Going green benefits everybody, from property owners to the environment. With a reduction in energy consumption, building owners save money while reducing their building’s carbon footprint. Not all buildings are the same, on an area benchmark, some buildings consume more energy than others - for example, commercial buildings that have 25,000-200,000 square ft account for 11% of all buildings in the US and 44% of all building energy consumed. Building operators must aim to improve building energy efficiency to reduce costs, avoid scrutiny from environmental regulators, and appeal to beliefs and lifestyles of eco-conscious consumers.
Let’s take a look at 5 bulletproof ways of saving building energy.
1. Measure Your Building’s Energy Consumption
By installing a submetering system in your building, you will be able to measure your building’s energy consumption. Benchmarking is one of the best ways to start seeing where energy efficiency improvements can be made. It facilitates comparing a building’s energy use to the energy use of similar buildings to assess opportunities for qualifying/verifying energy savings, as well as opportunities for improvement.
2. Building Insulation
Building insulation and making the property as airtight as possible, allows for lower cooling and heating needs. This can be done by using non-traditional wall systems and high-performance insulation that offer better results. Replacing windows and doors caulking and weatherstripping to avoid air leaks is always a smart investment.
3. Use Certified Equipment
When buying new equipment, be sure to look for ENERGY STAR certified products. They are top of the class when it comes to energy performance. They typically use 30-65% less energy than their non-certified counterparts. If your HVAC system is old, it may be inefficient, so consider upgrading it with a more energy-efficient model. Be sure to stay informed about new developments because these products evolve quickly.
4. Upgrade to LEED
In Canada, many buildings are either being built or retrofitted to the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green standard. The standard is designed to improve building sustainability in areas such as energy use, water efficiency, indoor air quality, materials selection, site planning, and design features. One of the critical components of LEED-certified buildings is submetering. A building with a submetering system can increase its overall LEED grade by being qualified for design innovation credits.
When compared to conventional buildings, LEED buildings cost only 2% more to build. With improved energy efficiency and a higher occupancy rate, the additional cost is recouped quickly.
5. Upgrade Your Ventilation System
Maintaining the best indoor air quality possible and preventing the buildup of moisture is essential for every building. Keeping the energy inside is also critical, that’s why you need a good ventilation system, such as one with a heat recovery ventilator that uses the outgoing air to heat the air coming from outside (in the winter). During summer days, the outgoing air can cool the incoming air.
The potential energy savings within residential and commercial buildings are enormous, especially when looking at how much energy is wasted. Building owners, operators, and managers who take advantage of the latest energy management and automation systems are seeing some incredible energy savings in multiple areas.