Using Common Sense for Energy Savings

Published on Sunday, 11 October 2015 21:11:07    Written by Marc
Whenever we find ourselves talking about operating costs with companies and organizations, the cost of energy is never far from the main topic. After all, energy costs represent a significant part of the overall operations costs for most types of buildings. In these conversations, we find that virtually every company or organization is seeking to find ways to improve their bottom line (or meet their budget) by reducing their energy consumption. Our role is providing them with means to help find and implement savings in their buildings. While we do offer sophisticated tools for this, the truth is that not all energy saving measures needs any tool at all. Some measures simple require basic common sense.

The other day, I received our local city’s quarterly newsletter. I live in a small suburb just outside Montreal. While not always practical to commute downtown, it does have some advantages over living right downtown. Our little city has always been great at managing their budget so it is always interesting to see what they are planning in the coming months. Each quarter, the city issues a small newsletter document, which highlights the economic situation of the city and provides some general news. This time, the tone of the economic section was more somber than usual, with the city speaking about rising costs, and how they were looking for ways to save the taxpayers money. I was thinking that at least they are addressing the situation.

The next day, we are taking a family walk and we come to the local soccer field not far from our home. It was a nice day, middle of the afternoon, with a mix of sun and clouds. We, normally, never go in that direction, but we decided to walk there for a change. To my shock, all the lights were lit. At first, I was thinking that maybe they were doing some kind of maintenance, but we saw no one in the area. There was no soccer game going on either. We passed the soccer field and came back almost an hour later and the lights were still on, with nobody in sight. So much for common sense in saving energy, these are probably 750 or 1,000 watts just wasting energy in the middle of the day.

A few days later, my wife goes to a park with baby and snaps photos of the lamps there. Now, that day was not even a cloudy one, it was a perfectly sunny day. She looked around to see if someone was doing maintenance or checking the lamps and in the hour and a half that she was there, she saw nobody that looked like a municipal worker or contractor.

Two situations were energy savings starts with common sense. I am wondering, if the city cannot take care of simple items as if closing the lights in the middle of a sunny day, the chances that they are looking for energy savings is probably remote. As a taxpayer, I cannot say I am very happy about that.

Bottom line, energy saving can be technical at times and for this tools such as ours can come in very handy. However, energy saving also starts with plain common sense and doing things as simple as turning off the lights after people leave. In the end, all these little measures do add up.