Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Economic Development Committee
Mission Statement: To establish and recommend environmental health and sustainability best practices for the Chamber and its members
- Turn off lights when leaving a room
- Turning off a light that isn’t needed is a 100% energy savings!
- Replace lights with LEDs
- Every watt saved is about $1 per year and paybacks of 2 years, or less, are common
- Avoid integrated fixtures + lamps, otherwise an electrician will need to change your light bulbs
- 5000K/daylight/blue color is good for outside and industrial environments
- 4000K/cool/soft white/white color is good for office environments
- 3000K/warm/yellow color is good for home environments
- Life should be 25,000+ hours for the home and 50,000+ hours for commercial and industrial
- For thermostats below 75 degrees, increase them by 1 degree immediately
- Increase 1 degree every 3-6 months until at least 75 degrees is reached
- EnergyStar recommends 78 degrees as the occupied setting, but let’s be realistic…that’s warm for most people and especially warm in an office environment
- Replace old thermostats with programmable versions
- The Nest is great, but programmable functionality is available for $20
- Set unoccupied times 4-5 degrees warmer than occupied times
- Pay for a professional HVAC company to service the system annually
- Cleaning heat exchanger coils extends the life of the system, maintains proper energy use and promotes better air quality
- Lighting controllers and sensors are great, but use them deliberately and never forget the most sustainable option is a regular ON/OFF switch
- Use a controller to automatically turn lights ON/OFF when a defined timing schedule is needed
- Use daylight sensors when lights must always be on at night
- Use motion sensors in spaces that transition from occupied to unoccupied frequently and the lights must be on during occupied times
- Install an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
- Savings for a typical office building can easily be several thousand dollars per year
- An ERV is a heat exchanger that uses exhausted air to pre-heat/cool incoming fresh air
- For homes, an ERV is not needed as they normally do not have fresh air intakes
- For offices spaces and ERV should be incorporated into the system and it may be quite simple if the exhaust and fresh air intakes are in close proximity
Energy Audits & Renewable Energy Procurement: Energy Audits
- To identify further opportunities to reduce energy consumption and costs, existing building owners and operators may consider conducting an energy audit. This entails gathering energy consumption data for the entire building so that facilities teams can identify no-cost and low-cost energy conservation measures to improve overall energy performance.
- ASHRAE Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits defines best practices and provides guidance on preparing, conducting, and documenting an ASHRAE Level 1 energy audit. An ASHRAE “Level 1” audit may be performed by in-house staff or by a third-party auditor.
- The ASHRAE procedures and forms are standardized for use in a variety of building types but can be tailored to suit particular projects. The procedures help Identify no- and low-cost improvement opportunities that will improve operations and save energy.
- Regularly recording any changes in systems, operation, and usage ensures that knowledge can be easily passed from operator to operator and is also available to support future upgrades, audits, or commissioning activities.
General Resources – Implementing Sustainability in your Business:
- S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR for Small Business program: provides free info and technical support to improve your business’s financial performance by reducing energy waste and energy costs, while protecting the environment.
- ENERGY STAR Action Workbook for Small Business: newly updated and free, on-line greening publication designed especially for designed especially for small businesses; provides assistance for moving beyond compliance and into sustainability
- Energy Savings Tips for Small Businesses: Home‐Based Businesses
- Non-profit organization Cultivating Capital publishes theSmall Business Guide to Sustainable Business Practices, a practical guide with resources to help owners build sustainable businesses
- Reusables calculator: this online tool calculates the estimated cost savings and environmental benefits that businesses will obtain by using reusable instead of disposable products. Savings estimates can be calculated for a variety of disposable products, including straws, cutlery, cups, plates, and bowls.
- Responsible products catalogue: this guide is an easily searchable database that provides sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic disposable products. Most of these items are backyard/cold-compostable products that can be taken to a community compost and will break down in the environment; “compostable” bioplastics are not featured because these materials must be processed in industrial composting facilities which do not exist in Florida, and because they behave similarly to traditional oil-based plastics when in the environment. Aluminum-canned still and sparkling water options are also featured in this catalogue because aluminum is the most efficiently recycled material; boxed water options are not featured because they are often lined with plastic PLA. Most products in this catalogue are from southeast Florida businesses to support the local economy and reduce our carbon footprint. Anyone can apply to be part of this guide at this link.