SoCalGas - Energy Efficiency Guide
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Energy Efficiency Guide

Over the years California's investor-owned utility companies have helped their customers save billions of dollars through energy efficiency programs. Now, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Gas Company are teaming up to offer energy efficiency programs under the auspices of California's Public Utilities Commission.

We offer expert assistance, financial incentives, and educational programs to help our business customers reduce energy costs without sacrificing either comfort or performance. This is part of our commitment to make your business more energy-efficient, the environment cleaner, and California a more competitive place to do business.

Table of Contents

How Much Energy and Money Can I Save?

Saving energy means saving money. How much money have you saved recently? This guide can help you save more. This guide will give you advice about immediate low-cost steps you can take to save energy and money, and about investments in energy-efficient equipment that may help you save more. You will also find information about resources, services, and incentives that can help you take these low-cost steps and make smart investments.

To prepare this guide our experts have analyzed potential savings for five common buildings in different parts of the state. If your building is like one of these, this guide describes a lot of things you can do to reduce your energy costs. Even if your building is different, you are sure to find cost-cutting actions you can easily take and investments worthy of careful consideration. The possible benefits of smarter energy use are shown in the chart on the next page. The actions that might lead to these benefits are summarized below for each of the five example buildings.

Office Building

Your four-story, 50,000 square foot office building in the San Francisco Bay Area is occupied from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., five days a week. To reduce energy costs, you install efficient lamps and ballasts in all lighting fixtures, along with smart lighting controls. You install programmable thermostats and select efficient air conditioning units when old units are no longer serviceable. You adopt a policy of buying office equipment with the ENERGY STAR®  logo.

Grocery Store

Your single-story, 25,000 square foot grocery store in an Orange County suburb is open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. To reduce energy costs you replace your old open display cases with energy-efficient models that have glass doors. You add floating head pressure controls to reduce the refrigeration system’s condensing temperature. You install efficient lamps and ballasts in all lighting fixtures. You select efficient air conditioning units when the old ones are no longer serviceable.

Restaurant

Your single-story, 8,000 square foot restaurant is near downtown San Francisco. You serve lunch and dinner six days a week; business hours are from 11 a.m. to midnight. To cut energy costs, you adopt efficient schedules for cooking equipment and for lighting in the dining area. In areas occupied by your staff, you install efficient lamps and ballasts. You install programmable thermostats and select efficient air conditioning units when the old ones are no longer serviceable.

Retail Outlet

Your single-story, 15,000 square foot retail outlet near San Luis Obispo sells discount clothing. It is open 12 hours a day, seven days a week. To lower energy costs, you install efficient lamps and ballasts in all lighting fixtures. You install programmable thermostats and select efficient air conditioning units when the old ones are no longer serviceable.

Manufacturing Facility

Your single-story, 30,000 square foot electronics assembly facility in San Diego operates two shifts a day, six days a week. To reduce energy costs, you install efficient lamps and ballasts in all lighting fixtures, along with smart lighting controls. You select efficient air conditioning units when the old ones are no longer serviceable.

Example Buildings

Annual Gas and Electric Bill

Annual Savings From Actions in This Guide*

Initial Investment Cost

Annual Return on Investment*

Office Building

$177,000

$44,000 - $55,000

$105,000 - $127,000

35% - 50%

Restaurant

$60,000

$3,000 - $4,000

$5,000 - $6,000

50% - 80%

Grocery Store

$162,000

$25,000 - $32,000

$39,000 - $47,000

55% - 80%

Retail Outlet

$23,000

$5,000 - $6,000

$15,000 - $18,000

30% - 40%

Manufacturing Facility

$453,000

$21,000 - $26,000

$29,000 - $35,000

60% - 90%

* Costs and savings presented in this guide are approximate and are based upon the features and operation of hypothetical buildings. Return on investment is the percentage of your initial investment that is returned each year as savings on your gas or electric bills. It has been estimated by using average gas and electricity prices and the average cost of efficiency investments. Actual costs, savings, and return on investment for your building will depend on its features and operation.

How Do I Reduce Lighting Costs?

Your lighting energy cost may represent as much as 50 percent of your building's energy bill. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce this cost.

Savings at Low Cost

Here are some things you can do immediately to reduce lighting costs. They may pay for themselves in less than a year.

Remove Excess Lamps

Do you have fluorescent lighting fixtures with three or four lamps? They may provide enough light with only two lamps. First make sure you are getting the best possible light by cleaning the fixtures and replacing any yellowed or hazy lenses and diffusers. Next, interview your staff and other occupants to identify areas where lighting is too bright. Remove lamps until you achieve the best quality light for each area of your building. For the greatest savings, remove the ballasts associated with the lamps you remove. (Older magnetic ballasts and lamps contain toxic materials, so dispose of them properly.)

Turn Off Lights When Not Needed

Lights in storage areas, conference rooms, restrooms, or near windows are often left on even though the space is unoccupied or daylight is sufficient. You can install timers, time clocks, or photocells to ensure that interior and exterior lights are turned off at appropriate times.

Buy Efficient Replacement Lamps

You have an opportunity to save when you buy replacement lamps. Forty-watt fluorescent lamps can be replaced with 34-watt lamps that pro- duce nearly as much light. You can often replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent or halogen lamps. Check the lumen rating on the package and buy lamps that provide approximately the same amount of light. Compact fluorescent lamps cost more, but they last up to ten times as long as incandescent bulbs. Their longer life should reduce the time you spend replacing bulbs.

Investments in New Equipment

You can further reduce lighting costs by investing in more efficient equipment. The kind of annual returns you may achieve from these investments are shown in the chart below.

Lighting Investments

Annual Return on Investment

Occupancy Sensors

55% - 70%

Electronic Ballasts and T-8 Lamps

25% - 35%

LED Exit Signs

30% - 40%

Replace Mercury Vapor Fixtures

20% - 25%

Occupancy Sensors

These sensors use ultrasonic or infrared methods to detect movement. Install them in conference rooms, closets, individual offices, break rooms, or restrooms, and they can turn lights off when these spaces are not occupied. If the lights in these areas are generally left on, occupancy sensors can reduce lighting costs up to 40 percent.

Electronic Ballasts and T-8 Lamps

Your fluorescent fixtures may have older magnetic ballasts and T-12 lamps. Replacing them with electronic ballasts and T-8 lamps can reduce lighting costs up to 30 percent. This investment makes sense when your lighting fixtures are used at least eight hours a day. (The old ballasts and lamps contain toxic materials, so dispose of them properly.)

LED Exit Signs

LED fixtures can replace incandescent lights in exit signs, reducing energy costs for these signs up to 95 percent. Since exit signs typically run constantly, the much longer life and higher efficiency of LED fixtures means substantial energy and maintenance cost savings.

Replace Mercury Vapor Fixtures

Metal halide (MH) or high-pressure sodium (HPS) fixtures can replace mercury vapor fixtures. Replacing a 400-watt mercury vapor fixture with a 250-watt MH or HPS fixture can reduce lighting costs up to 35 percent, without significantly reducing the light provided by each fixture. (Remember to dispose of old mercury vapor lamps properly.)

How Do I Reduce Air Conditioning Costs?

It takes energy to keep you and your customers cool and supplied with fresh air. Lighting and other equipment put out considerable heat that must be removed by the air conditioning system. This makes air conditioning a major energy cost even on mild days. Fortunately, there are many ways you can reduce the cost of keeping cool.

Savings at Low Cost

Here are some things you can do to reduce the cost of air conditioning. They may pay for themselves in less than a year.

Reduce Air Conditioning Hours

Install a time clock to turn off the air conditioning system when your building is not occupied

Adjust Thermostats

Interview your staff and other occupants to find the temperature that is most comfortable and best meets other climate control requirements. You may find that some areas are cooler than they need to be. If a small increase in the temperature setting is warranted, you can significantly cut your cooling costs.

Install Programmable Thermostats

These simple devices give you extensive control over when air conditioning is on and what temperature is maintained. You can save by setting different operating schedules for weekends and weekdays, and different temperatures for occupied and unoccupied periods of each day.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Have your maintenance staff regularly clean condenser coils, change belts and filters, and fix duct leaks. They should also check for proper economizer operation and adequate refrigerant levels. If you properly maintain your air conditioning system it will run more efficiently, save energy, and last longer.

Control Exhaust Fan

These fans remove air you have already paid to cool. Your air conditioning contractor can install timers and switches to shut them off when they are not needed, such as when your building is unoccupied.

Investing in New Equipment

You can further reduce air conditioning costs by investing in more efficient equipment. The kind of annual returns you may achieve from these investments are shown in the chart below.

Air Conditioning Investments

Annual Return on Investment

High-Efficiency Air Conditioners

25% - 35%

Evaporative Coolers

25% - 35%

Energy Management System (EMS)

30% - 40%

Adjustable Speed Drives (ASDs)

30% - 40%

High-Efficiency Motors

35% - 45%

High-Efficiency Air Conditioners

Specify high-efficiency air conditioning equipment when your system needs to be replaced. Look for a high SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) or, on larger units, EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio). You can purchase units with SEER above 12 or EER above 11.

Evaporative Coolers

These units make use of the cooling effect of evaporating water. They cost less to run than air conditioners, but they do have limitations. Some types add moisture to the air and are most effective in low-humidity areas. Evaporative coolers are especially useful for spaces like kitchens that require lots of fresh air from outside.

Energy Management System (EMS)

These systems are especially useful when your air conditioning system is too complex to control with time clocks or programmable thermostats. They let you choose different cooling temperatures for different zones, optimum equipment start and stop times, and control strategies that keep building occupants comfortable while minimizing energy use.

Adjustable Speed Drives (ASDs)

Your air conditioning system has fans that move air throughout your building. You can reduce the cost of operating these fans by installing ASDs, which can change the speed of the fan motors to match the amount of air that is needed.

High-Efficiency Motors

When fan and pump motors need repair, consider replacing them with premium efficiency models. Installation of premium-efficient motors is a simple way to reduce your air conditioning costs

How Do I Reduce Space Heating Costs?

A significant portion of your energy bill can go toward keeping yourself, your employees, and your customers warm. Here are some immediate steps you can take to reduce the cost of space heating. They may pay for themselves in less than a year.

Savings at Low Cost

You can take these actions immediately. They will cost very little and are easily accomplished.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Inspect and patch leaky heating ducts. Fix steam leaks. Clean blower coils and heat exchanger surfaces. Adjust belt drives, dampers, valves, and linkages. A well-maintained heating system runs much more efficiently, not only reducing energy costs but also extending the life of the equipment.

Reduce Heating Hours

Use a time clock to turn the heating system off when your building is not occupied.

Adjust Thermostats

Interview your staff and other occupants to find the temperature that is most comfortable and meets your other climate control requirements. You may find that some areas are kept warmer than they need to be. If a small decrease in the temperature setting is warranted, you can significantly cut your space heating costs.

Install Programmable Thermostats

These simple devices let you save by setting different operating schedules for weekends and weekdays, and different temperatures for occupied and unoccupied periods of each day.

Reduce Heating Load

To help retain heat, you can close curtains, shades, and blinds at night and during unoccupied periods. Keep them open on clear days during the heating season to take advantage of heat from the sun

How Do I Reduce Water Heating Costs?

A portion of your energy bill goes to heat water for restroom, shower, kitchen, and laundry uses. Here are some things you can do immediately to reduce the cost of heating water. These steps may pay for themselves in less than one year.

Savings at Low Cost

Fix Leaks

A single hot water leak of a drop a second can cost up to $1 per month, and you can often fix it in a matter of minutes.

Insulate Hot Water Tanks and Pipes

If hot water tanks and pipes feel warm to the touch, energy is being wasted. You can install insulation blankets on water heaters for as little as $20 per heater.

Lower Thermostat Setting

Manufacturers often set water heaters at 140oF, while 120oF is satisfactory for many common uses. A 10oF reduction in hot water temperature can reduce water-heating energy consumption up to 5 percent.

Use Less Hot Water

Install low-flow shower heads and you can cut the energy cost of showering up to 30 percent. Cut hot water use in lavatory faucets by installing disk-type flow restrictors or aerators.

Install Timers

Timers on electric water heaters can automatically turn them off at night and on in the morning. This will reduce energy lost during the periods when hot water is not required.

How Do I Reduce Office Equipment Costs?

These days, every business has computers, printers, copiers, faxes, and a world of other productivity gadgets. Here are some things you can do to reduce the cost of operating this equipment.

Savings at Low Cost

Choose ENERGY STAR® Products

When upgrading or adding new equipment, look for the ENERGY STAR logo, which indicates that the equipment meets federal standards for energy efficiency. ENERGY STAR products are often available at the same cost as inefficient models.

  • ENERGY STAR PCs power down during periods of inactivity, reducing energy costs up to 50 percent.
  • ENERGY STAR monitors automatically power down when not in use, saving up to 80 percent of energy costs.
  • ENERGY STAR printers power down when inactive, cutting energy costs up to 65 percent.
  • ENERGY STAR fax machines have power management features that can reduce energy costs up to 50 percent.
  • ENERGY STAR copiers can automatically turn off after a specified period of inactivity, reducing energy costs up to 60 percent.

Reduce Operating Hours

Office equipment is often left running unnecessarily. PCs, monitors, printers, copiers, and scanners should be turned off at night and over weekends if they are not needed. Even ENERGY STAR equipment uses energy in sleep mode. Turning off just one computer and monitor nightly and over weekends can save up to $20 a year.

Pick the Right Size Copier

Select a copier that matches your copying demands. A mid-volume copier in a low-volume office can use up to 70 percent more energy per page than an energy-efficient low-volume copier.

How Do I Reduce Cooking Costs?

Most cooking devices are voracious energy consumers. You can reduce costs immediately by reducing the hours they are on. Determine when each piece of equipment has to start up,based on manufacturer's preheating recommendations, and the time they are needed for cooking. Shut off each piece as soon as your operations allow. Whenever practical turn temperatures down, or tun off unused griddle or broiler sections. When it is time to buy new cooking equipment, you can further reduce costs by investing in more energy-efficient equipment. The kind of annual returns you may achieve from these investments are shown in chart below.

Cooking Equipment Investments

Annual Return on Investment

High-Efficiency Griddles

20 % - 35 %

High-Efficiency Fryer

20 % - 35 %

Investing in New Equipment

High-Efficiency Griddles

Efficient griddles can use up to 30 percent less energy than standard units, and they generally do a better job of cooking. Consider high-efficiency units of your griddles operate for a significant portion of each day.

High-efficiency Fryers

Efficient gas fryers can use up to 40 percent less energy than standard units, and efficient electric models can use up to 15 percent less. In addition, they generally do a better job of cooking. Consider high-efficiency units if your fryers operate for a significant portion of each day.

How Do I Reduce Refrigeration Costs?

If your business involves selling or serving food, a significant portion of your energy bill goes toward keeping the food refrigerated. In grocery stores, this can account for more than half of the total cost of energy.

Savings at Low Cost

Here are things you can do immediately to reduce refrigeration costs that may pay for themselves in less than one year.

Perform Regular Maintenance

Clean condenser coils monthly and check for the proper amount of refrigerant. Check gaskets and latches on doors to be sure they close completely and form an airtight seal. Replace deteriorating or missing insulation on suction lines. Every year, have a professional refrigeration equipment service give your system a thorough checkup.

Turn Off Lights in Walk-in Refrigerators

Unnecessary lighting not only wastes lighting energy, but also gives off heat that must be removed by the refrigeration system. Consider replacing incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent lamps that use less energy and give off less heat. Buy lamps that are rated for use at low temperatures.

Add Strip Curtains

Refrigerated spaces and display cases with no doors lose much of their cooling effect to the surrounding air. This makes the system work harder and use more energy. Strip curtains cut energy loss and increase equipment life.

Defrost Regularly

Frost buildup acts as an insulator and makes it more difficult for the refrigerator to remove heat from the case. This makes it run longer to keep products cold or frozen. The defrost cycle melts accumulated ice and lets the refrigerator operate more efficiently.

Investing in New Equipment

You can further reduce refrigeration costs by investing in more energy-efficient equipment. The kind of annual returns you may achieve from these investments are shown in the chart below.

Refrigeration Investments

Annual Return on Investment

Glass Doors for Refrigerated Cases

55 % - 65 %

Efficiency Case Lighting

50 % - 65 %

High-Efficiency Refrigeration Cases

50 % - 65 %

Floating Head Pressure Control

55 % - 65 %

High-Efficiency Compressors

40 % - 50 %

Glass Doors for Refrigerated Cases

By installing glass doors on refrigerated display cases you can reduce their energy costs up to 50 percent. Further benefits include more constant case temperature and less product spoilage.

Efficient Case Lighting

Replacing case lighting with efficient electronic ballasts and T-8 lamps saves lighting energy. It also reduces the amount of heat that has to be removed by the refrigeration system.

High-Efficient Refrigeration Cases

If your refrigeration cases are getting old, consider replacing them with high-efficiency models whose energy-efficient lighting, glass doors, and other features reduce energy costs.

Floating Head Pressure Control

Add controls to reduce your refrigeration system's condensing temperature and you can reduce refrigeration energy costs up to 10 percent.

High-Efficiency Compressors

When you need to replace refrigeration compressors, consider buying high-efficiency units.

Who Can Help Me Save?

Your utility offers many programs and services that can help you save. Check the map on the back page of this guide to find your utility and the telephone number to call. Web site addresses are shown next to the telephone numbers. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can help you save time as well as money and energy. You may also be able to take advantage of programs and services offered by the federal government and private companies. Telephone numbers and web site addresses that will connect you with these resources are listed throughout this section.

Energy Accounting – How Big Is Your Energy Bill?

A good way to begin saving energy is to start with a little energy accounting. Do you know what you spent last year for electricity and gas? Was it more or less than you will spend this year? Energy accounting can also be useful after you have taken a number of steps toward saving energy. Are you spending less? Is there more that you can do? Here are some tips and available services that will help you accomplish this energy accounting work.

  • You can find energy accounting services on some of the web sites that appear on the back of this guide. Enter your account numbers and get the history of charges for each account. Call your utility or contact them via the Internet for more information about these services.
  • If you have more than one building, compare energy costs to find the buildings most in need of help. Divide energy cost by floor area before comparing, just as you would when comparing rental cost per square foot.
  • You can also look at the changes in your energy costs from month to month. Big shifts in monthly costs may indicate problems with the operation of a building.

Energy Audits – Find Out How To Save

An energy audit could give you more information about what actions will be cost-effective for your building. During an energy audit, information is collected about the specific equipment installed in your building and how it is operated. Based on this information an energy efficiency expert can recommend exactly what actions you should take to save the most money. This guide has already presented many low-cost steps to save energy, and you can take these steps immediately. But before making major investments in new equipment, an energy audit is a prudent step. Here are some tips on how to arrange for an energy audit.

  • Your utility may be able to provide a free energy audit. Call them or contact them via the Internet for more information about this service.
  • If you operate a manufacturing business and have an annual energy bill of more than $75,000, you may also be eligible for a free audit from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Engineering faculty and students from the closest U.S. DOE Industrial Assessment Center will perform the audit. Visit the web site www.oit.doe.gov/iac for more information.
  • You can also hire a private consultant to perform an energy audit. Check the Yellow Pages under Energy Management and Conservation Consultants, or ask other business owners or property man-agers that have already had an audit.

Rebates for New Equipment – Getting a Check for Making the Efficient Choice

A little daunted by the cost of high- efficiency equipment? Your small business can get help from a program offered by California's investor-owned utilities called Express Efficiency. It offers rebates on many types of equipment including lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, food service, motors, water heaters, boilers, and various types of automatic controls.

Get an application for the Express Efficiency program by calling your utility or visiting its web site listed on the back of this guide. Your business is eligible for this program if your maximum electric demand is less than 500 kW or you use less than 20,800 therms of gas each month, and you meet all the other program requirements. Contact your utility for more details.

Performance Contracting – Let Someone Else Do It for You

What is Performance Contracting? Here are the basics. There are private firms that will audit your building, identify how you can reduce energy costs, specify the equipment that is needed, finance the project, install the equipment, and guarantee that it will operate properly. Often these firms are called ESCOs (Energy Service Companies). Generally, the ESCO shares the financial risk associated with the project and in return keeps some of the savings on your energy bill.

The state's three investor-owned electric utilities have teamed up to offer the statewide Small Business Standard Performance Contract program. This program is funded from ratepayer money and is subject to annual approval by the California Public Utilities Commission. This program buys energy savings from ESCOs. An ESCO can use the payment to help structure an attractive project for you. The amount paid for savings depends on the type of efficiency investments that are implemented. Call your utility or contact it via the Internet for more information about this program.

Equipment Financing – Lenders Who Like Energy Efficiency Investments

If you don't want to deal with an ESCO and you don't have the cash, you may want to borrow the money you need to make an investment in energy savings. There are a number of lenders interested in these types of projects. You can obtain a list of lenders near you from the ENERGY STAR Small Business program, a program funded by your tax dollars. Contact this program by calling 1-888-STAR-YES or visit the web site www.epa.gov/smallbiz (follow the link to MONEY). The program provides a directory of participating lenders who are ready to talk about your project. In addition, the directory will help you find lenders that offer loans backed by the Small Business Administration.

Efficient Equipment – Facts and Figures About the Latest Energy Efficient Equipment

The utilities have been conducting energy efficiency programs for many years and are constantly researching the latest products and equipment. If you need to know more about efficient air conditioning equipment or available lighting products or anything else related to energy efficiency, start with your utility. Much of this information is available on the web sites listed on the back of this guide. The federal ENERGY STAR program is also a good source of information. If you want to know more about equipment that has earned an ENERGY STAR label you can call 1-888-STAR-YES or visit the web site www.epa.gov/energystar.

Information About Suppliers, Sellers and Installers of Energy-Efficient Equipment

You have done your research. You know what equipment you need. You have the money all lined up. What's next? You have to find a firm that sells the equipment, and probably a firm to install it, or maybe one that does both. You can find information about suppliers on some of the web sites that appear on the back page of this guide. If you are looking for stores that feature ENERGY STAR equipment, call 1-888-STAR-YES or visit the web site www.epa.gov/energystar. This site has a store locator. Tell it where you are and what equipment you need. It gives you a list of stores selling ENERGY STAR equipment in your area.

Education and Training Programs That Show You What To Do and How

To Do It Sometimes it is just not enough to get writ- ten materials or scan the web. When you need more assistance and someone to teach you or your staff about a specific energy efficiency topic, your utility may have the solution. Your utility operates special facilities to provide hands-on experience and other types of training related to energy efficiency techniques and products. Call your utility or contact them via the Internet for more information about these education and training services.

Quick Resource Guide

For more information about energy efficiency resources, services, and incentives, contact the organizations listed below. If you visit these web sites, you can find links to many other web sites that provide information about energy-efficient practices, products, and services.


This brochure is provided for your general information and is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular product or company. This brochure was funded by California utility customers and was prepared by the state's investor-owned utilities, under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.

 
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