We’re all ready for business to go back to normal, but opening sites that have been dark or in a take-out-only mode for two months isn’t as easy as hitting the “on” switch. Preparation and flexible technology are key to getting your sites back online safely, quickly, and efficiently post-COVID-19. Here are the top 5 things to think about when developing your re-opening strategy:
Adjust Schedules & Setpoints Geographically as Occupancy Restrictions are Lifted
Varied restrictions are being lifted by states leaving some sites closed while others can open. For an enterprise, this makes it difficult to simply power back on. GridPoint’s Energy Manager Platform makes site schedules or setpoint adjustments easy by using tags. This means you can bulk update a specific schedule or zone within a specific geography – for example, all customer dining zones at sites within Virginia. This feature is a game-changer for expediting re-opening strategies and will enable enterprises to continue saving at sites that are not yet able to fully re-open. In the event new restrictions are mandated in high-traffic geographies, this feature helps to transition those sites back off making your business more resilient.
Avoid New Peak Charges from Starting All Equipment at Once
Powering all equipment back on at the same time after being off for some time will cause an unnecessary spike in demand. An intelligent HVAC startup schedule will help avoid this along with costly charges from your utility. Instead of turning all HVAC units at once, units at a location should be staggered to distribute the initial power surge over time – flattening the demand spike. Other high-consuming equipment should also be staggered to minimize the chance for new peaks as well.
Leverage Setpoints to Generate Savings
Summer is a great time to save on your utility bills by increasing efficiency, especially as restrictions will likely keep occupancy lower for a while. We recommend an occupied cooling setpoint of 72 degrees F or higher and an unoccupied cooling setpoint of 80 degrees F or higher for the best balance of comfort and savings during the summer months.
Check-in on your HVAC Units
The spring months are when you should be preparing your HVAC units for the hotter summer months, so if you’ve delayed any needed preventative maintenance make sure you schedule that before your sites are fully open. GridPoint’s remote mobile HVAC health tools can also help evaluate the status of your units and prioritize M&R. While we’re all focused on reopening quickly, ensuring that your HVAC units are in proper working order is important to avoid costly issues or unnecessary downtime in the future.
Enroll in Demand Response to Unlock New Revenue Streams
Demand Response (DR) is a great way to earn cash back from your utility and support local sustainability initiatives. Adding a new revenue stream like this can help offset upsets to business continuity, like COVID-19, and your participation supports the transition to a more modernized, flexible grid. GridPoint makes participation simple, and if you already have a GridPoint platform installed in your facility it is pre-approved for various programs across the country. Learn more about how DR works, why it’s important, and how businesses can get involved here.