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Implement efficient air conditioning and heating

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Large amounts of energy are required to heat or cool the air inside a building, so doing it as efficiently as possible is essential to minimizing this expense.

On average, heating and cooling accounts for over 35% of energy use in small to medium businesses. The impact of inefficient heating and cooling can run into the thousands of dollars over a 10 year period, money any business could better spend elsewhere.

How to do it now!

By moderating your use of temperature control systems and keeping them in optimal running order can save energy, reduce emissions and save money. So, implement the following tips and start saving:

Adjust your temperature setting up in summer and down in winter
For every degree adjust your heating/cooling system to go with the flow of the season you are in, you save up to 10% off your heating (in winter) and cooling (in summer) costs. Set your system’s temperature to under 20 degrees in winter, and over 24 degrees in summer.

Install timers to automatically switch off on air-conditioning units
By installing a push button timer (and using it) on your air-conditioning unit you ensure that the unit will only be on when it is required, and turn itself off when it is not required. Ask you electrician about the various “push button timer” options available, and what would best suit your situation.

Maintain your air-conditioner and heating systems
By conducting regular maintenance of the air-conditioner and duct system, you will ensure your air-conditioner is working at it’s most efficient.

When replacing air-conditioning systems aim for the highest Energy Star rating possible.
The Federal Government’s E3 – Equipment Energy Efficiency site has a database and tool to compare the energy efficiency of Air conditioners to find the most efficient one for your circumstances. The calculator on this site also allows you to input various energy prices so you can consider the investment if electricity prices were to continue to rise.

Draught proof all windows and doors
By properly sealing all windows and doors you are minimising the extent to which you work spaces leak heat or cool, and literally stopping money seeping out of your business.

Door and window seals are available at most hardware stores and can be easily fitted in most situations.

Use a fan in place of Air conditioning
Fans use a fraction of the energy of an air conditioner, and in some instances can be just as effective in providing relief from heat. A small desk fan costs $20.

Ensure your workplace is insulated
Check and install wall and ceiling insulation in your workplace. Insulating walls can prevent 15 to 35 percent of heating and cooling energy loss.

The effectiveness of insulation is measured as an 'R value' based on its thickness and density. The higher the R value, the better the insulation. In general:

  • Use insulation rated R3.5 or higher for ceilings.
  • Use R2.0 rated insulation for walls, as they generally have a smaller air gap than a roof space.

If you're replastering or replacing existing external wall materials take the opportunity to insulate your walls.

Speak to an insulation retailer or installer to help you match the right insulation product to your situation. Ensure that your installation meet and even exceeds the Australian Standard.

Why is this action important?

Given the amount of energy used by most SME’s to heat and cool their workplace, lifting the efficiency of this system will have an immediate impact on energy use and the associated costs, both financial and environmental.

In addition, efficiency and the pursuit of best practice are great “cultural” practices for any aspiring business.