One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses – Medical and Dental Offices – Part 7 of an 8 Week Series
At Lime Energy, we help utilities around the country bring energy efficiency to their small business customers. With over 15,000 completed projects to date, we have learned a lot about the unique needs of small business customers. Over an 8 part series, we are taking a look at several small business types and uncovering their potential for energy savings. In many cases, these businesses are eligible for incentives from their utility to cover a large portion of the project cost, making the long-term benefits of energy efficiency even more attainable.
Medical and Dental Offices:
While similar to general office spaces in their ability to achieve energy savings via lighting, controls and HVAC measures, patient care offices also have unique needs relative to their equipment choices. The EPA estimates that every dollar a medical office saves on energy is equivalent to generating $10 in new revenues. When implementing an energy efficiency plan, the following action items are recommended:
- Turn machines off. Every 1000 kWh saved by turning things off equates to a $100 power bill reduction.
- Replace incandescent with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in downlights, sconces, task lights, and wall lighting.
- Retrofit T12 lamps with T8s, which last longer and require less maintenance. In addition to saving energy, T8 bulbs have an improved color rendering index (CRI) that is more pleasant for office environments.
- Install LED bulbs. Due to their high efficiency, they’re particularly efficient and successful in filtered sources like exit signs. Their small size and directional nature make them a good choice for task lighting, too.
- Install occupancy sensors to dim or shut off lights in restrooms, halls and conference rooms and other sporadically used spaces.
- When new equipment is needed, purchase Energy Star wherever available (www.energystar.gov). Practice Greenhealth also offers resources for purchasing environmentally preferable products and equipment, including a list of RFP/RFI questions (www.practicegreenhealth.org).
- Install programmable thermostats and adopt an office wide policy of 74â° in the summer and 68â° F in the winter. Additionally, adjust the temperatures so that the office is not heated or cooled unnecessarily when unoccupied.
- Properly maintain HVAC systems. Clogged ducts and vents, improper seals, leaks, dirty coils and faulty equipment all contribute to wasted energy. Hire a certified technician to inspect HVAC systems twice per year. In addition, consider replacing any units that are over 10 years old to save 20% or more on energy use.
- Inspect window and door caulking annually, and upgrade windows that are over 10 years old to double-paned glass. Window-tinting, especially on south facing windows, can also be highly effective against heat gain.
- Add insulation to walls, crawl spaces and roofs to prevent excessive heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.
For a detailed review of these measures and their application in your practice, schedule an energy audit with a qualified contractor today. From incentive programs to equipment rebates and recycling, local utilities may provide assistance in determining how best to implement energy efficiency solutions. To learn more about programs available in your area, visit www.lime-energy.com/smallbusiness.
For more on small business energy efficiency:
Part 1 – Grocery and Convenience Store Energy Efficiency
Part 2 – Retail Store Energy Efficiency
Part 3 – Automotive Dealership Energy Efficiency
Part 4 – Restaurant Energy Efficiency
Part 5 – Office Space Energy Efficiency
Part 6 – Manufacturing Facility Energy Efficiency
Part 7 – Medical and Dental Office Energy Efficiency
Part 8 – Energy Efficiency in Education