Electrical Equipment

Electrical equipment, such as lighting, various sensors, and photovoltaic, systems, requires regular monitoring and maintenance. For projects with photovoltaic systems, the property management and maintenance staff should receive documentation and training from the manufacturer or installer on how to clean and maintain the panels and their wiring.


• Schedule contractual maintenance services in advance so that all building systems and equipment are serviced at the intervals called for by the manufacturer's warranty agreement.

• Make sure that the building temperature settings is not set too high or too low. Thermostats in common areas should be programmed for "night setbacks" to provide less heating (or cooling) at night. Also make sure that the building's domestic water temperature is not set higher than 120 degrees.

• Educate the residents on how to set the thermostats properly in their units, and make sure that they are not overheating their units or leaving heat on when their windows are open.

• Clean refrigerator coils yearly, and check that older refrigerators are not running long after they are closed or turning on or off too frequently. If a unit is not operating properly and cannot be repaired, it should be replaced.

• Clean out dryer lint filters, ducts, and vents periodically; accumulated lint not only reduces efficiency, it also poses a fire hazard. Make sure that the exhaust vent is working and closes tightly.

• When systems/equipment and appliances must be replaced or are added, select products with ENERGY STAR® ratings.1 Even better, select one of the most energy-efficient appliances, as identified by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.2

• For major retrofits, consider an energy performance contract. (See Chapter 5 for more information on the energy service company, or ESCO, process.)

1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, ENERGY STAR product list, www.energystar.gov/products (accessed January 10, 2007).

2. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings: Condensed Online Version, www.aceee.org/consumerguide/index.htm (accessed January 17, 2007).


• When purchasing lamps/bulbs, look for products that are both ENERGY STAR® labeled, long-life, and—for fluorescent and metal halide bulbs—also low mercury.

• Select lamps with a minimum color-rendering index (CRI) of 80 to provide high-quality light.

• Whenever replacing a lamp, inspect the lamp ballast and clean the fixture and lens with a clean, moist cotton cloth (to prevent static). A dirty lens can reduce a fixture's light output by up to 50 percent.1

• Inspect occupancy sensors regularly to make sure they are working properly.

• Dispose of all mercury-containing lamps properly. Both fluorescent and metal halide high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps contain mercury and are considered "universal" hazardous waste. Exit signs that contain compact fluorescents and neon signs also contain mercury.

1. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Department of General Services' Property Management, and Green Seal, The Pennsylvania Green Building Operations and Maintenance Manual 58: www.dgs.state.pa.us/dgs/cwp/view.asp?Q=118184&A=363.

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