Energy efficiency by definition is doing more (or same amount of output) with less whereas energy conservation is doing less all together. But in this context, less is not just less energy consumption. Efficiency solves more problems in buildings than just savings on the energy bill. There are other benefits to being more efficient - like less maintenance cost, less comfort complaints, less headaches.
So, your lighting is starting to escalate from one maintenance call per week to what seems like everyday. But, you just put in new fluorescent lamps and ballasts a few years ago, right? Those 20,000 hour lamps have now given way to 50,000 hour LEDs. Not only will they save 30% of your lighting energy costs but since they are producing less heat, they can reduce your cooling load - less cooling energy is still savings to your budget.
Yes, some will argue that this savings amount is negligible and that it has to be offset by more heat during winter hours. We can all agree that using inefficient lighting is not the most efficient way to heat a space, so the added cost of heating and the reduction in cooling may indeed be equal. However, this cooling reduction adds up if you have 10's of thousands of square feet of space you are lighting and a fairly efficient heating system. Add to that increased control and the small building blocks of savings begin to accumulate quite nicely.
Last week's update on right sizing equipment demonstrated examples that reducing equipment size can save money on your capital investment. What does this mean for your capital investment in a new cooling system? Well, it can be smaller - maybe not significantly but every ton of cooling reduced is $1,000 (or more) that you won't have to invest. Now your 50 ton rooftop unit is only a 45 ton unit and $5,000 (or more) you do not have to spend.
Since you are putting in a new cooling system, you could choose to use those avoided capital dollars to put in more than just the basic controls. With a new well-controlled system you can expect the spaces to be more comfortable. Your phone will stop bugging you with the same calls you always get...Jack in accounting is too hot or Jill in the corner office keeps tripping the circuit breaker with her space heater because she's freezing everyday.
Less lights to change, less comfort complaints to chase and capital equipment savings to your budget...what will you do? You already have ideas, but now you have the resources to get it done!