Commercial and industrial facility managers are acutely aware of how expensive energy can be. Aside from labour, energy is the most costly ongoing expense for many businesses. These costs can only grow higher during the harsh winter months as the need for adequate space heating becomes a priority.
According to a 2013 report by Natural Resources Canada, the use of electricity and natural gas to heat commercial and institutional spaces accounts for around 55% of a building’s overall energy use.¹ As a result, it is important for facilities to understand and implement solutions to utilize heated air more efficiently.
Finding ways to optimize energy use can help businesses save on heating bills throughout the winter. Here are some effective methods to consider as you think of how to winterize your facility.
Improve Heated Air Destratification
Air destratification refers to the process of distributing air around a facility to ensure a consistent internal temperature. Distributing heated air effectively presents an operational challenge for many facilities, especially ones with high ceilings and large square footage. Proper, controllable internal air distribution is even more crucial during the winter months. It can help conserve energy usage and provide more comfortable internal conditions for employees or patrons.
High-Volume Low-Speed (HVLS) Fans are specifically engineered to help properly destratify air in larger spaces. They can make a significant difference in a facility’s ability to reduce their heating costs. During the winter, HVLS fans effectively re-distribute warm air trapped at the ceiling, down to the floor level. These large fans work with HVAC systems, supplementing and effectively moving the warm air they generate in order to reduce wasted energy.
Improperly sealed loading dock areas are common problem spots for preventable energy loss. Loading docks are high-traffic locations that are exposed to the elements more often than other areas. Considering the amount of time that loading dock doors remain open for loading and unloading, maintaining a tight seal between the dock and the truck trailer is crucial. The last thing any facility needs is cold wind, snow or rain coming in through small openings left unsealed. Dock seals protect against the elements and prevent warm air from escaping, leading to better energy conservation and comfortable, safe working conditions.
Lenworth carries Adjustable Curtain Dock Seals that form an airtight seal around loading dock openings. These seals are made with resilient foam pads covered by abrasion-resistant fabric. They create a perfect canopy around the full perimeter of any trailer to keep warm air inside the facility and foul weather outside. These adjustable dock seals allow a facility to better control and maintain its internal environment. By containing warm air and preventing infiltration, they can help facilities reduce their energy costs.
Reduce the Cycle Times of Loading Dock Doors
Loading dock doors with slow opening and closing speeds can contribute to increased energy waste and higher heating bills. The longer these doors stay open per cycle, the more airflow can occur between the outdoors and the inside of a facility. Cold air can rush in and warm, contained air can escape. This unwanted air transfer can result in significant amounts of wasted energy. In addition to being energy inefficient, low-speed doors in the loading dock area are less effective at protecting employees from the elements.
High-Speed Overhead Doors can reduce a door’s cycle time from 56 seconds to 5.6 seconds. This difference of a few seconds may seem small, but when you consider the amount of open/close cycles facility doors complete on a given day, the difference is significant. Low-speed doors lose the most energy when they are closing. High-speed doors can close up to 2-3 times faster than low-speed alternatives. Lenworth carries durable High-Speed Doors for both interior and exterior applications. No matter what your facility’s specifications are, upgrading to a high-speed design can reduce cycle times and help conserve warm air during the winter months.
Switch to Insulated Sectional Overhead Doors
Insulated Sectional Doors are an easy, cost-effective way to improve your facility’s insulation. Older buildings with outdated doors do not provide the type of protection needed to sustain warmer temperatures around loading dock areas. Newer, properly insulated doors allow facilities to better utilize and conserve the warm air they pay for.
Lenworth’s Sectional Overhead Doors are rigid, energy-efficient, long-lasting door systems that can help facilities reduce their overall energy expenditures. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and are designed with a thermal break to help reduce the transfer of thermal energy through the door. This thermal break keeps the warm air in and the cold winter air out.
Have Facilities Inspected and Serviced
To make absolutely sure facilities are prepared for the cold weather, it is important to have common problem areas inspected and serviced if necessary. One of the areas facility managers should absolutely have assessed are weather seals around loading docks, overhead doors and pass doors.
If dock levellers are missing both sides of a brush seal, it is the equivalent of having a one square foot hole in the facility wall. This exposure can lead to significant energy waste and higher heating bills during the winter.
A Lenworth service professional can inspect your facility and identify areas where service may be needed. It’s also worth finding out how to join Lenworth’s Preferred-Service-Program (PSP). PSP members enjoy routine facility inspections with fixed labour for a year to ensure equipment is consistently safe and reliable all season long.
Lenworth Can Help Your Facility Save This Winter
Lenworth offers high-quality products that can help any facility save on heating costs and better prepare for the winter. If you have any questions about our products and services, or about certain aspects of your facility, we are happy to offer a free, no-hassle consultation. We can help you determine the next steps that make sense for your operational needs.
As the VP of Sales & Marketing, Spencer is an energetic and company-oriented manager that places an emphasis on continuous organizational improvement. Spencer's acute focus on building a customer-centric business drives his team to consistently go above and beyond customers' expectations. At Lenworth, Spencer places the customer as the focal point of all decisions.
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