Tips for Making your Commercial Property more Energy-Efficient
January 22nd, 2014 by Diane Moore
Various services required in commercial property like cooling in summer, warmth in winter, lighting, electronic entertainment, water heating, refrigeration, cooking and computing require considerable usage of energy-around 40 quadrillion Btu (quads) every year. The consumption of energy in commercial buildings has been growing exponentially over time.
Currently, the 4.7 million commercial buildings and 114 million households in the US use more energy than the industry or transportation sectors. These buildings account for approximately 40% of total energy usage in the country.
The energy use is driven by the following factors:
- Population-which increases the number of schools, homes and community buildings.
- Economic Growth-the main driver of floor space in retail and office buildings.
- Building size-which includes the size of homes and the total commercial floor space.
- Service demands-space conditioning and lighting, process loads, electronics.
- Real energy prices
Reducing Energy in Commercial Buildings
Here are some effective tips for commercial property owners to reduce the energy usage in their buildings.
1. Monitor energy use in your commercial property for maximum efficiency. This indicates checking and revising the energy consumed in your building regularly to ensure that you don’t waste energy or use it excessively. Some pointers while assessing your building energy usage are as follows:
- Attuning the operational timing of your building. This can bring about a huge change in your energy bill. For instance, it’s not a compulsion to heat or cool the property to levels that are necessary to staff comfort during non-working hours. This is why you need to reset the thermostat to reduce electricity usage during non-business hours.
- You may need to update the energy efficient designs that were incorporated into the property when it was built.
- You may make use of occupancy sensors that put off unnecessary systems in places that are unoccupied.
2. Maintain the steam trap system of the building as required
A majority of large commercial properties use steam boilers to generate the heat required. They have a network of many steam traps which are used for controlling the condensate. The malfunctioning of these steam traps after they age is not something unusual. This suggests that they constantly release steam which cause the boiler to function overtime and drive up the expenses of the energy consumption of your commercial property.
3. Optimize heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system
The HVAC system of your property accounts for nearly 20% of your property energy bill. Hence, it’s crucial that the boilers and chillers of your property are checked on a regular basis by a professional and maintained well for optimal performance.
4. Check the controls of the entire operating system in the property
Improper programming, malfunctioning control indicators and outdated technology all provide an erroneous account on how efficiently the operational equipment of your building is running. You may have to reprogram, replace or revise your equipment controls so that your property’s operational equipment runs efficiently.
5. Update the fixtures with advanced technology
Using new lighting fixtures, employing modern techniques of construction and replacing the old windows with models that are energy efficient to upgrade your commercial property’s efficiency can hugely cut down energy consumption.
6. Ensure that the tenants of the building are well-informed about energy-saving tips. You can create online kiosks and Web dashboards which will help to educate the occupants of the building to promote energy conservation. For instance, a common delusion is that screen savers cut down energy consumption by monitors; however, they don’t. It’s better to put a monitor in sleep mode or switch it off manually.
7. Use daylight to lighten your interior spaces. In fact daylight supplements artificial light. Energy efficient lighting systems can make use of light sensors, occupancy and time of day to control fixtures that are dimmable. They coordinate well with automated shade systems. Use LED and advanced fluorescent technology to diminish lighting loads. Compact fluorescents make use of only 25% of the energy but lasts 10 times more compared to incandescent bulbs.
8. Find out where the energy you pay for is being utilized. Use energy management software to learn identifying trends in energy usage. It’s best to expand metering to include lighting circuits and separate plug load.
What Are the Key Benefits of Being Energy Efficient?
- Saving energy helps in the protection of environment
For each 1,000 kilowatt-hours of saved electricity, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is reduced by $1,000 every year.
- It has a great effect on your firm’s bottom line
For every dollar spent by your firm on energy costs, it has to generate approximately $ 10.00 worth of revenue (with the assumption that your company operates on a profit margin of 10%). Hence, if there is a rise in energy expenses, your firm has to generate an extra $10,000 worth of revenue for each $ 1,000 of enhanced energy expenses.
It saves non-renewable resources for the upcoming generation
The majority of energy used in the US comes from non-renewable sources like natural gas, coal and petroleum. Failing to use energy efficiently or conserve it will deprive future generations of the energy they require.
14 Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings in Chicago
Owners of fourteen commercial buildings in Chicago have invested in making their commercial real estate energy efficient. This program has been dubbed “Retrofit Chicago” program, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The enterprise is connected with the city’s strategy to have investors lend approximately $ 225 million to the city for energy efficiency advancements to municipal properties. The savings would reach $ 20 million every year and would be utilized to pay off the debt.
This program will also reduce energy usage in the affected properties by approximately 20% in the coming five years, said the Mayor.
The participating properties are as follows:
- 224 S. Michigan Ave
- 515 N. State St.
- 333 N. Michigan Ave.
- 333 S. Wabash Ave
- 225 W. Randolph St. (AT&T Building)
- 227 W. Monroe St. (Franklin Center)
- 222 S. Riverside Plaza (Fifth Third Center)
- InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile
- 71 S. Wacker Dr. Hyatt Center
- 140 S. Dearborn St. (Marquette Building)
- Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
- 440 S. LaSalle St. (One Financial Place)
- Wrigley Building
- 454 N. Columbus Dr. (NBC Tower)
Energy Efficiency in Europe
Commercial buildings in Europe are responsible for nearly 40% of the total energy usage. Mandates in Europe for improved energy efficiency along with reduced carbon emissions are helping in driving a precipitous growth for green buildings in the upcoming years. Green building space in EU is projected to increase by four times the present number by the year 2016, based on a new market study.
All new constructions and important refurbishments in Europe are to meet zero-energy standards within the next seven years. A report from Pike Research Projects from the US, states that the percentage of green building space will go up from 1% to 2% at 687 million square meters.
This market will hugely be shaped by aggressive commercial real estate owners in EU, who will also be aiming to trim greenhouse gas emissions by 20% within 2020. Their objective also includes enhancing the use of renewable energy sources by 20% besides reducing overall energy consumption by around 20%.
The report mentions unstable energy costs being an important factor in reaching the goals. Future carbon legislation and price volatility present considerable risks to various organizations as energy costs in the future could go up unpredictably, according to Eric Bloom, a senior research analyst.
Energy efficient buildings are the latest trend incommercial real estate. The benefits of such properties are manifold and will continue to increase. Property owners should be wary of the hazards of energy usage and should design their buildings in such a way so that it uses the least amount of energy.
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