When employing sustainable HVAC strategies, financial benefits can be realized from several sources, including energy savings from proper controls, efficient equipment and behavioral change, as well as increased productivity and reduced maintenance costs.
For a high-level overview, watch DOE Better Buildings' The Business Case for High-Performance Buildings.
Your electricity bill tends to have several line items, such as costs for generation, distribution, and taxes. Some of these are related to consumption – the amount of energy you use over a period of time. Others are related to your demand on the system – how much energy are you using at any given moment. Demand charges are often based on your peak use, so whatever you can do to reduce that peak will save you money throughout the year. Unlike other loads (lighting, computers, etc.) that are relatively constant throughout the year, HVAC electrical use spikes during summer months (and potentially winter months if you have electric heat). Efficiency efforts can reduce peak demand, and other control strategies, such as staging of chiller starts, can reduce peak demand even further.
The US Forest Service has developed a guide to help you learn more about how to reduce demand. Read more here: Saving Money by Understanding Demand Changes on Your Electric Bill
Proper maintenance extends the life of your HVAC equipment and saves energy along the way. Panicked, late night service calls for your suddenly broken boiler do not tend to be inexpensive, either. For more money-saving tips related to HVAC-maintenance, see the Operations & Maintenance Impact section.
Findings and Case Studies
Finding: Top finishers in the 2011 National Building Competition saved as much as 63% and as much as $505,000 in a single year. That’s not $505,000 cumulatively, that’s for just one building among many big savers! Source: 2011 National Building Competition Wrap-Up Report
Finding: A 30 percent reduction in energy consumption can lower operating costs by $25,000 per year for every 50,000 square feet of office space.Source: Flex Your Power, Best Practice Guide: Commercial Office Buildings
Did You Know?
Source: NREL, Implementing Water Conservation Goals at Federal Facilities - Lessons Learned
Federal facilities use sixty billion Btu of energy annually to process, heat, and distribute water throughout the building. Source: Water Conservation - WBDG