Things to Do Right Away
- Turn off machines and equipment when not in use.
- Seal off unused areas and do not cool these areas.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room.
- The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE) recommends keeping your thermostat set between 73 and 78 degrees (A rule of thumb: every one-degree increase in temperature is equivalent to a 3-percent savings in your cooling costs).
- Reduce hot water settings while maintaining an acceptable operating temperature.
- Make sure outside air ventilation is not above recommended levels.
- Use fans (ceiling, attic or window) where appropriate to circulate air; moving air feels cooler.
Defend Your Building From the Sun
The first line of defense is to block the sun’s direct rays by:
- Drawing blinds and drapes during the day and opening them at night.
- Applying window films on the south and west sides of the building.
- Installing awnings on the south and west sides of the building.
- Planting trees and other types of vegetation to shade the building.
Heat can also enter your building by other means. Block it by:
- Installing light-colored roofs (if your roof does not need to be replaced you can apply a light-colored coating).
- Adding ceiling insulation (ASHRAE recommends R-values between 25 and 30).
- Improving attic ventilation (since temperatures soar in the attic, make sure your vents are open and operational or install a fan near the top for increased ventilation).
- Keeping exterior doors closed as much as possible.
- Sealing heating and cooling ductwork (use duct tape, mastic, or caulk to seal areas such as joints and elbows).
- Sealing exterior cracks and holes (install weather-stripping and caulk in small cracks in the walls, windows, floors, doors, and ceilings).
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficients [SHGC] of 0.4 or less and a Visible Transmittance of 0.6 or greater).
Go On the Offensive
Strengthening your building against the summer sun (decreasing your buildings cooling load by eliminating unnecessary heat gains to the building) will allow your air-conditioning system to operate using less energy while providing maximum cooling comfort! The most important aspect of load reduction will be the ability to right-size your equipment to smaller, more energy-efficient models.
Install a packaged air-conditioning unit or heat pump system that employs higher efficiency compressors, larger condensers, evaporators, and variable speed drives for the fans. Most currently installed packaged units have an energy-efficiency rating (EER) of less than 9 (EER is defined as cooling capacity divided by power requirements). New packaged units have EER ratings as high as 13 – the higher the better!
Don’t Forget – Maintenance
Maintaining your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system is important for high efficiency and low operating costs:
- Replace or clean reusable air filters regularly to minimize resistance to airflow.
- Keep all cooling coils clean to maintain efficiency.
- Ask your HVAC contractor to check refrigerant levels.
- Use ceiling fans (blades should rotate clockwise in the summer months to draw cooler air up from the floor).
- Use fans to draw cooler air inside during the night and to circulate air during the day. (The effectiveness of night cooling depends on whether your area experiences a significant drop in temperature and low humidity levels at night.)