For most facility managers and building owners, the easiest way to save on energy cost is to set the thermostat a little lower. This heuristic approach to energy savings does have some merit. But how much money does this approach actually save? Research organizations and energy efficiency companies have done studies into change in dollar savings per Fahrenheit decrease and found that the average percent dollar change for each degree lowered is 3%; this 3% average does have a fairly large variation and the data is mostly skewed to the left, which is largely due to location and the particular weather of the geographical region.
Finding Your Balance Point Temperature
In order to understand how these factors affect your building, you must understand the relationship between energy consumption of your building with your balance temperature. Balance point temperature is the outdoor air temperature when amount heat your building gain is equal to the heat loss.
Balance point temperature is typically found by mapping the energy consumption against mean outdoor temperature. The point on the resulting chart where weather independent rate of energy consumption is equal to the weather dependent rate of energy consumption is the balance point temperature.
After identifying the balance point temperature, we can map out the degree days against the building’s energy consumptions to determine the load required by the weather. In order to finally calculate the savings, we need to shift each data point down and to the left by one degree day without allowing negative consumption. From doing this analysis, building owners can identify how much a simple one degree change is worth on their heating or cooling bill.
Important Factors to Take Into Account
Since outdoor temperature is an independent variable and varies widely by location, researching bodies report widely different statistics for the United States. For example, consumer energy center reports that percentage dollar savings per degree decrease in temperature is 5% during winter in California and 1-3% during the summer, on the other hand, in the neighboring state of New Mexico, city governments report 3 – 5% savings year round.
On the other hand, in Massachusetts, building owners can expect to save 4% – 8% during the summer, while Wisconsinites, Kentucky, and Louisiana residents save the national average, 3%.
Energy requirements for HVAC operations involve a combination of factors like weather variables such as amount sunshine, humidity, wind, and temperature, along with building operating patterns. Forecasting these factors to predict future energy requirements are difficult; however, energy efficiency and demand management technology can be implemented in you building to reduce the costs incurred by this variability.
How We Can Help: The EnergyLink Advantage
At EnergyLink we work towards helping businesses identify energy savings opportunities by learning about a building unique behavior. Our expertise in providing commercial buildings with energy efficiency solutions ranging from HVAC system automation to solar installations help businesses save on energy costs, develop a new revenue source, and offset annual utility expense.