Peak electricity demands come at a costly expense. A common scenario is when a cold front kicks in and tenants increase the heat all at the same time. To meet this energy demand, the utilities have to dispatch peaking power plants, which is costly for the tenant and owner.
To avoid this, building owners may implement demand response, which encourages tenants to reduce their demand for electricity voluntarily. Oftentimes, tenants receive compensation for this reduction. Tenant comfort is most important, but there are ways to encourage tenant energy demand responsibility.
1. Encourage Tenants to Use Power Strips
People often leave cords plugged in, especially for stationary objects like TVs, computers, etc. Leaving cords plugged into power outlets continually uses energy, so tenants can curb this use by plugging all devices into a power strip, which they can turn off at night. Using a power strip also protects electronics from power surges.
2. Implement Timers for Electricity
Owners can work with tenants to establish working hours when energy is necessary and hours (mostly at night) when the electricity can be turned off to save money. There is no need to heat an empty building, so energy use can be drastically reduced by automating when the lights go on and off, as well as the heat/air conditioning and other electrical items. Installing motion sensors for rooms that are not often used helps reduce energy as well.
3. Install LED Lighting
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are energy-efficient light bulbs that only use about one-half of the electricity that incandescent bulbs use. This type of lighting will save a lot of money for both owners and tenants, especially for large buildings. Owners and managers can encourage tenants to use this type of light bulb by explaining the cost savings over time. LEDs last longer, are more eco-friendly (no mercury), and are more durable.
4. Communicate What Energy Reduction Means to Tenants
It’s important to explain to tenants what they set to gain when reducing energy use, especially during peak times. In addition to cost savings, tenants can enjoy taking environmental responsibility and even improve comfort in their spaces. By breaking down what tenants set to gain by demand responsibility, owners and managers may have an easier time improving energy use.
Owners and tenants can work together to reduce utility expense in buildings. Communication and maintaining an open dialogue is important when discussing energy reduction strategies, as is finding solutions that preserve tenant comfort while reducing energy use. Cooperation in this endeavor can have positive results and real impact on the environment.
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