Energy Saving Ideas - Part 1
With all of the snow that we have had around Calgary this year, I thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the easy and cost effective ways to reduce your carbon foot print. What follows are some energy saving ideas that most everyone can implement. These systems are standard design for our office.
Outdoor Reset on Heating Boilers
In order to provide accurate indoor temperatures, the heat supply to the building must equal the heat loss from the building. The greatest factor affecting how much heat a building requires is the outdoor temperature. Even in a well-insulated building, heat loss increases as the outdoor temperature falls.
A boiler heating system is typically designed to always operate at the highest temperature possible to match a building's heat loss on the coldest day of the year. Most North American locations have less than 10 days in a year that actually require this high temperature.
So what happens when the outdoor temperature is relatively mild? The heating system delivers too much heat, therefore overheating the space and costing more money. In commercial or apartment style buildings, where occupants do not directly pay for heating bills, energy and costs increase even more as occupants open windows to compensate for overheating conditions.
Outdoor Temperature Reset is a control strategy that continuously adjusts heating system supply water temperatures to compensate, providing more heat when it's colder and less heat when it's warmer. For most of the heating season, the control saves energy by operating at a lower temperature, reducing the amount of heat lost to the chimney.
It is desirable that the water temperature delivered by the boiler follow the recommended heating curve. For example, the heating curve for Calgary is:
These controls not only provide typical energy savings of 5 to 30% but also improve comfort to the building occupants by delivering the right amount of heat.
- Easy installation and wiring
- Operate the boiler at the lowest possible temperature to improve efficiency
- Minimize ticking expansion noises in baseboards by preventing large temperature swings
- Improve the comfort of occupants by better matching the heat requirements based on outdoor temperature
- Expand boiler life cycle with the Automatic Boiler Differential feature to minimize boiler short cycling
Night Setback Thermostats
Which scenario uses less energy in home heating, and thus saves more money:
- before going to bed, turning the thermostat down from 20C to 16C, then turning it up again in the morning
- leaving it at 20C all night?
Lowering your thermostat during times when you need heat less (e.g., when you're asleep or out of the house) is called thermostat setback; the equivalent practice in summertime is thermostat setup. In theory, thermostat setback and setup will almost always save energy, based on the following simple principle of heat transfer: the rate of heat loss (or gain) is primarily a function of the difference in temperature between two objects, such as your house and the surrounding air. In the winter, the colder your house is allowed to get, the slower it loses heat. Although your heater may run for a while during the recovery period when it's bringing the house back up to temperature, you still use less energy than you would keeping the house at a constant temperature around the clock.
A lot of people don't get this - in fact they're baffled by the entire subject of thermostats. One researcher estimated in 1986 that as much as half the populace subscribes to what he called "valve theory," namely the belief that the thermostat functions like a gas pedal: the higher you set it, the hotter your furnace runs. In reality, most furnaces pump out heat at the same rate regardless of the setting; they just cycle on and off as needed to keep the house at whatever temp the thermostat dictates.
Used correctly, programmable night setback thermostats indisputably work
If you would like more information on this, please contact our office and we would gladly discuss this further.