The Guide To Building A Comprehensive Energy Management Program
Commercial buildings in cities usually consume more energy compared to other smaller businesses. However, of significant concern is the aspect that about 30 % of electricity is wasted unnecessarily in large commercial buildings and we need to find ways to save energy.
Companies, in the end, are forced to pay high utility bills which significantly contribute to increases in operational costs. It is essential for commercial building owners to encourage energy saving practices among the tenants. They can use the cost savings for specific components of their businesses that are critical.
As such, this article gives you tips about the measures you can take to save energy in commercial buildings. Both business owners and employees can make a difference if they take responsibility in saving energy in buildings. Various cost-cutting measures can be implemented in commercial buildings by all the users.
Why Is Energy Management Program Crucial?
Saving energy in commercial buildings is not only about lowering the operational costs for businesses but protecting the environment as well. Other sources of energy such as fossil fuels contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that cause carbon footprint. Therefore, the more you unnecessarily use power in your office the more you add to the emission of greenhouse gases.
Certain electrical appliances such as the heating and cooling systems in commercial buildings contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. These gases play a role in causing changes to the climate. Climate change affects everyone’s wellbeing in the long run hence the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to prevent it.
No matter the quantity of carbon footprint you contribute, it is not good for the environment and climate at large. You should play your part by acting responsibly and avoiding practices that can lead to the emission of greenhouse gasses. On top of that, you can significantly lower the operational costs for your business.
Therefore, it is imperative for all commercial building owners and their employees to adopt a comprehensive energy management program. Interestingly, some of the energy-saving tips are very simple and effortless. However, the success of the program requires a total commitment of all people at all levels.
1. Use Energy Efficient Lights
Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs significantly safe power compared to incandescent lights. Both tenants and commercial building owners should make sure that they use bulbs that save power for lighting. LED or fluorescent lamps do not emit any heat and they significantly lower energy consumption by about 25 percent compared to incandescent lights.
It is also crucial for users to make sure they switch off all the lights in their offices before leaving the place. When you are working in the office during the day, you should switch off all appliances that you are not using. Using natural light during the day is also a good idea that can help save energy. The users of the building should
It is also vital to remove the lights in areas that are overlit to save energy. Alternatively, the business owners should install occupancy sensors in the building. The sensors can automatically turn off the lights when there is no one in the building. At times the occupants of the building can forget to switch off the lights, and this is when the sensors come in handy.
2. Real-Time Feedback To Achieve Energy Efficiency
The success of power management program in commercial buildings requires behaviour change among all the users. Many people need the motivation to understand the importance of saving energy through performing tasks that seem to be insignificant. The same individuals believe that aspects like office lights do not waste power.
There are also other people who believe that large corporations can manage to pay their utilities. Most people base this assumption on the organization’s sound financial performance while conveniently forgetting the need to lower operational costs.
However, the effect is visible over a long period, and it affects the financial performance of the organization. Apart from affecting the corporation, uncontrolled waste of energy can also change the environment in the long run.
Therefore, engagement of all users of the building can go a long way in raising awareness about the importance of saving energy. When undertaking such an initiative, positive behaviour change is required since many people do not get the essence at first.
Feedback from the concerned users of the building helps to design an effective strategy that can change their behaviour. All stakeholders should understand the spiral effects of leaving electrical appliances on when they are not in use at their workplace. Thus, shared responsibility among all stakeholders can go a long way in promoting behaviour change among them.
3. Reduce Miscellaneous Electric Loads In Commercial Buildings
Miscellaneous electric loads (MELs) include devices that do not belong to the building’s core functions like lighting, heating and air conditioning systems. Many buildings have designs that can efficiently sustain the core equipment in the building. Additional gadgets can lead to more consumption of power.
You need to identify the exact needs of the occupants to avoid different loads in commercial buildings. The employees within the building can do away with other gadgets they can substitute with core equipment in the building. For instance, portable heaters and desk fans are not necessary if the building has a functioning heating and cooling system.
When there are kitchens on different floors on the building, it may not be necessary for individuals to keep refrigerators in their offices. These extra appliances will only increase the total building energy load and increase utility costs. The use of other smaller devices like coffee making machines, bread toasters and sandwich makers may not be necessary.
Phone chargers are also other items that can be substituted with a USB charging system that connects directly to the CPU. When you are in the office, you can use the necessary equipment available for performing your work. You can also switch off other devices that you are not using at a particular period. There is no need of keeping the printer on when you have no immediate use of it.
The other strategy that can help to promote power management in commercial buildings is to upgrade office equipment. You can replace old computer monitors with liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors since they are energy efficient. LCD monitors are also smart, and they are user-friendly such that you can solve the challenge of energy saving.
4. Install Software To Monitor Power Management
Companies in the US waste more than $1 billion a year worth of electricity as a result of computer monitors that are always on. When the computer monitor is not in use, it should either be off or put on sleep mode to save power.
Alternatively, it is wise to install monitor power-management software that helps to regulate energy use on the computer. The software plays a critical role in lowering power usage of hard drives, monitors and central processing units of machines that are idle.
To achieve these goals, it is vital to consider a budget for ongoing behaviour change among the users of the building. Old systems need replacements that are user-friendly. Most people generally resist change in organizations if they believe that it can affect their usual way of doing things.
Design New Energy Efficient Building
The option of designing and constructing a new energy efficient building can be a long-term solution to saving energy. The option can also involve performing some renovations on old buildings in a bid to make them energy efficient. However, this can appear to be costly, but many benefits come with the construction of a new building.
1. Renovating and Updating Old Buildings
Energy efficiency measures apply to all stages of the design and construction processes of a building. It is crucial to upgrade the energy performance of the building to improve its ongoing life. Most commercial buildings still use conventional heating and cooling systems that obtain their power from the national grid.
The primary challenge with these heating systems is that they consume more energy hence the need to consider other viable options. Adopting energy efficient methods for the same purpose is the best solution to save power. For instance, technologies such as radiant heating and cooling can have lasting impacts on energy use within the building.
Radiant heating includes window films that control the amount of heat that gets into the room or leaves it. When your building has large windows, artificial heating or cooling may not be necessary. Large films on the windows can capture sufficient heat to warm the room during cold days with intermittent sunlight.
On the other hand, you can also consider natural cooling systems that involve plants like creepers around the building windows. When the weather is hot, the plants can absorb the heat thereby reducing its impact. The plants also help to produce a refreshing atmosphere around the building such that artificial cooling becomes unnecessary.
The other viable strategy to save energy is to use precast concrete insulated panels on the building. These panels help to absorb heat and retain it to keep the interior of the building warm. Insulation on the concrete panels also helps to keep biting weather at bay. The proper choice of building material can help to moderate the desired temperature in the building without using air conditioners.
Materials that help to reduce thermal energy loss may be costly, but they have long-term benefits. In the long run, you can save a lot of money by choosing the right energy-efficient materials for your building. You only need to pay attention to R-value products that prevent heat from getting lost. V-value products also help to measure heat flow resistance to maintain favourable temperatures within the building.
More importantly, you should install a solar system in the office building. You can install many solar panels on the structure and powerful batteries that are capable of powering its electric requirements. A solar system should also go along with inverters that can generate sufficient electrical current to power the whole building.
2. Choose The Right Direction Of Your Building
When you decide to construct a new structure, you should remember to position it in such a way that it has access to sunlight. Solar energy is free hence you should ensure that your building is facing the right direction that can enable the panels to absorb more heat.
The main advantage of solar power is that it is clean and it has no impact on the environment. Installing the solar system, however, can be costly but the long-term benefits are vast. It is also essential to choose the right solar panels and batteries that can sustain the power requirements of the building.
3. Select The Right Contractor
When you decide to design a new building or renovate an old one, it is imperative to look for a right contractor. Choosing the right contractor is also a quality control process to ensure that all work goes according to the requirements of the new design.
Building an energy efficient structure requires contractors with expert knowledge. These contractors need to use the right software to design efficient buildings. They should also maintain quality standards at each stage of construction to achieve the desired goals. You can check various sources of information to get reputable contractors for the task.
4. Building Commissioning
Building commissioning involves checking for all installations and systems if they are working correctly. The process requires verification of the building’s heating, ventilation as well as the air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The systems should perform efficiently and correctly according to the owner’s project requirements.
Many buildings that lack proper commissioning usually fail to meet the standard expectations of saving energy. The process of commissioning the building also involves checking all other equipment in the building if it is properly functioning. For example, minor things like loose fan belts can contribute to more energy consumption even if the stuff is still new.
Commissioning of the building also involves inspection of all power connections if they are secure. Loose connections on the electric cables can contribute to waste of energy, and they can also pose a danger to the users of the building.