The Intuit corporate facilities in Reno, NV have been perfect for Battle of the Buildings, ENERGY STAR’s national competition for commercial building managers to improve energy efficiency. We were already starting a top-to-bottom assessment of changes we could make to save energy at these two properties, without making major capital improvements and, more important, without diminishing the comfort of Intuit employees. Battle of the Buildings has helped by giving us a deadline, and by connecting us with other teams—including several within Jones Lang LaSalle—that are pursuing the same goals around the country.
It seems the more we look, the more we find opportunities to reduce energy without affecting operations. Here are some of the things we’ve done just in the area of lighting:
– In parking lots, we switched out 400-watt metal halide lamps to 200-watt CFL bulb, and in the wallpacks on buildings, 70-watt metal halide lamps have been replaced with 42-watt CFLs. The lighting effect is the same, even a little brighter, at half the energy usage.
– Inside the building, along the perimeter where there is natural light, we engaged in de-lamping. These areas are only slightly less bright than before, and employees in the buildings seem to prefer the lower light level.
– Also in common areas, we reduced the wattage of existing CFL bulbs in can fixtures that provide accent lighting. We also looked at the spot lighting around displays, replacing 30 50-watt halogen bulbs with 7-watt LEDs—Philips makes an LED product that’s compatible with the halogen fixtures, so all we had to do was change out the bulbs.
– In employee work areas, 100 four-foot T8 fluorescent tubes were reduced from 32 watts to 25 watts. Employees also have task lighting at their workstations, but these are rarely needed since the adjusted lighting level is still bright enough.
– We set a schedule on the cafeteria lighting to coincide with its hours of operation, rather than allowing the lights to stay on all the time.
– Inexpensive motion sensors have been placed in bathrooms and private offices, significantly reducing the hours that those areas are lit.
All of these changes will pay for themselves within a year or so based on lower energy costs. In some cases, we also qualified for rebates from Nevada Energy which further defrayed the upfront cost.
I’ll discuss changes to HVAC and other systems, as well as the impact this initiative has had on source EUI over the past year, at a later date. For now, suffice to say that energy use has declined about 10 percent in the past year at both buildings, and our Energy Star rating has increased by 3 points at one facility and by 5 points at the other.