When the energy consumed to heat and cool a fairly large and relatively new downtown building can be trimmed 30 per cent in a year, someone must have done something right.

That was the experience between 1975 and 1976 at the National Housing Center, headquarters of the National Association of Home Builders. Energy-saving measures at the building at 15th and M streets NW were devised by Joseph J. Tevis, NAHB building engineer, and the group's staff director for technical services, Alan R. Trellis.

Trellis said that 17 measures were taken to save energy but "the key to all was the removal of the standard electric meter which came with the building and substitution of a recording meter. This allowed us to monitor carefully our consumption, in both usage and peak demand, and manage our building accordingly."

These are some of the other measures taken by the NAHB personnel to save energy and win a recent award for outstanding conservation from the Federal Energy Administration.

Installation of a manual control on minimum outside air damper so that when outside air is below 32 degrees, the total amount of air being introduced into the building can be regulated.

Insulation added to areas of penthouse to enable operation of resistance heaters at a lower thermostat rating and diminish frequency of operation.

Reading electric meter twice a day (6 a.m. and 6 p.m.) and monitoring usage for any change in rate.

Removing half of fluouescent lights from circuits in spring to cut heat load and electric use, and replacing same lights in the fall.

Turning on lights later than previously in the morning and reorganizing cleaning operations so lights can be turned off earlier in the evening.