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10 minutes of work will save you 10% on energy bills

 
Typically, when we think about saving energy on a building wide level, we think about what changes can we make at a building wide level. But with 10 minutes of work in actual apartments and spaces, typically you can save 10 percent of your energy bill.
 
 

Small changes inside apartments can bring large energy savings.

How does that work? With a central heating system, you're creating heat to send to the entire building. That heating system has to run enough to make the coldest apartment warm. If we can fix the issues in each individual apartment and make the coldest apartment warmer, we can send less heat to the entire building, which saves us a lot of energy and saves us a lot of money.
 
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So, what are the common things we have to look for and fix in individual spaces or apartments to make sure that they're prepared for winter?

This short checklist will save you 10% or more on your energy bill:

1. The first one is the most obvious, and it's just making sure windows are closed. I know it sounds crazy, but you'd be shocked at the percentage of windows that are just slightly open at the top and bottom.

2. The next thing that's the biggest offender in most units is window ACs. I hear this all the time, owners and operators are building say to me, it's not my responsibility - that's the tenant's responsibility to take their AC out or deal with it. I say that's true, except it's probably costing you $20,000 to $30,000 more on your entire building energy bill because they're being left in.
 
"If you end up spending money on energy efficiency improvements, most local utilities will give you rebates."
My recommendation is you either take the window ACs out for your tenants and put them back in in the spring, or you buy a high R insulation AC cover that properly seals off the window AC. They usually cost about $40 to $60 and they will pay you back about 10 times that on your central heating bill.
 
3. The third thing that we want to look for are closed off or broken radiator valves. You need to make sure every radiator valve is fully open. If we want to properly heat the entire building, we need all the radiators open so we can run the minimum amount of heat needed to get every apartment maximally warm.

4. The next thing you want to look for is if there's some obstruction in front of or over radiators.
If one apartment has a huge wooden box built over its radiator, that apartment's going to be a lot colder than an apartment without it, and therefore you're going to have to overheat the entire building just to make that one apartment warm.
 
smart controls show the coldest apartments

5. If there's a radiator in the space with an air vent, you want to make sure that air vent properly working. So often I see air valves that are like 50 years old and completely broken or completely painted over, which makes them non functional. If air can't get out of the radiator, then it blocks the heat getting into the radiator, making the space colder, which then leads to the tenant complaining, the building boosting its heat and wasting a lot of energy and money.
 
So many think that making changes to a building's energy efficiency has to cost a ton of money. The beauty of fixing all of these in unit issues is that it can save a ton of energy for the entire building and cost virtually nothing to do.
 

Smart controls make the process faster, save more energy, and utilities will pay to install them.

While checking every apartment once a year will get you a huge way to your goal, the other nice thing is if you have a smart control installed in your building you'll automatically know where the coldest apartments are and you can attack those first.
 
Because smart controls routinely saving 15%-20% in energy, utilities offer rebates to have them installed. You can check to see if your building is eligible here.