Conservation Tips

Office equipment

  • Turn off PCs, monitors, printers, and copiers nightly and on weekends. If unable to switch off the entire computer, turn off the monitor and printer.
  • When purchasing PCs, monitors, printers, fax machines and copiers, consider buying Energy Star models that can switch to a power-saving mode when not in use.
  • If feasible, use laptop computers where possible, as they consume 90 percent less energy than desktop computers.
  • Ink-jet printers also consume 90 percent less energy than laser printers -- consider using them wherever possible.
  • Paper-reducing strategies, such as double-sided printing, re-using paper, and using e-mail instead of sending memos or faxing documents not only save energy, but conserve other resources, such as staff time.

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  • Turn off non-essential and decorative lighting, especially in unoccupied areas.
  • Replace flickering, dim and burned-out lamps.
  • Clean fixtures and diffusers (at least annually).
  • Color-code or mark light switches and circuit breakers that can be turned off when not needed.
  • Use task lighting to directly illuminate work areas.
  • Lower the height of light fixtures if possible to increase usable light.
  • Replace burned out lamps with lower wattage lamps or energy-saving lamps wherever possible.
  • Replacing incandescent lighting systems with compact fluorescent and/or high-pressure fixtures.
  • Replace existing T12 lighting systems with energy-efficient T8 lighting and electronic ballasts.
  • Install more efficient security and parking lot lighting. High-pressure sodium fixtures are more efficient than metal halide, mercury vapor, fluorescent or incandescent fixtures.
  • Install time clocks or photoelectric cells to control exterior lighting, advertising sign lighting and some interior lighting.
  • Paint dark walls and ceilings with lighter colors to maximize the effect of existing light sources.
  • Maximize natural lighting by installing skylights or windows.
  • Install dimmer or occupancy switches where appropriate to lower energy use such as in stairwells, copy rooms, restrooms.
  • Schedule janitorial services during the day, or use a minimum number of lights when cleaning.
  • Color-code switches that should remain off when crews are cleaning.
  • Implement a group re-lamping schedule, and re-lamp at 70% of rated lamp life. Lamps that run longer than 70% of their rated life actually cost more in terms of energy use.
  • Trim bushes and trees away from outdoor lighting to maximize illumination and prevent shadows.

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Heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC)systems

  • Keep vents closed in unoccupied areas to prevent heating or cooling of storage areas and closets.
  • Reduce fresh air intake to the minimum necessary for the type of business.
  • Treat water in evaporative condensers regularly.
  • Replace old HVAC systems with new energy-efficient systems.
  • Install paddle fans, stratotherm fans, or other re-circulating systems to create air movement. Ceiling temperatures can often be 30 to 40 degrees higher than floor temperatures, and air movement from fans can enhance the cooling ability of air conditioning systems.
  • Install air conditioner economizers to use outside air to cool buildings when outdoor air is lower than indoor temperatures.
  • Install time clocks, set-back thermostats, and microprocessor thermostats to monitor HVAC systems when buildings are unoccupied.
  • Install intermittent ignition devices on gas furnaces to save gas.
  • Modify flue dampers on gas furnaces to increase burner efficiency.
Monthly ...
  • Check air filters monthly, and clean or change as needed.
  • Check air intake screens monthly, and clean as required.
  • Inspect air dampers monthly, and keep them as airtight as possible.
  • Check V-belts (fan belts) monthly for frays, cracks, and nicks, and replace as necessary.
  • Check heat recovery devices monthly for proper operation.
  • Brush off air conditioner condenser coils monthly.
Quarterly ...
  • Check motors, bearings, and blower fans every 3 months, and lubricate as required.
  • Check heating and cooling coils every 3 months, and clean as needed.
  • Check vacuum blower compartments every 3 months.
  • Check ducts, vents, and pipes every 3 months, and repair any damaged insulation.


Seasonally ...
  • Check cooling systems in the spring before the cooling season begins.
  • Check pulleys and sheaves in the spring and fall for alignment and proper belt tension.
  • Set thermostats at 788 or higher for cooling during the summer.
  • During the summer, open windows and use only the fan portion of cooling systems when outdoor air is cooler than indoor temperatures. Keep doors and windows closed when air conditioning systems are operating.
  • Check heating systems in the fall before the heating season begins.
  • During the winter, open shades and blinds on sunny days to warm buildings naturally, and close them at night to prevent heat loss.
  • Set thermostats at 68 degrees or lower for heating in the winter, and 55 degrees when buildings are unoccupied. If heating is required in warehouses, set thermostats to 50 degrees.
Annually ...
  • Check cabinets and brackets once a year, and tighten all bolts and screws as necessary.
  • Check housings yearly, and remove rust and re-paint as required.

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  • Remove internal shelf lights to reduce refrigeration and lighting energy use.
  • Remove all, or at least every other incandescent bulb over refrigerated meat displays.

  • Maintain display fixtures and freezers at the following temperatures for maximum energy savings:

    • Frozen food cases, -8 degrees F
    • Ice cream cases/chests, -14 degrees F
    • Deli cases, 35 degrees F
    • Beer cases, 40 degrees F
    • Soda/dairy cases, 40 degrees F

  • Keep products below market load lines in freezers and coolers. Overloaded displays decrease product quality and increase energy use by as much as 10 to 20% per unit.
  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for shelf positions and sizes to prevent increased refrigeration loads.
  • Keep doors on refrigerated units open as little as necessary when unloading or re-stocking.
  • Use recommended night covers on low-temperature fixtures, and keep covers below load lines to reduce compressor run time and save energy.
  • Clean condensing fins and plates monthly, and inspect for ice build-up and bent fins.
  • Check door latches and gaskets on refrigeration and freezer units regularly; adjust latches and replace worn door gaskets as needed.
  • When purchasing new refrigeration systems select the higher energy efficiency rating (EER) -- the greater the cooling capacity for each kWh of energy input, the greater the efficiency of the system.
  • Brush condenser coils weekly with a non-metallic brush, and clean coils monthly if dust build-up is extensive.
Monthly or quarterly
  • Check refrigerant monthly for correct charge.
  • Clean meat and dairy cases monthly.
  • Clean produce and freezer cases every three months.
  • Check refrigerator and freezer gaskets annually for leaks and wear, and replace as needed.
  • Perform annual checks on refrigeration and freezer units to determine whether units are level; upright doors should close automatically from an open position.
  • Have automatic defrost cycles checked annually and adjusted if necessary by a trained service technician.

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  • Turn off motors used in perimeter fan coil units on mild winter nights to permit the system to operate by natural convection.
  • Tighten belts and pulleys at regular intervals to prevent slippage.
  • Lubricate motors and drive regularly to reduce friction.
  • Replace bearings when worn.
  • Check and adjust alignment between motor and drive equipment to reduce wear ad excessive torque.
  • Keep motors clean to facilitate cooling.
  • Purchase motors with the highest energy efficiency available.
  • Replace worn or defective motors with motors sized as close to load as possible.

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  • Install weather-stripping around exterior doors and operable windows, and around doors between cooled and uncooled spaces.
  • Install door bottoms, thresholds, or door “shoes” to seal gaps beneath exterior doors and doors to  uncooled spaces.
  • Insulate exterior walls and floors, and insulate roof or ceiling spaces to R-19 standards or above wherever possible.
  • Install window treatments where feasible, such as shade screens, shades, awnings, or overhangs.
  • If exterior treatments are not feasible, consider interior window film, insulated drapes, valances and/or blinds, or removable insulation material
  • Caulk cracks and gaps around windows and doors, in the building foundation, and between different building materials.
  • Repair roof leaks. Insulation will lose effectiveness when wet.
  • Repair and maintain door and window weather-stripping to prevent water and moisture entry, causing doors and windows to warp and deteriorate.
  • Consider permanently closing and sealing doors and windows NOT needed for building access or ventilation and that are NOT used as safety or fire exits.
  • Keep doors between heated and unheated spaces and cooled and uncooled spaces closed, and install automatic door closers if needed.

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Food service equipment

  • Preheat cooking equipment according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Exceeding manufacturer's specifications can increase energy use.
  • Use cooking equipment to full capacity. Fully-loaded equipment utilizes energy more efficiently.
  • Turn off back-up fryers, and turn ovens down or off during low production periods.
  • Do not overload fryer baskets beyond the manufacturer's recommended capacity. Overloading baskets can increase cooking time, and energy use.
  • Check oven doors for a tight fit, and to ensure gaskets are in good condition. Adjust and/or replace door seals and gaskets as necessary.
  • Clean equipment regularly as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Purchase insulated cooking equipment whenever possible, such as fryers, ovens, coffee machines.



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