5 Tips to Keep Facility Costs Down in Hot Weather

The bell rings: kids celebrate, teachers give a sigh of relief and as the last person leaves, your school grows quite. It’s summertime. When preparing for the summer season, keeping temperature and cost of emergency repairs down can be pretty simple if you consider these 5 tips:

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1. Scale back run-time

Have school staff let you know in advance when they plan to occupy spaces and turn on the equipment only while the space is occupied.

If janitorial staff occupy the spaces, keep in close contact with them and run the air conditioning in rooms only as they work in them. Turn off the equipment in any rooms they move out of.

Building operators can use automation software, such as Siemens controls, to control and manage sites remotely from the comfort of their office. The software will monitor efficiency and can send you daily reports on your savings.


2. Give your equipment a check-up

A dirty coil can make your equipment work harder for less results.

Providing maintenance to your equipment is an easy way to ensure it is functioning properly. This can save you money by preventing it overworking inefficiently. Regular servicing can keep your equipment working for you longer.

Bring in an expert to:

    • Lubricate all moving parts in the system
    • Check the thermostat
    • Ensure the system controls are working safely and properly
    • Clean the evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils
    • Clean and adjust blower controls
    • Check the system’s central air conditioner’s refrigerant level


3. Clean your air filters 

Filters should be cleaned once a month.

Dirty filters aren’t just bad for energy efficiency: They can cause damage to the equipment, which can eventually result in system failure.

With normal airflow obstructed, air that bypasses the filter may carry dirt directly into the evaporator coil and impair the coil’s heat absorbing capacity.


4. Ensure proper seal and insulation

Is air leaking out of your building?

In hot, humid climates, the majority of energy used to make a building comfortable is spent on cooling and dehumidifying. The biggest head load is the direct radiation from the sun. The sun’s rays directly heat up the surfaces of the building and the heat conducts to the inside.

It is best to have a light-colored roof. The color will deflect a lot of radiation away. Another best practice is to have vented air cavity directly under the roof. This allows most of the heat to be deflected and dissipated before it even gets to the roof insulation. This simple addition can go a long way.

Using overhangs and porches is a great way to protect walls and windows particularly on the south and west sides to block the sun.

Adding insulation to the right places can greatly improve efficiency. Move the attic insulation so that the air conditioning ducts are inside the insulated envelope.  The air conditioning units work less because the ducts lose less energy.

According to EnergyStar.gov, you could spend 10% more on energy bills if your building is not properly insulated.

Air could be slipping out through paths like window seals, construction joints, or cracks. Air seepage could allow energy on heating and cooling to escape.

A couple solutions are using building wraps or spray insulation.


5. Run a preventative maintenance program

Take time this summer to research money saving tactics for the upcoming school year. This may be the right time to start a preventative maintenance program.

For example, BCS Performance Solutions takes a holistic approach to facility management through implementation of the Strategic Energy and Maintenance Program (SEMP). Performance Solutions will evaluate your entire facility. They will uncover the root cause of facility problems and develop a complete plan that meets both organizational needs and budget. SEMP includes addressing deferred maintenance, high utility costs, reducing energy consumption, and life cycle cost management.

Interested in more information about preventative maintenance programs? Contact us to learn more.

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