Working after hours can have a big impact on energy usage. But how? If you conduct your meeting the same way after hours as you would during the classic nine to five work day, then how can you really be using more energy? Lights are still on either way; the laptop and projector are used regardless too. The big difference falls to heating and air conditioning. Your building is programmed to heat/cool differently depending on occupancy. Think about it; why would you want to pay to keep a building cool during the summer or warm during the winter at night if no one is there?
How Much Energy Are We Talking About?
For commercial buildings, as a general rule, for every one degree less that air is conditioned, there will be a resulting one percent savings, if it is for an eight hour period or longer. Put into a more realistic context, during winter months, the State of Missouri keeps most buildings around 70 degrees in the daytime and 60 degrees during non-occupied hours. So there is about a 10 percent reduction in the building energy usage during the winter because of these set-backs in the heating system. On the other hand, while a building is occupied during summer cooling months, the temperature will be around 76 degrees compared to 85 degrees at night. So again, there will be approximately a 10 percent energy savings that will occur during the summer months as well.
What About Your House?
The same general rule will apply to your house as well. In fact, you can actually save more in your home for every degree you set back your thermostat than what can be saved in a commercial building. This is because houses are smaller than commercial buildings. To help you create an effective set-back schedule, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat that adjusts the indoor temperature for you!