It is relatively difficult for you, as an individual, to have a large-direct effect on the energy usage in the commercial and industrial sectors. These sectors consist largely of corporations and businesses that you have little control over. This does seem like a large problem at first but, there are things that you can do to suggest increased energy efficiencies.
The commercial sector consists of things like: stores, restaurants and offices. The commercial sector is mainly concerned about reducing operating costs. As energy costs increase, the benefits of increasing energy efficiency also increases. Some methods commonly used to improve energy efficiencies include:
- Using Energy Star rated devices
- Modern, automated HVAC systems
- Efficient lighting
- Occupancy and/or photosensors to dim or shut off lighting
- Solar panels to generate electricity or to heat water
Most of the items listed seem small but when implementing several small changes, you can experience a larger overall change (I feel a reoccurring theme beginning).
Many companies in the commercial sector take suggestions from their employees. If you are employed in the commercial sector, you can make a friendly suggestion to your superiors that include ways to improve energy and/or operating efficiencies. This can help you by:
- Being noticed by your superiors
- By increasing your company’s profitability, therefore allowing you to keep your job.
So, if you have any ideas on how to improve energy efficiencies in your workplace, do it.
The industrial sector consists of things like: farming, manufacturing, mining, construction and water management. Like the commercial sector, the industrial sector is largely concerned with maximizing profits and minimizing operating costs. Reducing energy consumption accomplishes both. The industrial sector can improve their energy efficiencies by using the same methods as the commercial sector, in addition to:
- Using more efficient equipment for farming, construction and mining
- Generating electricity from waste using methane gas
- Improving manufacturing processes to use less energy
Several equipment companies like, John Deere and CAT, continue to improve the efficiencies of their products. This in turn reduces amount of energy used for related industries, like forestry, construction and mining. Also, farmers who raise livestock are increasingly installing anaerobic biodigesters in order to generate electricity. Any farmer that has livestock, has manure and will always have manure, so instead of piling it up, why not use it for something useful. These systems can give farmers a way to use a pesky byproduct to generate:
- Heating fuel
Again, as with the commercial sector, many industrial companies accept efficiency suggests from their employees. If you make a good suggestion, then this will reduce their energy usage and therefore make them more money. Whenever you can benefit the company you are working for, it is a good thing. It is not only good for you but, for your company as well.
Even though most of the efficiencies gained in both the commercial and industrial sectors will come from the companies and businesses making changes, due to increased costs, you as an employee can also help with your suggestions. We need to remember, we need to work together to reduce energy usage EVERYWHERE in our society.
I tried to list several ideas and methods used to reduce energy consumption but, I could have easily missed something. If you have any other methods that could be used to increase energy efficiencies in your workplace, leave a comment.
Next week, I will begin to discuss methods to reduce energy consumption within the transportation sector.