What to do before the Onsite Assessment:
- Find any spare light bulbs you have, so auditors don't need to climb ladders to examine light fixtures.
- Find out about who is responsible for the heating and cooling system in the building.
- Find out what your business' policy is (and whether it is implemented) regarding power management of computers (talk to the IT staff).
- Arrange to have those responsible for heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) and other maintenance available for questions during the assessment.
What to expect from the Onsite Assessment:
Staff from SF Environment's Energy group will go over the "Energy" portion of the checklist with you and ask you to furnish supporting documentation for all measures "checked off" on your checklist. Your business will pass the audit if the minimum number of required measures is already in place. If not, SFGB staff will give you recommendations on how to implement other measures to meet GB criteria. If there are opportunities for energy efficiency improvements, SF Environment Staff may direct you to the San Francisco Energy Watch program, which would entitle you to a free, in-depth audit of facility energy use, and rebates for upgrading to more energy efficient measures.
Please use the following resources to help your business implement and meet the San Francisco Green Business energy efficiency standards.
- Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC)
- Computer Power Management
- Appliances and Refrigeration
- Additional Resource List
Lighting is often the most-effective way to reduce energy demand, and the incentives make the changes an even better deal. In almost all tenant/landlord relationships, the tenant has a good degree of control over the lighting. Therefore, many energy requirements may be on the lighting side. The San Francisco Green Business Program is well ahead of the curve- we allow almost no incandescent lighting for use in recognized green businesses, except when used for spot lighting in a retail environment. There is talk of outlawing incandescent lighting in the state, so now is a good time to get started. First identify which light bulbs you use. Here are the most common types:
The standard incandescent is the most common light bulb. This is the pear-shaped bulb you have seen more than any other. The label should have a wattage listed, most commonly in the 60-100 W range. These must be replaced as part of the Green Business program. Compact fluorescent bulbs are the easiest replacement.
Common halogen bulbs are large flood lamps with a screw-in bases, or bipin bulbs that go into track or recessed light fixtures. Replace the screw-in bulbs with compact fluorescents, and the bi-pin based bulbs with a lower wattage (IR/infrared) version of the same type halogen. Remove any non-spotlighting halogen fixtures with ones that will accept screw-in CFLs. Be sure to get dimmable CFLs if the fixture uses a dimmer.
- Compact Fluorescent
There are three common types of compact fluorescent bulbs. The first (3.1) looks quite similar to the standard incandescent, with the exception of a larger base that holds the ballast of the compact fluorescent. The second (3.2) common type is the spiral cone, which is often hidden in the other behind frosted glass. The third type is the two-pin based lamp. These are commonly used in industrial applications, and are very common in the recessed reflective cans seen in many offices. When choosing a compact fluorescent, be skeptical of the lamps that aren't Energy Star certified. . Be sure to get bulbs that have a high color rendering index (CRI), which is on a scale of 1-100. Also look for the color temperature on the label. A ‘warm white' lamp would be closest to the color of an incandescent, at about 2700 K. If you'd like brighter, whiter light closer to daylight, look for color temperatures in the 300K and up range. Note that compact fluorescents are also made in PAR and R type shapes to replace halogens (3.3).
- Linear Fluorescent Lamps(Figure 4)
These are the most common fluorescents in non-residential applications. The long thin tubes that we see in warehouses, offices, and businesses everywhere are very efficient, but there are a few types: the T-12 ,the T-8, and the T-5 lamp. The T-12 has a diameter of 1.5 inches, the T8 , 1 inch, and the T-5 is 5/8 inch in diameter. The older T12 lamps require magnetic ballasts, while T8s and T5s typically use the more efficient electronic ballasts.
The SF Green Business program allows no T12 lamps or magnetic ballasts, and the City of San Francisco will soon outlaw them as well. The T12/magnetic ballast combination uses more energy, has higher levels of toxic materials, and puts out less light. Get rid of these systems before it's too late!
- Exit Signs (Figure 5)
The San Francisco green business program requires that energy efficient exit signs be used in businesses seeking certification. It is sometimes difficult to tell which kind you have without opening the sign. Look for a strip of tiny red or green lights to indicate that you have an LED sign, one or two two-pin bulbs that indicate you have an incandescent sign, or two bulbs that look like compact fluorescents to indicate a CFL sign (fig 5.1) . The incandescent bulbs are usually 15-25 W each, and are labeled as such.
- Occupancy Sensors (Figure 6)
For spaces with variable occupancy, like restrooms, conference, rooms, storage rooms, hotel bathrooms, and lockers, consider using occupancy sensors. When doing a survey of your facility's energy use, look for places where lights are on and no one is home. If these are spaces that are empty for long periods and have short bursts of use, they could be a good fit for an occupancy sensor. There are many options for the sensors: most used in commercial settings have a sensor integrated into the switch. In guest bathrooms, you might use a sensor with an integrated LED nightlight, so that guests don't have to leave the light on in order to find their way to the restroom at night. For spaces with one owner (like a private office) it is simpler and cheaper to educate the users to turn off lights themselves.
2. Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC)
These are the points most often skipped in the checklist. Depending on your business' situation in the building (tenant, owner, subletter, etc) you will have zero to complete control over the heating and cooling systems. If you are a tenant in a multi tenant building, the building manager is likely to have chosen the systems, and maintains them, in which case, you as a tenant would be responsible only for the setpoints (76ºF for cooling and 68ºF for heating) on your thermostats. However, if you own the building, you would be expected to answer all questions regarding HVAC equipment and maintenance.
An example of a building owner doing a stellar job on the HVAC side is the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). They were recognized as a Green Business in March 2007. They own their building in the Van Ness corridor and have a dedicated, well-educated facilities' manager who knows the building in and out. He understands the system components and makes replacements, choosing the most efficient equipment available. They perform regular maintenance and keep detailed logs. The building also has an Energy Management System (EMS), which allows for detailed checks to ensure that all components are working as expected.
Another example is the small business owner who rents in a small office building. They have only about 300 square feet of office space, with only a radiator heating system. In this case the building owner/manager controls the central plant (in this case, only a boiler) and all related maintenance. The small business owner is only able to set the temperature at the thermostat in the space. In this case the only real option for controlling HVAC energy use is adjusting the setpoint to 68 ºF in heating. Similarly, in the identical tenant relationship, with both heating and cooling, only the tenant controlled measures would apply in the HVAC section.
A third example is the home office, in which the business owner owns the home. In this case the business owner is responsible for all heating and cooling points, though it is unlikely that they have air conditioning. Maintenance issues, as well as the selection of energy efficient equipment, are possible points.
3. Computer Power Management
Computers are serious energy consumers, especially considering the amount of time they sit unused: while you are at a meeting, lunch, or even home for the evening. Many people assume that the screen savers indicate that the computer is in low power mode, but in fact there is little savings. Still others believe that turning the computer off and one uses more energy. Neither is true. In order to ensure that your systems are powered down, take the following steps:
- For a Windows system: Look under Start window, then Settings, then control panels, then power management. From here decide how long the computer would wait until turning off the monitor (mine is set at 10 minutes) and the CPU (mine is set at 30 minutes).
- For an Apple system, go to ‘System Preferences', then ‘Energy Saver', then ‘Sleep'. From here you can either set a threshold for the entire system (monitor and CPU) or for each component separately. For the green business program, monitors should sleep after 15 minutes, and CPUs after 30 minutes. If you are a very large business with an IT manager dedicated to installing software through the network, consider network power management. SF Environment can provide more information on these tools.
There are rebates available through SF Energy Watch for network-enabled computer power management.
4. Appliances and Refrigeration
The SF Green Business program recommends replacing refrigerators at the end of their life- unless you are still using one from before 1993, in which case you should get rid of it as soon as possible. When you are ready to purchase a new refrigerator or freezer, be sure to purchase Energy Star certified models. See Energy Star's website to find an Energy Star model from your preferred brand.
For commercial refrigerators, as used in restaurants and hotels, rebates are available through PG & E's Express Program. Rebate requirements for energy efficient appliances are set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. Check here to find a qualifying model, and contact SF Energy Watch to inquire about rebate levels and advice on selection.
The Food Service Technology Center: is also a great resource for restaurants to find energy and water efficient appliances for their kitchens.
There are rebates available for all of the changes discussed above. The San Francisco Department of the Environment, in a partnership with PG&E, provides free energy audits, reports, technical assistance, and rebates, for all commercial and multifamily customers in San Francisco. An auditor can come to your commercial or multi-family building to examine your energy consuming equipment, and will later present a report detailing recommended changes, anticipated cost savings, and rebate levels. Auditors from SF Energy Watch will be educated on the SF Green Business Program, and will make recommendations that will ensure a ‘pass' on the energy checklist. Consider contacting the SF Energy Watch program first, and we will refer you to PG&E's Express Efficiency program for measures not covered in our programs.
6. Additional Resource List