Retrofitting a Building to be Green
One of the most popular green retrofits a building owner should consider is a lighting retrofit. An electrician replaces incandescent ballasts and lamps with LED or compact fluorescent models that are much more efficient during a lighting retrofit. The circuitry needs to be updated in many situations. The payback period for lighting retrofits is often very short due to the energy efficiency of LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs compared to incandescent bulbs.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are typically three to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs use anywhere between 1/3 and 1/31 the electricity as incandescent bulbs. It is also important to note that lighting retrofits also reduce the air conditioning load because more efficient lighting generates much less heat than incandescent lighting.
Another smart building retrofit a building owner should consider to go green is the installation of a programmable thermostat or an energy management system. A simple programmable thermostat can be installed and set by an electrician. With the correct settings, a programmable thermostat can save a building owner a substantial amount of money each year by reducing wasted energy used to heat and cool a building during periods that the building is unoccupied.
An electrician can install a more complex energy management system for larger commercial buildings. A building owner can control the heating, cooling and even the lighting in a building on-site or off-site with a properly installed and utilized an energy management system. An energy management system’s display options that show trends can also be used to identify issues with the building and staff that are causing the energy bills to be higher than necessary.
Proper maintenance of a building’s HVAC system is also crucial to reducing a building’s energy use. Airflow problems, suboptimal refrigerant levels sensor malfunctions, economizer failures, compressor leaks and dirty filters can reduce the energy efficiency of even the greenest HVAC systems. In addition, an HVAC specialist may recommend an HVAC upgrade to a more properly-sized and efficient HVAC system.
Lastly, a popular retrofit that a building owner can choose is a photovoltaic installation. Installing solar panels can help offset the reliance on fossil fuels for a building’s energy use. A qualified electrician can install photovoltaic panels on a building’s roof to generate a variable percentage of a building’s electricity. Smaller buildings may be able to generate most or all of the building’s electricity needs, while larger buildings may rely on photovoltaic energy for their base loads or auxiliary loads.