One of the biggest operating costs for a building can be its HVAC and cooling costs, especially in the midst of summer. Here are some ways that you can tweak your system to get the most bang for your buck.
Make Sure Your Air Conditioner Is Efficient
The first thing to look at is whether you air conditioner is appropriate for the size of your building. Each air conditioning unit is rated in terms of the BTUs of cooling power it can produce; a system that's powerful enough to cool your building effectively can go a long way towards making sure that your system isn't overworked, which may make the unit run less efficiently. Another part of maintaining efficiency is making sure that all of the parts are working correctly and that the fluids are replenished; work with your air conditioning repair contractor to find a service schedule that works based on the occupancy and demands of your building.
Monitor Your Settings Closely
If you want to save every penny possible on your energy bill while still keeping people comfortable, it pays to do some research to figure out how much cooling power you actually need. If you have a building that's open around the clock or for a large number of hours each day, there are likely times when there's high occupancy and times when there's low occupancy. You can set the thermostat slightly higher at the times when the building is near empty, and keep it perfectly cooled when there are a lot of people affected by the temperature. Overall, this will help you to maximize your cooling dollars when it will matter to the most people. If your air conditioning system doesn't already have a programmable thermostat, it's probably worth having a heating and cooling contractor come out and install one.
Install an Economizer
Your building can get hot simply from the number of people working inside. In that case, an economizer or heat pump works to pump the hot air out of the building and bring cooler air from outside in. Even when the temperature outside is fairly high, an economizer might be valuable simply because of the human heat created indoors.
Make Sure the Building Itself Is Efficient
Your AC can work as hard as it wants, but if your building isn't energy efficient you'll still be losing a lot of money. An energy auditor is a great first step for exploring the strengths and weaknesses of your building's insulation.