US gas prices are at a record high. There is no one reason for this, it’s more like a perfect storm of global events that has conspired to drive down supply while at the same time increasing demand. Unfortunately, there is also a good chance that the price at the pump has not yet peaked. We are just entering the summer travel season which is expected to be very busy this year. People who missed out on vacations during the pandemic are eager to make up for lost time. For these and other reasons, experts say prices are going to go higher and stay high for quite some time. Those circumstances aren’t going to change any time soon and are likely to keep prices there for the rest of the year and beyond.
For commercial building owners, this will translate into higher fuel and electricity costs this summer and into winter, significantly higher. In anticipation of these fuel increases, smart building owners are taking a look at smarter solutions to building energy consumption. It’s way easier to justify the ROI on an equipment upgrade when the cost savings potential is now huge.
Consider the following chart of gas prices:
With average gas prices expected to top $5.00 a gallon nationally, that means a conservative estimate of average fuel price increases into the winter of 2022 vs. 2021 is $5.00 vs. $3.35 or almost a 50% increase in fuel bills.
The Time is NOW to Take Energy Saving Steps
There are a number of things commercial building managers can do to get ahead of winter heating bills, ranging from the very easy and relatively cheap, and the very costly wholesale replacement of old equipment. The good news is that whatever you decide to do, the cost of it will be way easier to justify based on the dollars you’ll save this winter. Since we’re just coming into summer, the timing is perfect for the forward-thinking building manager to do upgrades to heating systems.
Here’s some ideas to consider, starting with the simplest to the most comprehensive.
- Get your building’s heating systems, risers, radiators, and boilers inspected by a professional HVAC engineering company. Make sure they deal with commercial properties exclusively. This will help identify the low hanging fruit in your heating system, and present you a number of options for upgrades that you can perform gradually starting with the most impactful and least expensive, to the most expensive.
- Have your HVAC professional perform an inspection and cleaning of your system. Replacing simple things like old radiator valves, filters, and lubricating belts and blowers and inspecting your boilers, can make a big difference in heating efficiency. Typically this is done in the fall so the HVAC technician can fire up the boiler for testing.
- Consider an energy management system of some kind. For heating systems, the installation of something like the Heat-Timer® Platinum Series Internet Control, acts like an energy management subcontractor for the heating systems in your building. This option has several attributes that make it perfect to consider if you are still concerned about upgrade costs and building disruption.
- The Platinum Series Internet Controls use wireless apartment sensors and are fully internet and mobile controllable. Installation does not require major boiler room or building disruption, perfect for older buildings.
- Platinum Controls work on any boiler type or boiler configuration and both steam and hot water systems. They work with multiple boiler systems as well.
- Platinum Controls use self-learning algorithms and control points far beyond the capability of boiler integrated efficiency measures. They can be paired with any boiler no matter how old or new it is and will still produce a savings of 20% to 40% on your monthly heating bills.
- Platinum Controls with Internet and Wireless capability allow you to completely modernize your heating maintenance and control through internet access, mobile app, and automated email and SMS alarm notification. They centrally organize all the buildings in your portfolio.
4. Look at the age and efficiency of your boiler and the sizing and condition of your ductwork and/or risers. While replacing these items can become labor intensive and expensive, sometimes it is worth the investment.
There are many other elements large and small that can make incremental improvements to your Heating system efficiency, all dependent on the particular configuration of your building. Again, an inspection by a qualified professional and the installation of a high quality heating control is always a great place to start.
For further information on Heat-Timer® Platinum Series Controls, please visit https://heat-timer.com