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The Myth of Unoccupied Setpoints

In 2019, the commercial sector was responsible for 18% of the electrical consumption in the US, and small businesses spend more than $60 billion on energy each year. The Virtual Commissioning™ (VCx™) Program works to help small businesses, which historically don’t participate in energy efficiency programs, reduce their overall energy bills. When working with small businesses, our Energy Advisors often run into concerns surrounding unoccupied HVAC set points. Primarily, with the myth that aggressive unoccupied setpoints don’t actually realize energy savings. 

It is commonly believed running the HVAC equipment 24 hours is more efficient than instituting unoccupied temperature setbacks because the energy saved by the setbacks is less than the energy used upon startup to heat or cool the building before people arrive. This simply isn’t the case. It is true that building systems require energy to get the facility to a comfortable temperature for tenants, however, the Pacific Northwest Lab found that unoccupied setpoints helped save an average of 19.2% in energy

Our Energy Advisors work hard to clear up this misconception, and assure our clients that there is considerable opportunity to save energy and money by instituting unoccupied setbacks.


Author: Hannah Bieker, Energy Advisor