ASHRAE advises building owners to implement a building emergency energy use reduction plan to help save energy.

The major power outage that struck cities in the United States and Canada on August 14, 2003, serves as a graphic illustration of the need to reduce energy use.

One way to save energy is through implementation of a building emergency energy use reduction plan, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

"With increasing energy costs, capacity shortages and dwindling reserves, the need to reduce energy use is more important than ever," Lawrence Spielvogel, former chair of ASHRAE's Standard 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, committee, said. "Much energy could be saved if building owners would prepare and follow an energy reduction plan and take a few simple energy-saving steps."

ASHRAE recommends that building owners and operators develop a building emergency energy use reduction plan. Development of a plan should include estimating the amount and type of energy savings, recording energy consumption and demand reduction information and reviewing the plan with local utility companies.

The following actions may be considered in developing the plan for emergency energy reduction in the building:

  • Change operating hours.
  • Move personnel into other building areas (consolidation).
  • Shut off nonessential equipment.

Specific actions to help reduce energy include:

    Heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems and equipment
    • Modify controls or control set points to raise and lower temperatures and humidity as necessary.
    • Shut off or isolate all nonessential equipment.
    • Tune up equipment.
    • Raise thermostat set points in summer.
    • Raise chilled water temperature.
    • Lower hot water temperature.
    • Reduce the amount of recooling in summer.
    • Reduce or eliminate ventilation and exhaust airflow.

    Lighting systems

    • Remove lamps or reduce lamp wattage.
    • Use task lighting where appropriate.
    • Move building functions to exterior or daylight areas.
    • Turn off electric lights in areas with adequate natural light.
    • Replace fluorescent ballasts with high-efficiency or multilevel ballasts.
    • Revise building cleaning and security procedures to minimize lighting periods.
    • Consolidate parking and turn off unused parking security lighting.

    Special equipment

    • Take transformers off-line during periods of non-use.
    • Shut off unused or unnecessary equipment, such as photo copiers, music systems and computers.
    • Reduce or turn off hot water supply.

    Building operation demand reduction

    • Sequence or interlock heating or air-conditioning systems.
    • Disconnect or turn off all nonessential lights.
    • Preheat or precool prior to the emergency period.