Your Business Center
An Energy Management Partnership
It takes a lot of hard work to run a successful business, and we want to help make sure your success includes efficient, cost-effective energy management. In PEC's Business Center, you'll find information about incentives to help offset the cost of efficiency-related upgrades, and we've partnered with Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and Apogee Interactive to provide calculators to help you forecast how changes in operations or equipment might impact your bottom line, and information to help you better understand the role energy management plays in your business strategy.
If you haven't already discovered MyUse Energy Analyzer, we encourage you to try it. It's a good way for small-power commercial members to monitor their daily use and track the success of their efforts to conserve electricity. (MyUse is not currently available for large-power commercial members.)
Apogee Interactive has produced a calculator to help commercial building operators and energy managers identify energy savings opportunities.
Commercial Energy Calculator »
Touchstone Energy Cooperatives has worked with a number of partners to offer business-to-business discounts to PEC members.
Visit BizConnections.coop »
Business Energy Myths
(Click for the facts)
Myth: Cool roofs are always a good choice.
Facts. Cool roofs – created with light-colored roofing materials that stay cool even on hot days – can lower air-conditioning loads, but the savings vary widely with location. Typical energy savings run around 20 percent, with simple payback periods of a few years. In the best applications, cool roofs have no incremental cost, delivering nearly instant payback.
However, in the wrong buildings, cool roofs may actually have negative implications. Cool roofs are most effective when one or more of the following conditions exist:
- The building has high air-conditioning use, and the cooling season dominates energy considerations.
- There is little or no existing insulation. Note that an energy-efficient building should have both a cool roof and adequate insulation. When installing a cool roof or constructing a new building, you should consult local building codes and your contractor.
- The climate is hot and sunny (at least in the summer).
- New construction is planned, or the existing building is scheduled for reroofing or roof maintenance.
To see if a cool roof is an appropriate choice for you, use the Energy Star roofing calculator, available at http://www.roofcalc.com.
Myth: When leaving a room for a short period, it's better to leave lights on than to turn them off.
Facts. For incandescent bulbs, it's always better to turn the lights off.
For fluorescent lights, there are some trade-offs: Fluorescent lights use slightly more energy on start-up, but the light needs to be off for only about a second to make up for that surge. The life of a fluorescent light is also shortened by frequent on-and-off switching. The actual break-even point depends on the cost of the lamp and the local electricity costs and is typically 5 to 15 minutes. However, a good guideline for fluorescent lighting is: Unless you're switching the lights every few minutes, it is generally cost-effective to turn the lights off whenever you leave the room.
Myth: I can rotate equipment on 10-minute cycles to reduce demand with no reduced comfort.
Facts. Cycling equipment on and then off for 10 minutes each can reduce demand charges, but it will also sacrifice comfort.
Demand charges are calculated based on the average power drawn by a facility during 15-minute periods. If the HVAC system is cycled off for 10 minutes of this period, then the average power will likely be reduced. However, when a unit is prevented from operating when the thermostat calls for it to operate, comfort will be sacrificed.
In addition, if the cycling frequency that is imposed on a unit is greater than what it would normally experience, then this increase can shorten equipment life and will waste energy as well.