Start as you mean to go on
The money-saving potential of energy efficiency in commercial environments is often talked about. But that conversation is usually in terms of how existing properties can be adapted to reduce running and maintenance costs.
What about buildings that are still on the drawing board? It’s true that it’s becoming more and more popular to consider energy efficiency and carbon consumption when designing and creating buildings. But that doesn’t have to mean living grass rooftops and biomass boilers.
In fact, there are some very simple steps the building team can take to make sure energy efficiency is part of the ordinary, everyday fabric of the building. And, incidentally, to get the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) calculations result you need for building approval.
So what’s in all of this for anyone building, or planning to build, a new commercial or industrial property? The bottom line is well, the bottom line. A significant saving on energy bills over the lifetime of the building. And a significantly more attractive property to potential buyers or tenants.
The other key benefit is that you’ll meet legislative requirements for new buildings, get the SBEM calculations you need, and have a business you can use in a much shorter space of time.
Here’s our top five tips:
- Energy-efficient lighting
Did you know that up to 40% of a commercial building’s energy costs come from lighting? There’s a range of ways you can reduce that, from integrating occupancy or daylight sensors to energy-efficient bulbs. Even something as simple as self-cleaning windows makes a big difference to the amount of artificial light the occupiers will need.
- Good insulation
We know heat rises. Which is why about a quarter of a building’s heat disappears straight through the roof. You can lose up to another 30% through the walls. So more than half of the heat you’re paying for could be going to waste. Build insulation in from the start, and it’ll save you the cost of lost heat and installing insulation later.
- Get the right air conditioning
The wrong aircon could double your energy costs. That’s right – double them. Unfortunately, it can be a necessary evil. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to keep costs down. Like making sure the units are the right size, that they won’t operate below a set temperature, and that they never compete with heating systems. The potential savings are huge.
- Cut heating costs
Small changes to your heating systems can make big differences to cost, especially when you consider that heating and hot water can account for up to two-thirds of your running costs. Did you know, for example, that reducing the temperature by just one degree could reduce your annual bill by up to 8%? Make sure you install the most efficient boilers you can, and hot water costs are also kept under control.
- Effective ventilation
Ventilation should always be planned. It shouldn’t be the result of draughty doors and windows, or a lack of insulation. And it needs to be appropriate for your building. If the system is too big, heating costs will go up. If it’s too small, you’ll be relying on supplemental systems, like desk fans, that burn huge amounts of energy. Get it right and you’ll save up to 30% on heating costs.