Last summer, the northern hemisphere sweated through the record books. September was the hottest month of the hottest summer since humans started tracking meteorological data. Summer 2021 promises to be another scorcher to challenge commerce. Transportation will navigate softening roadways, warping train tracks and idled air traffic. Supply chains will slow. Electrical grids will strain to meet demand.
Experts say excessive heat reduces gross domestic product by as much as four percent. How can your business blunt the impact of a soaring thermometer? Paul Davis recommends its customers evaluate seven areas that can save money, boost efficiency and protect company health.
- Add layers: Increasing the R-value of fiberglass insulation drives down cooling costs while saving money, as can upgrading older uninsulated windows and doors.
- Lighten up: Newer lighting adds far less heat to indoor spaces. LED lighting saves as much as 75 percent on electricity and the bulbs last an astounding 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Further, manufacturers have come a long way in making the light more pleasant to experience.
- Power down: Shut off lighting and equipment when not in use. Increase the holding temperature of indoor spaces when they are unoccupied (during overnight hours for example); even better, ask HVAC contractors to install smart thermostats to automate these adjustments. Many businesses install sensors to turn lights on and off automatically when occupants come and go.
- Stay steady: Scrupulously maintain HVAC equipment –clogged outflow pipes, dirty filters and straining motors compromise efficiency, increase expenses and shorten the lifetime of these systems
- Leaf out: If you own the property, plant more trees and care for the existing canopy. Properly placed trees can lower air conditioning costs 30 percent, and not just because they lend shade to structures and ground. They actively provide evaporative cooling as they respire.
- Be kind: The most valuable resource every company possesses is its workforce. Take care of employees by relaxing dress codes, shifting work schedules to cooler hours, distributing fans, encouraging breaks and installing hydration stations.
- Ditch the dark: If all commercial buildings swapped out dark heat-absorbing roofs in favor of light-colored roofs, we would collectively save hundreds of millions of dollars. Consider vegetation-covered rooftops, too. Like trees, they lend evaporative cooling to the mix.