Winterize Your Facility Costs

Business Operations Associations Now November/December 2014

Don't get caught in the cold this winter. Use these tips from energy guru Kathy Kiernan to keep your utility expenses down.

Don't let the approaching winter months drive up your energy costs. Kathy Kiernan, senior vice president of APPI Energy, shares some tips on keeping your heating and lighting costs under control as the days get colder and darker.

Associations Now: With winter approaching, what should associations look out for to avoid a big jump in energy costs?

Kiernan: One of the best things associations can do is learn about the different drivers that impact energy, and for an office space, it's really about lighting and the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.

One of the things that can really increase energy costs is when people have the ability to turn up and down the heat or adjust the temperature at will. We recommend having some sort of process or procedure about what the temperature should be in your building. Often the difference in a degree or two won't make that much difference to people in the building, but it can really drive changes in terms of cost.

How can organizations reduce lighting costs?

In the winter, we use our lights more because it gets darker earlier and stays dark later in the morning. Lighting can be up to 50 percent of an office building's cost, so you can make a real impact by turning off lights in places that you're not using and by looking into a new lighting infrastructure and things like auto sensors.

What resources do you recommend for information on energy savings?

Sometimes a good place for people to go for more information is their local utilities website. There will be information about ways to reduce costs, and [there may be] programs available for homeowners and small businesses to put energy savings programs in place and get some remuneration from the utilities company.

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Energy Freeze."]