Office of General Services

New York State Office of General Services

Optimize Building Operations

Plug Loads  

Plug loads are one of the most controllable, yet least-managed areas, of a building's energy waste and efficiency. As modern building design improves air sealing, insulation, and HVAC performance, the plug load burden becomes a greater percentage of overall energy use. Here's how both facility managers and tenants can reduce plug load burdens:

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Daylighting and other Lighting Strategies  

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for an average of 38 percent of electricity used in commercial buildings - more than any other building system.

But we're in luck! Nature provides lighting and heating for free, if we can access it. The following strategies can help harness daylighting in existing buildings without major capital expense:


Daylight is not just an energy-efficiency strategy but also a natural way to improve employee productivity, comfort and health. Design office layouts to be open, where all occupants can see windows and allow daylight to penetrate the space.

Photo Sensors

Photo sensors are a great way to reap the benefits of daylighting by automatically turning off mechanical lights when natural light levels are sufficient. Photo sensors are most effective when rows of light near windows can be turned off as a group, and should be re-tuned each year.

Occupancy/Vacancy Sensors

Occupancy and vacancy sensors are required in the New York State Energy Code. What is the difference between an occupancy sensor and a vacancy sensor and why are they effective?


Lighting Retrofits

Re-lamping projects can be one of the best return-on-investment (ROI) strategies. During a lighting retrofit, old fixtures are switched-out for more efficient ones, either reducing wattage or changing to a whole new type of fixture, such as fluorescent to LED. Tips:

Lighting Redesign

Take your lighting project to the next level with a lighting redesign project that replaces an entire fixture or ceiling layout. Save money and energy year-after-year with these good-to-know tips:


Re-circuiting your office's lighting will ensure only the needed energy lights are on the emergency or "night" operational circuit. Line-up other fixtures with photo sensors to maximize daylight. In conference rooms, use circuit lighting to shut off lights closest to project screens to optimize viewing.

Lighting that Staff Brings In

If employees prefer to bring in their own lighting, provide them with the most efficient bulbs possible.

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Continual Improvement Approaches for Operations and Maintenance  

It is incredibly important (and frustrating) to know that buildings change over time. They are never “set it and forget it” commodities, due to changes in occupants, shifting of office spaces, and aging of equipment. The following strategies will help facility managers and maintenance staff cultivate a continual improvement approach toward planning and commit to periodic re-assessment of performance.

User Comfort Surveys

Design a simple survey to inquire after your tenant’s level of comfort. Survey tips:

Re-Commissioning (rCx)

An intense evaluation of what systems have drifted over time, what operational parameters have changed that may affect setpoints, and what ongoing maintenance strategies need to be refined. Check out incentive programs through BuildSmartNY, NYSERDA, or your utility provider.

Maintenance Schedules

Plan and execute maintenance assessments and procedures with operations staff and building occupants. Creating schedules and sticking to them will reduce emergency situations and repairs increase the value of the building, and reduce operations expenditures.

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Related Initiatives and Case Studies  

Help make the case for energy efficiency in your workplace! The following related initiatives and case studies provide a snapshot of programs your agency may already be engaged in or highlights current state agency projects already underway.

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