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How to reduce your energy bills 22/09/2014

Evaporative cooling is a cheap, effective way to ventilate and cool any working or domestic space. However, there’s no denying that they do come with running costs, even if they are up to 80% cheaper than refrigerated air conditioners.

For some companies, cooling is a significant part of their budget, particularly if working in the information technology sector where cooled server rooms are an essential to continued operations. For big organisations like Google, cooling is their second largest expense, which goes to show how important it is to their business.

The best way any business can reduce their cooling costs is to ensure that their system is fully optimised. Every school, office, shop, sports centre or factory is completely different, and an efficient cooling system should be specifically designed for those unique needs.  Incorrectly set up systems, or – indeed – the wrong kind of system altogether could mean throwing money down the drain.

There are a few simple steps that can help reduce bills. One would be to cool to a slightly higher temperature than normal. Each degree of temperature saved equates to a significant percentage saving on the cooling budget, and – if you’ve got green targets to consider – a similar saving on power use. Naturally, you have to consider the comfort of employees and visitors, not to mention legal obligations and the operating temperatures of any equipment. But if everything’s fine to cool a little less, then it’s worth the attempt. Google admit that they run their server rooms at a higher temperature than other IT companies, and this returns a significant green saving.

Another way to save is to not run your cooling 24/7. If you’re not using a room or building round the clock, consider switching off cooling when it’s not in use. This may not be practical if equipment needs to stay cool, but there’s no need to cool humans when the humans aren’t present.

– Inspect your equipment regularly. Check for wear and tear, and make sure your filters don’t need replacing. Clogged filters make the system work harder!

– Insulate your buildings. This is what’s known as a no-brainer. Insulation keeps heat in during winter, and prevents cool air escaping during summer.

– Eliminate heat sources. Are computers routinely left on? Switch them off when they’re not being used – otherwise they’re using power doubly. First in the electricity to run them, and second in the cooling system to deal with the warm air they produce.

These are straightforward ideas that could suit any business. If you’re not considering them, give them a go and start counting the savings.

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