10 Sustainable Commercial Products for California Businesses

HVAC system

Commercial businesses in California striving to comply with the state's push to adopt ambitious sustainability practices should begin by installing energy efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting equipment. Together these two categories account for about 75% of the electricity consumption in the average commercial building, making them prime targets for sustainability measures.

Here are 10 sustainable commercial products in HVAC and lighting that can greatly reduce California businesses' energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Sustainable HVAC products

1. Programmable thermostats: Businesses can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning the thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day from its normal setting.1

2. Notched V-belts for HVAC motors: Notched V-belts, unlike solid V-belts, feature grooves that help reduce the bending resistance of the belt.

3. Air-side economizers: Air-side economizers are designed to supplement and reduce demand from a building's AC system by bringing in outside air when it's cool outside.

4. Variable speed drives: Variable speed drives (VSDs) adjust fan speeds according to demand instead of operating at a constant rate, saving businesses money and energy.

5. Demand controlled ventilation: Demand controlled ventilation uses carbon dioxide sensors to read occupancy demand to precisely adjust building ventilation.

6. Radiant heating: Radiant heating warms objects, not spaces, thus focusing heat where it is most needed. It can be installed in large indoor areas like warehouses and garages and outdoor areas like patios to reduce fuel consumption.

7. Energy recovery ventilation: Energy recovery ventilation systems use reclaimed waste energy from the exhaust air stream to condition incoming fresh air.

Sustainable lighting products

8. Skylights: As an easy sustainability practice, install skylights and remove obstacles that block windows to use natural light more effectively during the daytime.

9. Adaptive Lighting Technology: Adaptive lighting technologies, such as occupancy sensors, control systems and dimmers, turn lights on and off based on room occupancy and lighting necessity to reduce waste and preserve energy.

10. LED technology: LEDs consume less energy and last longer than incandescent and fluorescent lighting. They produce less heat than other lighting technologies, which results in reduced cooling costs. LEDs also produce superior brightness, light output and color.

Achieving energy savings with sustainable HVAC and lighting products doesn't necessarily entail a complete overhaul, but generally does require collaboration with a qualified contractor. To learn more about ways to improve HVAC and lighting energy efficiency at your business, download the free "How to Get the Best Results from a Lighting or HVAC Project" eBook from PG&E.