When the temperature drops, precipitation falls, and there is a chill in the air, facility managers know it is time to take steps to save on energy costs.
If you simply cannot stand another extended winter or delayed spring with cold drafts blowing through the building, just follow five quick, easy steps to keep buildings more comfortable and save on costs.
While the first few tips may be familiar, the last one will surprise you. It tackles perhaps the greatest heat drain on your building in an innovative way that could leave employees feeling warm and comfy for many winters and springs to come.
In the battle against chills and rising heating bills, the key strategy is to keep the precious heat inside and the cold drafts outside. Here is how you do it:
1. Water heater and pipes
To keep hot water for handwashing without constantly firing up the water heater, wrap an insulated blanket around it, which will conserve the heat. To keep any exposed pipes out of the cold and from potentially freezing, it is a good idea to wrap them with insulation too.
In order to further limit heat loss, add insulation to the walls, if this is insufficient. If you can see exposed ceiling joists, you probably do not have enough. So, it is a good idea to roll an additional blanket of insulation over the top of any already in place.
It is particularly important to insulate to prevent heat transferring to the roof. There the heat can melt snow and ice on the roof, which then refreezes, along with additional snow and ice, causing ice dams on the roof. These ice dams can block roof drainage, leading to water damage and potentially a collapsed roof under the weight of accumulated water, snow, and ice.
Replace your furnace filter to ensure good furnace airflow and heat distribution throughout your building. Move any furniture or equipment that may be blocking the heating vents.
Any gap around doors will allow warm air to escape and cold air to enter. Adding weather stripping around the door, including the door sill, will help to plug these gaps. But weather stripping tends to crack and shrink, particularly in harsh climates. So, check it annually and replace it as necessary.
Windows are arguably the greatest culprit of heat loss. They transfer heat by thermal conduction through the panes and glass surface, so additional heating is required to keep everyone comfortable.
Air leakage through window seals that crack over time also worsens the problem. While single pane windows transfer the most heating (and cooling), even dual pane windows may be insufficient to keep homes sufficiently warm and tame high utility costs.
However, facility managers are finding relief with an innovative approach that adds an inner insulating window to existing windows. This can reduce heat loss by 77% or more for single paned windows, and heating/cooling bills by up to 30%, while stopping air infiltration for further energy savings and greater comfort.
Adding the inner window, in fact, provides an additional layer of insulation with better insulation values than the best double pane windows, and substantially improves insulation values for dual pane windows as well.
The same practice has an added benefit. It also serves as an effective sound barrier to dramatically reduce unwanted external street noise. This provides office workers with a quieter environment.
As an example, Soundproof Windows, a national manufacturer of window energy efficiency and soundproofing products, specializes in adding a “second insulative window” that can be installed easily in front of the existing window. The product is designed specifically to match and function like the original window, no matter its design or whether it opens or closes, and can be installed in hours without construction.
To prevent air infiltration, the company’s window frame seals are held under constant tension, using custom made tempered stainless-steel springs that actively squeeze down on the window. This means the window seals are flexible, constant and always working.
When used in combination with existing windows, in fact, the second window seals effectively eliminate any cold outside air from leaking into the home from this source. This considerably reduces the need to crank up the heat to maintain comfort, which further increases home energy savings. In terms of reliability, such seals are guaranteed for a 50-year lifespan.
Fortunately, these simple steps keep the heat in and the cold out this season. By doing so, they will not only increase worker’s comfort, but also significantly save on heating (and cooling) costs for years to come.