May 30, 2018 | Trends, Technology, Industry

Managing Your Workplace Temperature With a Programmable Thermostat

Has your business switched to a programmable thermostat yet? If it hasn’t, you could be missing out on a simple and effective way to lower your annual energy expenses.

There are numerous ways for a business to save on energy costs and secure a lower electric bill. Some of the most popular ways are ensuring proper insulation, adding weather stripping, turning off the lights when not in use, and adjusting the temperature at the end of the work day. The easiest way to regulate your temperature is with a programmable thermostat.

A programmable thermostat can be a great energy saver. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simply turning down your thermostat by 7º -10º within an 8-hour period can save your business as much as 10% a year in energy costs. Before you object that you will either freeze or roast your customers and employees by adjusting your thermostat by 10º, the temperature adjustment is made after the close of business and before opening again in the morning. These adjusted temperatures will only be experienced by empty desks and idle office equipment while your business is closed.

Thermostat Operation

By using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heat or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) which you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program. This practice will keep your electricity consumption down and is considerably more reliable than manual adjustment which can be easily forgotten.

One of the most common misconceptions about thermostats is that they somehow make a heating system work harder than normal to bring a room back to a comfortable temperature. First, a thermostat is really nothing more than a fancy on/off switch. When the internal thermometer inside the thermostat measures a temperature that is below its set minimum, the unit sends an electronic signal to the furnace telling it to turn on and start sending heat — in the form of either hot air or hot water — to the specific area or zone in the building where the thermostat is located.

As soon as the temperature in that part of the building reaches a certain point, the thermostat sends another signal to the furnace to turn off. It’s as simple as that. Thermostats don’t control the temperature of the water or air a furnace produces. Rather, thermostats control how long a heating system produces heat.
So, for example, if you were to set your office thermostat to maintain a constant temperature of 70º and then open all the windows and doors to let in cooler 55º outside air, your heating system will still only produce as much heat as it is set for. No more, no less.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the furnace has no idea that the windows are open and will continue to run and run and run… trying desperately, yet never actually reaching the 70º mark. Knowing the proper settings for your building is important. Always consult with your energy contractor to make sure your building HVAC is properly monitoring your energy consumption.

Set It and Forget It

The best thing about installing a programmable thermostat in your business is that once you’ve set it up based on how and when your building is normally occupied, you generally don’t have to bother with it again. This eliminates the inconvenience of re-setting the temperature morning and evening, as well as the annoyance of arriving at work in the morning to a building that is too cold or too hot.

While it may take a few tweaks to set the temperature at a point where everyone is comfortable, the real value comes from its ability to shut off the heating or A/C system when the building is empty — after hours and on weekends. Then, come Monday morning, the system will automatically bring the temperature back up (or down) before the first employee arrives back at work.

How Albireo Can Help

A programmable thermostat can help greatly reduce your business’ energy consumption. Albireo is an energy consulting firm that can help you become energy efficient. With more than 10 years of experience in deregulated energy markets throughout the country, Albireo is a leader in energy management for thousands of businesses. Our experts are available to meet with you and discuss all our available energy services. Reach out to us today at [email protected] or call 800-201-3153. Let Albireo power your business.

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