they can help reduce drafts, water condensation, and frost formation. As a less costly and less permanent alternative, you can use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Remember, the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Water Heating Tips

  • Repair leaky faucets promptly; a leaky faucet wastes gallons of water in a short period.
  • Insulate all electric hot-water storage tanks and pipes, but do not to cover the thermostat.
  • Insulate all gas or oil hot-water storage tanks and pipes do not to cover the water heater's top, bottom, thermostat, or burner compartment; when in doubt, get professional help.
  • Install non-aerating low-flow faucets and showerheads.
  • Replace old water heaters. While it may cost more initially than a standard water heater, the energy savings will continue during the lifetime of the appliance.
  • Although most water heaters can last 10 to 15 years, it's best to replace it sooner if yours is more than 7 years old. Doing some research before your heater fails will enable you to select one that most appropriately meets your needs.
  • Lower the thermostat on your water heater; water heaters can sometimes come from the factory with a high temperature setting out of the box, but a setting of 115 degrees F provides comfortably hot water for most uses.
  • Drain a quart of water from your water tank every 3 months to remove the sediment that impedes heat transfer and lowers the efficiency of your heater. The type of water tank you have determines the steps to take, so follow the manufacturer's advice.
  • Landscaping Tips

  • Trees that lose their leaves in the fall (i.e., deciduous) are the most effective at reducing heating and cooling energy costs. When selectively placed around a building, they provide excellent protection from the summer sun but permit winter sunlight to reach and warm your office. The height, growth rate, branch spread, and shape are all factors to consider in choosing a tree.
  • Deflect cold winter winds by planting evergreen trees and shrubs on the north and west sides of your building; then deflect summer winds by planting on the south and west sides of your building.

    Office Energy Checklist

  • Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) for desk lamps and overhead lighting. Using CFLs instead of comparable incandescent bulbs can save about 50 percent on your lighting costs. CFLs use only one-fourth the energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Switch off all unnecessary lights. Use dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when not in use to reduce energy use and costs.
  • Turn off lights when you leave at night.
  • Use natural lighting or daylighting. When feasible, turn off lights near windows
  • Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it, to directly illuminate work areas.
  • Use energy efficient ENERGY STAR products.
  • Close or adjust window blinds to block direct sunlight to reduce cooling needs during warm months. Overhangs or exterior window covers are most effective to block sunlight on south-facing windows.
  • In the winter months, open blinds on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your workspace. At night, close the blinds to reduce heat loss at night.
  • Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use (i.e. cell phone chargers, fans, coffeemakers, desktop printers, radios, etc.).
  • Turn off your computer and monitors at the end of the work day, if possible. If you leave your desk for an extended time, turn off your monitor. (See Office Equipment.)
  • Turn off photocopier at night or purchase a new copier with low standby feature. Purchase printers and fax machines with power management feature and use it.
  • Coordinate with vending machine vendor to turn off advertising lights.
  • Have a qualified professional perform an energy audit. Check with your utility company for names of auditors.
  • Clean or change furnace filters once a month during the heating season.
  • Check furnace ducts for disconnects or leaks.
  • Ensure HVAC ductwork is well insulated.
  • Ensure adjustable speed drives are operating properly.
  • Insulate water heater, hot water piping and tanks to reduce heat loss.
  • Install low-flow toilets and shower heads.
  • Verify the energy management system (EMS) switches into setback mode during unoccupied hours. Also, time clocks and computer controls may need adjustments after power outages or seasonal time changes.
  • Install meters to track energy use.
  • Visit Businesses Can Save Energy this Winter with Help from EPA and ENERGY STAR for 5 steps to save energy this winter. The steps are based on lessons learned from ENERGY STAR business and organization partners.
  • Save paper. Photocopy only what you need. Always use the second side of paper, either by printing on both sides or using the blank side as scrap paper.
  • Collect your utility bills. Separate electricity and fuel bills. Target the largest energy consumer or the largest bill for energy conservation measures.
  • Carpool, bike, or use mass transit when commuting to work.
  • To save gas: drive the speed limit, accelerate and decelerate slower, and make sure tires are pumped up.
  • Use coffee mugs instead of disposable cups.

  • Source: US Department of Energy

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