Understanding the ways we waste energy in commercial buildings is more important than ever. Particularly at the rate that greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs are rising.
The threat of devastating global events, caused by climate change, grows more concerning by the day. We are all aware of our need to do a better job of reducing our energy. Though this can seem like a challenging task. Particularly when you’re responsible for managing a complex and diverse estate. Building owners, energy managers, and financial teams are all feeling the pressure to reduce energy consumption and operational costs.
Some commercial buildings consume more energy than the industry or transportation sectors. We may not even realise some of the ways we waste energy. This is why having access to big building data, which identifies, recommends and implements the best course of action for reducing your buildings energy usage and operational cost, is so vital.
On average 75% of a commercial building’s heat is lost due to inefficient insulation. Roofs, doors, walls, windows, floors and ventilation areas are key sources of heat loss. Insulation plays an important part in the conservation of energy. If a building is well insulated, less warm air will escape during the winter and less cold air during the summer. Insulation reduces the need for excessive heating or air conditioning. Controlled temperature is also important for occupants’ or employees wellbeing.
Data centres or server rooms, dependent on size, can be the main area of energy consumption in a commercial building. Globally, power-hungry data centres are becoming a huge and concerning drain on energy resources. A growing population means an increasing demand for Internet, social media and mobile phones. The need for more space to store data such as billions of images and videos is greatly increased.
In the UK, the requirement for energy efficiency in server rooms is rising. This is due to increasing energy costs and the growing demand for electricity. A server room draws a huge amount of energy. The main sources being IT equipment and cooling systems. Server rooms generate an immense amount of heat and are required to be constantly maintained to a 20-25°C ambient environment.
Energy efficiency experts, such as AXON, can monitor a server room’s energy usage and provide on-going support to help reduce its energy consumption and operational costs.
Lighting is one of the main aspects of a commercial building. It greatly affects health and safety and employees productivity. Light-emitting diodes have become the most popular lighting solution in commercial buildings. LEDs use up to 80% less energy than fluorescent bulbs. Switching to LED bulbs will significantly help to lower energy bills and are much better for the environment.
Broken or compromised IT and electrical equipment can result in a drain of excess energy. Regular inspection will ensure all IT equipment is functioning as designed. Powering down equipment when not in use is also essential to saving costly energy use.
Raising awareness and encouraging occupants and employees to use electrics less frequently will help to reduce energy. Devices that need charging such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, should be unplugged as soon as they are completey charged. Chargers should always be unplugged when not in use.
Lighting and heating empty offices, meeting rooms or a lecture hall is a prime example of how energy is wasted in commercial buildings. Students or employees populate a room then leave an hour later but a lot of energy is still used to heat or cool the space. This can be addressed through the remote management of existing installed building services and technologies.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems and lighting typically use more than three-quarters of a building’s energy use. Blocked vents, dusty or dirty filters will use more energy in an attempt to heat up or cool down. The regular monitoring and maintenance of a HVAC system are crucial for pinpointing energy waste. Heating and air conditioning should also always be turned off when not required.
Retailers depend on attractive and brightly lit window and point of sale displays to encourage customers through their doors and maximise sales. However, this uses a lot of energy, particularly in a shopping centre environment that houses multiple retail outlets. By switching to low energy lighting, replacing broken and old fittings, and installing lighting sensors are all actions that will lead to reducing energy wastage, across a commercial retail build.
More and more commercial building managers are realising the benefits of investing in building management systems (BMS) to take advantage of advanced technologies that identify and address costly energy inefficiencies across their building or estate.