Expert Advice on Green Buildings

Air Conditioning: 7 Ways to Save Energy and Money

Question:

Rose asks: Is there any way to save money/energy with my air conditioning? Would you recommend a certain temperature range for conservation?

Answer:

The following are some ideas on how to save energy and cut your utility bills with air conditioning:

  1. Ceiling fans can be used along with air conditioning. This allows for higher temperatures than regular comfort.
  2. Sizing of air conditioning system is very important and has to be proportional to space and people requirements. There are many instances where a window unit performs the function, and so the central AC is oversized. Replacement of an existing central system may be energy efficient in certain cases.
  3. Usage of permanent filters, preferably MERV 13 filters, enhances the indoor air quality and reduces the energy load more than an otherwise dirty filter.
  4. Usage of thermostats and reduction in the heat generation from lighting through usage of compact fluorescent bulbs can reduce the air conditioning's load.
  5. Extruded polystyrene insulation, shading from trees, fewer hardscapes, green roofs, and locating condensers in a shaded area can help to reduce the demand for energy.
  6. The solar heat gain coefficient and U-value of window glazing is important for reducing cooling loads.
  7. Evaporative cooling and heat recovery are other energy efficient strategies that could be evaluated.

HVAC design and operation are generally aimed at comfort temperature range. Therefore, is no one temperature range for conservation.

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