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As business electric rates continue to rise, new electricity work regulations becoming effective in just a few months (October, 2013) may cut down usage a bit; at least in new construction.

Businesses are going to be forced to embrace the new regulations for any new construction and renovations. These changes are all designed for improved energy efficiency which will ultimately save some money on utility bills. There is another simpler way of saving money on energy bills if you’re in a deregulated state. Switching energy suppliers generally yields savings of from 10% – 20% and sometimes much more.

This article was originally published in Worship Tech Decisions but applies to any non-residential facility.

Amp Up Lighting Controls Now – Important Energy Deadline Looming for Commercial Buildings

With more stringent building codes on the way, new buildings and many retrofits need to implement better and more extensive lighting control.

By Steven Castle
energy savings

If you’re planning a new building or renovation project in the United States in next few years, there’s a good chance your building will have plenty of automated lighting features.

Lighting controls such as occupancy sensors, automated stairwell and exterior lighting, parking garage lighting and automated daylight controls are a big part of more stringent building energy codes set to be put in place by many states this October. For most commercial buildings, lighting amounts to one-third of the electricity used.

In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy required that states update their building energy codes to meet or exceed ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) 90.1-2010 codes, which amp up lighting controls over the previous 2007 version. States have a deadline of Oct. 18, 2013 to certify that they have updated the provisions of their commercial building codes regarding energy efficiency.

Similar codes such as 2012 IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) and California’s Title 24 2008 Part 6 are considered as stringent as ASHRAE 90.1-2010.

ASHRAE and IECC codes can be very similar. “A lot of provisions in the ASHRAE codes are proposed and incorporated into IECC and can be considered parallel documents that borrow from each other,” says David Karmol, vice president for Government Relations for the International Code Council (ICC) that develops the IECC and International Building Codes adopted by many states.

“Buildings that are constructed today by the latest energy codes are about 30 percent more efficient than the average new home or building and add only 1 percent to 2 percent in construction costs,” says Eric Lind, vice president of Specification Solutions at Lutron Electronics.

The ASHRAE 90.1-2010 codes contain a lot more lighting control requirements that were not in the 2007 version, including:

  • Occupancy sensors with manual-on or auto-on to not more than 50 percent in most spaces.
  • Automatic daylight control.
  • Light reduction control (bi-level lighting or dimming).
  • Stairwell lighting control.
  • Functional testing of controls.

The Big Deal in Occupancy Sensing

Under the newer ASHRAE code, the biggest change in lighting control for buildings is far more occupancy sensing. “The addition of occupancy sensor requirements in a number of specific applications is expected to result in significant energy savings,” says Doug Hall, senior product manager for control company AMX. “This is a big deal, as it adds occupancy sensor requirements for many specific applications.”

Read the full article at Worship Tech Decisions

There is a nice slide show depicting the new electricity work regulations as part of this original article. The bottom line is that there are numerous ways of cutting energy expenses. Some will cost you up-front and save you later like the new laws will require.

Aside from new construction, how else can I save on electricity costs?

Getting a free energy audit from an energy consultant can initiate ongoing savings without any up-front costs. For a no cost, no obligation electric rate analysis



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