Saving energy means decreasing the amount required by your heating systems for air displacement (i.e. air propelled through ducts, registers, coils, filters, louvers, diffusers and grates) and conditioning (i.e. heating, humidification, dehumidification and cleaning).
Ideally performed by qualified technicians, annual maintenance of your heating equipment extends its service life and lowers your energy consumption by ensuring proper functioning and efficiency. Have the inside and outside of the exhaust shaft inspected occasionally as well for any signs of deterioration due to condensation or corrosion.
Install timers to reduce or switch off the heat when your building is unoccupied. Also, conserve heat by closing curtains, louvers and blinds at night and when the building is unoccupied. Open them during the day to take full advantage of sunlight.
Cold air and warm air have different densities above ground, and if they are not mechanically mixed in some way, they will produce stratification (i.e. different layers of temperature). Warm air rises and reaches the highest temperature near the ceiling, especially in rooms with high ceilings. Installing ceiling fans of a minimum clearance of 8 ft. or 2.43 m. to redistribute warm air is a budget-friendly solution.
Survey your employees and customers to define their temperature comfort zone. You may discover that some spaces are maintained at a warmer temperature than necessary. A slight decrease in the temperature setting can generate significant savings. Setting the temperature to 17°C (62.6°F) for a vacant building and 20°C (68°F) for an occupied building can reduce the annual consumption of natural gas.
It may be less expensive to vary the interior temperature settings according to the following criteria: the occupants’ activities in various locations, the seasons, humidity levels, amount of sunlight, interior air speed, and temperature zones conducive to comfort. Bear these factors in mind when defining the temperature settings for different rooms. Remember that occupants may tolerate warmer interior temperatures than what you would expect during summer, and similarly, colder room interior temperatures in winter.
These devices offer better control over heating periods and temperature settings. Save energy by programming them differently for weekends and weekdays, depending on building occupancy. A drop of 1°C (1.8 °F) over a 24-hour period can reduce your heating costs by up to 5%. A decrease of 3°C (5.4 °F) over an 8-hour period can reduce your heating costs by up to 6%.
If you have a forced-air system, remove any obstacles in ducts, registers and cold-air return registers so that the air can circulate freely and efficiently throughout the system.
If you have a hot-water heating system, look for hot spots on the boiler wall and hot-water distribution pipe to identify insulation gaps. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, you are losing a lot of heat. Also check pumps and valves for water leakage.
If you’re thinking of changing your space heating equipment, ask your contractor about the energy efficiency of your appliances. Efficiency is usually expressed in terms of annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) for furnaces, and in terms of combustion efficiency for boilers. The higher the energy output rating, the more efficient the equipment as the less energy it consumes.
Take advantage of Gaz Métro grants to add or replace natural gas equipment and reduce your energy costs. In addition to offering a better performance, natural gas is cheaper than electricity and fuel-oil.