Summer is upon us and with record temperatures set to challenge our eco-ambitions, it’s time to give your business a summer health check. This practical checklist will make sure you’re meeting your iiE targets, saving resources and money. Make sure you’re following our top tips and add any you’re missing to your iiE action plans!
1. Make use of natural ventilation where possible by opening windows and doors to increase air flow and cooling. But, don’t forget to turn off any heating or cooling systems first! Also consider encouraging staff to wear weather appropriate clothing, and where possible ditching the jacket for a cool shirt and reducing the need for air con.
2. Install window treatments such as solar control window films to prevent heat gain through glass. Also make use of blinds and consider external shading if heat gains are severe.
3. If air conditioning needs to be used, ensure that any heaters in the room are switched off and that controls are appropriately set using a ‘dead band’ where no heating or cooling is in use between 19 and 24 degrees centigrade. Also be sure to check your air conditioning units have been serviced within the last year, as these can leak harmful greenhouse gases.
4. Ensure that your temperature controls are located appropriately e.g. not in direct sunlight, close to a heater or next to a draughty or open door or window.
5. Insulation not only keeps heat in, it also keeps heat out in summer months. You can prevent warm air from coming into the building and make air conditioning run more efficiently by installing draught excluders around door frames and sealing windows.
6. Replace or clean air conditioning filters. Dirty filters restrict airflow, causing the system to run for longer, increasing its energy use. Clean filters can lower energy consumption by as much as 15%.
7. Ensure that electric equipment is switched off and when not in use make sure that eco mode settings are in place, to help reduce energy and heat gains associated with its use. For example, a photocopier left on standby overnight wastes enough energy to make 5,400 A4 copies!
8. Install efficient lighting. Only 10-15% of the energy used by incandescent bulbs results in light – the rest is turned into heat. There are a range of cost-effective light bulbs available that can significantly lower electricity usage, especially LEDs. These can reduce electricity consumption by 30-90% and often last significantly longer.
9. Make the most of the sun by generating your own energy with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Now is the time to look into solar PV if you haven’t already.
10. Keep an eye on your water consumption. Promote efficient use of water in your business and consider installing a rainwater harvesting system, especially if you use a lot of water for landscaping or vehicle wash down. Check that your landscaping also includes drought resistant (as well a bee-friendly) plants; the Royal Horticultural Society recommends watering first thing in the morning to reduce water lost through evaporation.