Winter energy assessment: 10 factors to consider

Now that daylight-saving has ended there will be a dramatic change in light at the end of the day.

As the days get shorter and the temperature drops over the coming months, your organisation’s energy consumption will naturally rise.

To help you make your seasonal assessment of your building controls and to ensure that your organisation’s energy usage remains as efficient and economical as possible throughout the winter, we’ve compiled a checklist of 10 factors to consider.

  1. Business hours – Are they the same? If they have changed, you will need to reschedule the timers for lighting and heating.
  2. Workforce – Has the size of the workforce changed significantly? Or have there been any new policies that impact when employees are in the building? Adjustments may need to be made to compensate for when working areas transition from full capacity to minimal capacity.
  3. Building upgrades – Have there been any upgrades that improve the energy efficiency of the building (windows, doors, insulation). Heating and lighting will need to be set accordingly.
  4. Energy saving projects – Have any been recently introduced? Are workers, facilities, estate management doing anything different to impact how energy is used or measured? If so, does there need to be more stringent checks on consumption?
  5. System performance – Are the heating and cooling systems still working as efficiently as they were this time last year? When were they last serviced or checked?
  6. Building layout – Have there been any changes to layout or new room configurations to account for operational or occupancy changes? A new open-plan space, for example, may need less lighting but more heating.
  7. New technologies – Have any been implemented in the last 12-months that affect how energy is consumed? Are they integrated into the building sensors?
  8. Photo sensors – They will be working more to operate lights where natural light is not enough for the working environment. If they are not working correctly, they may be overridden which leaves the possibility of lights being left on unnecessarily.
  9. Temperature sensors – Ensure they are calibrated and operating correctly so that the internal heating system switches on and off to suit your organisation’s operating hours. Check that the sensors are located appropriately, particularly if there have been any changes to the building layouts. Check that they aren’t situated away from draughts or heat sources. If you have an external temperature sensor, check that it is serviced and placed out of the way of direct sunlight or a frost pocket.
  10. External lighting – Don’t overlook the controls for external lighting. If you have floodlighting for sports facilities or car parks, for example, you will need to keep the time controls updated as the days shorten.

Even small adjustments to a business premise can affect how the controls operate and impact on usage. Keeping on top of the mechanisms you have in place to control your organisation’s consumption is as important as setting the overall energy management strategy.

It is important to have a data first approach to Energy Management in order to understand how to adjust your premises for the winter period. Our Sigma Energy Management software can help you monitor and manage your data within a coordinated application.

If you would like advice on keeping your business energy efficient our expert energy consultants offer a range of services to help you, call on 01908 690018.

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