5 steps to lower heating bills

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Space heating accounts for 25 percent of total energy use in commercial buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. This makes space heating a cost worth managing. Here are five simple actions you can take to reduce energy and maintenance costs this winter, while helping to ensure comfort and productivity in your facility.

  1. Get a tune up. Before the start of the heating season, have your system cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional to make sure all parts are operating properly. No matter what type of heating system you use—furnace, boiler or heat pump—a checkup will ensure more efficient operation and reduce maintenance costs.
  2. Take control. Install programmable thermostats to save energy by automatically adjusting building temperatures based on your operating schedule. Newer WiFi or 'smart' thermostats provide remote control or schedule themselves based on your operating schedule. By lowering the temperature by one degree over a 24-hour period, you can save up to 3 percent on heating costs.
  3. Weatherize. Inspect doors and windows for worn or damaged caulk and weather stripping; repair or replace when necessary.
  4. Seal duct leaks. Examine accessible heating ductwork for leaks and seal with mastic tape. Leaky ducts allow up to 30 percent of the air moving through them to escape, wasting energy. Manual sealing can be time consuming and labor intensive. Advanced aerosol-based technology can seal your entire duct system, saving energy and improving occupant comfort.
  5. Check building insulation. Hire a qualified contractor to ensure that your insulation levels meet or exceed those recommended in ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. Poor insulation reduces heating system performance and building comfort.

Ready to take energy savings to another level? If your heating system is 15 years old or more, or in need of repair, consider replacing it with a new ENERGY STAR® certified unit. ENERGY STAR® qualified commercial HVAC equipment uses up to 10 percent less energy than standard units.

For many facilities, geothermal heat pumps can provide highly efficient, year-round comfort. Geothermal systems use the constant temperature of the ground to provide heating and cooling. Since they move heat rather than create it, geothermal heat pumps can provide heating efficiency of 300 percent or more.

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