Energy-saving tips by industry

Already upgrading to high-efficiency equipment where possible and using best practices to save energy such as maintaining your heating system and turning off equipment when it’s not needed? Be even more energy efficient with these ideas especially for your business or building.

Small businesses, stores and offices

No matter the size of your commercial space, you can save energy and enhance your premises with smart choices in heating and lighting.

Heating and cooling

  • Clean your radiators or vacuum baseboard heaters regularly to help keep them running efficiently.
  • On sunny winter days, take advantage of Mother Nature by opening blinds to warm up. Do the opposite in the summer.
  • Set the temperature at 20 °C during business hours and encourage staff to wear sweaters for extra warmth. Customers and guests may already be wearing a coat when they enter, anyway.
  • Program the thermostat to turn down the temperature to 17 °C about an hour before closing time, as it will likely stay warm for about an hour after that.
  • If you must keep doors open for business reasons, consider installing an air curtain to help keep the heat in and drafts out. Otherwise, try to keep doors closed to keep the heat inside.
  • If your building has high ceilings, consider installing a ceiling fan to help warm air circulate back down to the ground.

Water heating

  • Install water-efficient faucets with motion sensors in washrooms to prevent them from being left on and wasting water.
  • Fix leaky faucets, as a tap dripping water every second (3,600 drips per hour) could waste enough water to fill a bathtub about every two days (4,000 drips = 1 L; each bath = 45 L). A drip can usually be repaired by replacing the washer.
  • Wrap hot water pipes located in unheated areas with foam or rubber pipe insulation. The insulation will help protect pipes during cold snaps and may even reduce the energy needed for heating water.

Lighting and electronics

  • Enable ENERGY STAR® features on all computers and electronics and turn them off when not needed. A computer monitor uses up to 75 per cent of the energy powering a computer. Other electronics can idle for as much as 90 per cent of the workday.
  • Ask staff to turn off lights when they leave a room. Installing lighting controls such as occupancy sensors can automatically turn down lights in unoccupied areas such as offices and conference rooms at night.
  • Even if you’ve upgraded to LED lighting, take advantage of available daylight in your store or office to reduce lighting needs even further.

Restaurants, foodservice and commercial kitchens

It’s probably not surprising that cooking accounts for about half of the energy used in restaurants, followed by water heating and refrigeration. But there are ways to take the heat off your energy costs and keep guests comfortable too.

Cooking

  • When practical, cover pots while cooking so you can turn down the burner.
  • Fully load ovens when using them. Tighten hinges and replace seals on oven doors to prevent heat loss.
  • Cut the preheating time for cooking equipment and turn it off when not in use. Few appliances need more than 30 minutes to warm up and a lot of energy can be wasted on standby heating.
  • Cover fryers during slow periods to retain heat.
  • Make ventilation fans work more efficiently by grouping heavy-duty appliances under the centre of the hood. Push appliances against the wall to maximize overhang.
  • If your kitchen is hot and smoky, add side panels to the ventilation hood. They’re inexpensive and can relieve the cooling load of your HVAC system.

Refrigeration

  • Train kitchen staff to shut cooler and freezer doors when they exit to prevent the loss of cooled air, saving the HVAC system from having to work harder to reheat the surrounding area.
  • Do a regular thermostat check and calibrate the temperatures of fridge and freezers, as well as dishwashers and ovens.
  • If shutting cooler doors isn’t always practical, install vinyl strip curtains to keep cool air in.
  • Inspect doors of walk-ins regularly to make sure they’re aligned and closing tightly.
  • Dirty evaporator and condenser coils make refrigerator motors work harder, so clean them to improve energy efficiency.
  • Replace incandescent and T12 fluorescent refrigeration lighting with LEDs.

Dishwashing and water heating

  • Replace older inefficient pre-rinse spray valves with new high-efficiency ones. They’re easy to install and could help you reduce water used for dishwashing by 50 per cent and save water heating costs.
  • Load dishwashers to capacity as they use the same amount of energy regardless of the size of the load.
  • Turn off the dishwasher’s internal tank heater overnight to avoid heating water unnecessarily.
  • Check and replace torn wash curtains in conveyor washers. Wash curtains keep heat in, improving energy efficiency.
  • Make sure storage tanks, hot water pipes, valves and flanges are insulated.
  • Install water-efficient faucets with motion sensors in washrooms to prevent them from being left on and wasting water.
  • Fix leaky faucets, as a tap dripping water every second (3,600 drips per hour) could waste enough water to fill a bathtub about every two days (4,000 drips = 1 L; each bath = 45 L). A drip can usually be repaired by replacing the washer.

Heating and cooling

  • Program thermostats to set back the heat in unoccupied areas such as storage rooms and when the restaurant is closed.
  • Provide a checklist for staff to identify appliances and areas to be turned off at closing time.
  • Turn off make-up air and the exhaust fan in the kitchen when the restaurant is closed.
  • Use ceiling fans to efficiently regulate the air temperature.
  • Turn off patio heaters when they’re not needed. Because they warm up so quickly, you can turn them off and on as required.

Building envelope

  • If painting the exterior, consider a light-coloured paint as it will reflect the sun’s heat, easing cooling loads for your restaurant.
  • If practical, install double-entry doors to keep heat in and drafts out, saving you energy while increasing guest comfort.

Lighting

  • Replace older incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED versions, which use a fraction of the energy.
  • Install lighting controls such as occupancy sensors to automatically turn down lights in unoccupied areas and at night.
  • Even if you’ve upgraded to LED lighting, take advantage of available daylight to reduce lighting needs even further.

Hotels and motels

Welcome in energy savings by engaging staff and guests to make behavioural changes and optimize the efficiency of your day-to-day operations. For ideas to save energy on cooking and dishwashing, also see the Restaurants and foodservice section.

Heating and cooling

  • Set back temperatures in storage rooms, offices and staff areas during hours of low use.
  • Encourage housekeeping staff to turn off lights and set temperatures to minimum levels after cleaning each room. Closing the drapes of unoccupied rooms will reduce heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter.
  • If your guest rooms have packaged terminal heat pumps or air conditioners, pair them with an occupancy sensor that will allow guests to control the temperature when they are inside, but allow you to set back the temperature when rooms are unoccupied.
  • Try to book rooms in clusters so that only occupied building areas need to be heated or cooled for guests. Rooms on top floors, at building corners and facing west (in summer) or north (in winter) can be the most energy-intensive.
  • Invest in a digital direct control (DDC) system to continuously monitor and adjust conditions, such as vent fan speeds. Combined with software, DDC can be controlled remotely by facilities staff.
  • Install variable-frequency drives on fan motors to save energy by automatically adjusting speeds to the building’s changing heating and ventilation needs, such as reducing fan speeds in unoccupied areas at night.

Water heating

  • Install water-efficient faucets with motion sensors in public washrooms to prevent them from being left on and wasting water.
  • Fix leaky faucets, as a tap dripping water every second (3,600 drips per hour) could waste enough water to fill a bathtub about every two days (4,000 drips = 1 L; each bath = 45 L). A drip can usually be repaired by replacing the washer.

Swimming pools

  • Adjust temperature settings in the indoor pool area so the air temperature is higher than the water temperature. This reduces heat loss from the pool.
  • Cover the pool and hot tub when not in use to reduce heat loss and evaporation.
  • Reduce indoor pool room ventilation rates at night when the pool is not being used.
  • Cover the outdoor pool while it is being heated at start of the season to reduce heat-up time.
  • Clean filters regularly and conduct pump maintenance annually to help reduce energy use and extend the life of your pump.

Vending machines

  • Upgrade vending machines to ENERGY STAR® certified models, which are up to 50 per cent more efficient than conventional ones, or install vending controllers on existing ones, which use an occupancy sensor to power down its lighting and compressors when the surrounding area is unoccupied.

Lighting

  • Replace older incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED versions, which use a fraction of the energy.
  • Install lighting controls such as occupancy sensors to automatically turn down lights in unoccupied areas such as offices and conference rooms at night.
  • Take advantage of available daylight to reduce lighting needs in common areas during the day.

Industrial and manufacturing facilities

From wineries and food processors to steel manufacturing and pulp and paper mills, industrial facilities need a lot of energy to make their products. But there are also big opportunities for saving energy and even streamlining processes. Try these tips and consider if our industrial programs could help.

Boilers and steam distribution

  • Operate boilers and furnaces at a designed capacity.
  • Conduct regular flue gas analysis to monitor operating efficiency.
  • Clean hot surfaces such as heat exchangers.
  • Use automatic boiler blow-down controls that continuously measure boiler water conductivity to save energy, water and chemicals.
  • Use the oxygen trim feature and reduce flue gas temperature by 20 °C (68 °F) to help increase your boiler efficiency by one to two per cent.
  • Insulate bare steam or hot water pipes and tanks to help keep liquids at the right temperature and steam at the right pressure.
  • Inspect regularly for failed steam traps. Steam traps remove condensation from the steam distribution system once it has cooled. A trap that has failed open and is leaking steam can cost you thousands of dollars a year in energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Ensure condensate from steam can return to the boiler, as poor drainage leads to water hammer, increased maintenance and poor heat transfer.

Compressed air

  • Conduct regular leak detection and repair surveys on your compressed air equipment and repair leaks as they are found, as they can waste a lot of energy and lead to loss of productivity.
  • Ensure the compressor’s pressure discharge level is set as low as possible to satisfy system demand and minimize pressure drops.
  • Regularly maintain air compressors, dryers and filters to avoid losing energy to heat, condensation and leaks in your system.
  • Install variable speed drives on compressor motors to help save energy when demand is low and reduce wear and tear.

Lighting

  • Replace metal halide and mercury vapour high-bay lighting with LED lighting.
  • Install lighting controls such as occupancy sensors to automatically turn down lights in frequently unoccupied areas.

Rental apartment and condo buildings

If you own or manage a multi-unit residential building, these tips can help you manage your energy use and reduce operating and maintenance costs.

Heating and cooling

  • Have your contractor measure the boiler’s efficiency and check the control system during annual maintenance.
  • Insulate valves, flanges and pipes in mechanical rooms and unheated areas. Insulate expansion tanks and heat exchangers.
  • If you have a heat pump, keep the temperature set point consistent.
  • Keep air supply vents open and free from obstruction and keep coils in outdoor units clear of snow, leaves and other debris so air flow is not restricted.
  • In the winter, set temperature controls to 17 °C for corridors, stairs and hallways.
  • Turn off boilers and heating pumps in summer. If you have a make-up air unit, leave the fan running in the summer, but turn off the heating.
  • Check and replace filters regularly.

Fireplaces

  • Use automatic fireplace shutoff timers.
  • Include fireplace servicing as a part of your annual maintenance schedule.
  • Consider turning off the pilot lights in gas fireplaces to save energy in the summer. You can have them turned back on during annual maintenance.

Water heating

  • Make sure storage tanks, hot water pipes, valves and flanges are insulated.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators to save on hot water consumption. Owners of rental apartment buildings may be able to have them installed for free! 
  • Fix leaky faucets, as a tap dripping water every second (3,600 drips per hour) could waste enough water to fill a bathtub about every two days (4,000 drips = 1 L; each bath = 45 L). A drip can usually be repaired by replacing the washer.

Swimming pools

  • Adjust temperature settings in the indoor pool area so the air temperature is higher than the water temperature. This reduces heat loss from the pool.
  • Cover the pool and hot tub when not in use to reduce heat loss and evaporation.
  • Reduce indoor pool room ventilation rates at night when the pool is not being used.
  • Cover the outdoor pool while it is being heated at start of the season to reduce heat-up time.
  • Clean filters regularly and conduct pump maintenance annually to help reduce energy use and extend the life of your pump.

Building envelope and common areas

  • If you’re renovating an older building, consider upgrading insulation to current standards and installing ENERGY STAR® windows and doors.

Hospitals and health care facilities

Power-hungry equipment, older buildings, 24-7 operation and need for backup power coupled with tight maintenance budgets present unique energy challenges for health care. Here are some ideas you can use to save energy and money and enhance the comfort of patients and staff.

Boilers and steam distribution

  • Regularly maintain boilers and associated systems and measure boiler efficiency at least once a year.
  • If boiler replacement isn’t feasible, consider adding an economizer to increase efficiency. This heat exchanger captures waste heat from the boiler’s flue gas to preheat water going into the boiler.
  • Insulate valves, flanges and pipes in mechanical rooms and unheated areas. Insulate expansion tanks and heat exchangers, as well as any exposed hot water or steam pipes.
  • Inspect regularly for failed steam traps. Steam traps remove condensation from the steam distribution system once it has cooled. A trap that has failed open and is leaking steam can cost you thousands of dollars a year in energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Install steam temperature boosters or spot steam generators at autoclaves so steam can be generated at the central plant at a lower temperature, reducing energy costs.

Heating and cooling

  • Clean or replace air filters and dampers regularly in HVAC units to ensure proper air flow.
  • Clean heat transfer coils on chillers, heat pumps and air conditioners to ensure optimal operating efficiency.
  • Insulate heating ducts and pipes in unheated areas. Ensure ducts are sealed properly with approved foil tape.
  • Invest in a digital direct control (DDC) system to continuously monitor and adjust conditions, such as vent fan speeds. Combined with software, DDC can be controlled remotely by facilities staff.
  • Install variable-frequency drives on fan motors to save energy by automatically adjusting speeds to the building’s changing heating and ventilation needs, such as reducing fan speeds in unoccupied areas (e.g. cafeterias, meeting rooms and offices) at night.
  • Install occupancy sensors or manual switches in operating rooms to reduce speeds of air supply and exhaust fans when operating rooms are unoccupied.
  • On sunny winter days, open blinds to let in natural light and warmth. In warm weather, close or tilt them upward to keep rooms cooler.

Water heating

  • Make sure storage tanks, hot water pipes, valves and flanges are insulated.
  • Install water-efficient faucets with motion sensors in public washrooms to prevent them from being left on and wasting water.
  • Consider installing drain water heat recovery systems to capture heat from hot water and help save energy on water heating.

In the kitchen/cafeteria

  • Turn off cooking equipment when not in use (e.g. overnight hours or morning start-up), as a significant amount of energy used in cooking is for standby heating.
  • Preheat fryers for only as long as necessary. Cover them during slow periods to retain heat and turn them off completely when not in use.
  • Install high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves in dishwashing areas.
  • If shutting cooler doors isn’t practical, install vinyl strip curtains to keep cool air in. They’re also a great way to maintain temperature in loading dock areas.
  • Upgrade vending machines to ENERGY STAR® certified models, which are up to 50 per cent more efficient than conventional ones, or install vending controllers on existing ones, which use an occupancy sensor to power down its lighting and compressors when the surrounding area is unoccupied.

Lighting

  • Replace older incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED versions, which use a fraction of the energy.
  • Encourage everyone to turn off lights when leaving a room or install controls to turn off lights automatically when rooms are unoccupied.

Sports facilities and recreation centres

Whether in gyms, ice rinks or swimming pools, here are some simple ways to score a few energy-conservation points in sports facilities and recreation centres.

Heating and cooling

  • Regularly maintain boilers and associated systems and measure boiler efficiency at least once a year.
  • If boiler replacement isn’t feasible, consider adding an economizer to increase efficiency. This heat exchanger captures waste heat from the boiler’s flue gas to preheat water going into the boiler.
  • Insulate valves, flanges and pipes in mechanical rooms and unheated areas. Insulate expansion tanks and heat exchangers, as well as any exposed hot water or steam pipes.
  • Clean or replace air filters and dampers regularly in HVAC units to ensure proper air flow.
  • Clean heat transfer coils on chillers, heat pumps and air conditioners to ensure optimal operating efficiency.
  • Insulate heating ducts and pipes in unheated areas. Ensure ducts are sealed properly with approved foil tape.
  • Invest in a digital direct control (DDC) system to continuously monitor and adjust conditions, such as vent fan speeds. Combined with software, DDC can be controlled remotely by facilities staff.
  • Install variable-frequency drives on fan motors to save energy by automatically adjusting speeds to the building’s changing heating and ventilation needs, such as reducing fan speeds in unoccupied areas or overnight.

Water heating

  • Make sure storage tanks, hot water pipes, valves and flanges are insulated.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads in change rooms, and consider installing drain water heat recovery systems to capture heat from hot water and help save energy on water heating.
  • Install water-efficient faucets with motion sensors in public washrooms to prevent them from being left on and wasting water.
  • Fix leaky faucets, as a tap dripping water every second (3,600 drips per hour) could waste enough water to fill a bathtub about every two days (4,000 drips = 1 L; each bath = 45 L). A drip can usually be repaired by replacing the washer.

Swimming pools

  • Adjust temperature settings in the indoor pool area so the air temperature is higher than the water temperature. This reduces heat loss from the pool.
  • Cover the pool and hot tub when not in use to reduce heat loss and evaporation.
  • Reduce indoor pool room ventilation rates at night when the pool is not being used.
  • Cover the outdoor pool while it is being heated at start of the season to reduce heat-up time.
  • Clean filters regularly and conduct pump maintenance annually to help reduce energy use and extend the life of your pump.

Ice rinks

Heat recovery

  • Consider recovering heat from the refrigeration system for use in the hot water system or to preheat water for the ice-resurfacing equipment.
  • Make sure the bleacher heating is time controlled so it’s only used when occupied. Excess use will result in increased energy consumption.

Ice-resurfacing equipment

  • Ensure the water supplied to ice-resurfacing equipment is at the correct temperature – overheating will only waste energy.
  • Insulate water storage tanks and distribution piping to reduce standby losses.
  • Use a mechanical de-aerator so you can resurface with cooler temperature water.

Vending machines

  • Upgrade vending machines to ENERGY STAR® certified models, which are up to 50 per cent more efficient than conventional ones, or install vending controllers on existing ones, which use an occupancy sensor to power down its lighting and compressors when the surrounding area is unoccupied.

Lighting

  • Replace older incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED versions, which use a fraction of the energy.
  • Replace metal halide and mercury vapour high-bay lighting with LEDs.
  • Install lighting controls such as occupancy sensors to automatically turn down lights in unoccupied areas and at night.
  • Even if you’ve upgraded to LED lighting, take advantage of available daylight to reduce lighting needs even further.

Schools, universities and colleges

Educational institutions are diverse, but have similar patterns of occupancy – busy on weekdays, quieter on nights and weekends. Since much of their energy goes to space heating, facilities managers can help ensure energy isn’t wasted heating buildings for no one. (If your school has a pool or arena, see the Sports and recreation section for more tips.)

Boilers and steam distribution

  • Regularly maintain boilers and associated systems and measure boiler efficiency at least once a year.
  • If boiler replacement isn’t feasible, consider adding an economizer to increase efficiency. This heat exchanger captures waste heat from the boiler’s flue gas to preheat water going into the boiler.
  • Insulate valves, flanges and pipes in mechanical rooms and unheated areas. Insulate expansion tanks and heat exchangers, as well as any exposed hot water or steam pipes.
  • Inspect regularly for failed steam traps. Steam traps remove condensation from the steam distribution system once it has cooled. A trap that has failed open and is leaking steam can cost you thousands of dollars a year in energy costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Heating and cooling

  • Clean or replace air filters and dampers regularly in HVAC units to ensure proper air flow.
  • Clean heat transfer coils on chillers, heat pumps and air conditioners to ensure optimal operating efficiency.
  • Insulate heating ducts and pipes in unheated areas. Ensure ducts are sealed properly with approved foil tape.
  • Invest in a digital direct control (DDC) system to continuously monitor and adjust conditions, such as vent fan speeds. Combined with software, DDC can be controlled remotely by facilities staff.
  • Install variable-frequency drives on fan motors to save energy by automatically adjusting speeds to the building’s changing heating and ventilation needs, such as reducing fan speeds in unoccupied areas (e.g. cafeterias, classrooms and offices) at night.
  • Work with departments to identify times when buildings or areas are not occupied. Use this data to find out when you can program temperature setbacks or turn down the ventilation fans. About 17 °C (64 °F) should be sufficient for corridors, stairs and hallways most of the time.
  • On sunny winter days, open blinds to let in natural light and warmth. In warm weather, close or tilt them upward to keep rooms cooler.

Water heating

  • Make sure storage tanks, hot water pipes, valves and flanges are insulated.
  • Install water-efficient faucets with motion sensors in public washrooms to prevent them from being left on and wasting water.
  • Install water-efficient showerheads in change rooms, and consider installing drain water heat recovery systems to capture heat from hot water and help save energy on water heating. 

In the kitchen/cafeteria

  • Turn off cooking equipment when not in use (e.g. overnight hours or morning start-up), as a significant amount of energy used in cooking is for standby heating.
  • Preheat fryers for only as long as necessary. Cover them during slow periods to retain heat and turn them off completely when not in use.
  • Install high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves in dishwashing areas.
  • If shutting cooler doors isn’t practical, install vinyl strip curtains to keep cool air in. They’re also a great way to maintain temperature in loading dock areas.
  • Upgrade vending machines to ENERGY STAR® certified models, which are up to 50 per cent more efficient than conventional ones, or install vending controllers on existing ones, which use an occupancy sensor to power down its lighting and compressors when the surrounding area is unoccupied.

Laboratories

  • Turn off fume hoods except when needed for experiments or material storage purposes, or when required by code.
  • Upgrade laboratory air filtration with better air filters that maintain more constant air flow and create less resistance in the ventilation system, even as dust accumulates.

Lighting and electronics

  • Replace older incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with LED versions, which use a fraction of the energy.
  • Encourage everyone to turn off lights when leaving a room. Installing lighting controls such as occupancy sensors can automatically turn down lights in unoccupied areas such as storage rooms, offices and classrooms at night.
  • Enable ENERGY STAR® features on all computers and electronics and turn them off when not needed. A computer monitor uses up to 75 per cent of the energy powering a computer. Other electronics can idle for as much as 90 per cent of the workday.