If you own or rent your office/building, you need to look at energy-efficiency at your work premises. Ask yourself…. If you can save a lot of money and lower carbon emissions would your boss or shareholders be happy?
Lighting, heating, ventilation & air conditioning (HVAC) and Commercial appliances can be upgraded to more energy-efficient models.
The main issue we see in the market is the mixed messaging with Solar as the be all and end all solution to deliver these savings. I’m not bagging solar here, I’m just saying its best to remove your energy waste FIRST then add a solar system to your premises
However, the challenge we see regularly is that a lot of companies lease their office space. Typically any building updates are the responsibility of the building owner and facilitated through the facility manager. So what can we do to help break down the barriers to develop solutions that are mutually beneficial to the tenant and the building owner?
Investing in the energy efficiency of their buildings can improve asset value due to reduced costs in operation and maintenance. You’ll also raise the amenity levels for the occupants and often the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) rating of your site.
So why would you invest in any upgrades?
· Help attract new tenants faster
· Have lower tenant turnover
· Lower strata fees
· Higher rents and prices for greener buildings
The best place for a building owner to start is by completing an energy-efficiency assessment/audit. This will identify how you are using your energy and what areas to focus on to improve usage and reduce costs.
For new commercial builds, ensure you are looking at materials,passive design, building orientation and location.
This will ensure you use less on heating and cooling systems and taking advantage of the natural lighting as an example.
Other key focus areas:
Lighting can account for up to 40% of total electricity use in buildings. Lighting upgrades from inefficient to fluorescent bulbs to LEDs whilst also considering low-cost and no-cost ways to reduce lighting costs, such as automatic control and removing excess lights.
Consider how you can maximise natural light in your office space. For example rearranging rooms, lighter coloured walls to reflect light, etc.
Heating and Cooling
Whether you are insulating walls and ceilings, installing blinds/curtains or double glazing these measures will reduce the temperature of a building prior to using a HVAC system.
Prior to upgrading your HVAC system you should consider delay start-time each morning, having a set/unalterable temperature or even the use of a desk fan if possible.
Another tip is to look at your airstream supply and see if you can isolate the fan motors and other heat-generating components. And lastly, always maintain your system regularly (every 3 months). Otherwise upgrading your HVAC system can provide savings up to 30%.
Building Management Systems (BMS)
A BMS provides you insights into how you can control your energy-hungry equipment. You can only manage what you measure and by adding sensors and monitoring systems this can help you optimise your buildings performance.
With payback periods between 3-5 years, once you have considered the above areas, you should be installing a solar system. There are many financial benefits in doing so. Similar to the ‘So why would you invest in any upgrades’ section above. However, we can create a revenue stream from this system as you the builder owner can now take charge of the electricity at your site. This may sound complicated…. It’s not. There are automated solutions out there that will do it all for you.
When leasing a building space, energy costs can be reduced by 25% by leasing an energy-efficient building that have implemented energy saving initiatives. By selecting a tenancy with energy-efficient lighting, for example, a businesses can save between $30,000 (500m2 office) and $140,000 (2000m2 office) over a 5-year lease. To find these sites, ask for the NABERS rating from the leasing manager. A high NABERS rating is GOOD! Ie 5 or 6 star. You can go one step further and ask if they have completed any of the upgrades listed in the Owners section above.
Appliances, Computers and Office Equipment
Select appliances with Energy Rating Label with high star ratings. High star rating equipment is more efficient and uses less energy to operate. Also, look at times to turn equipment off overnight when no one is on site.
More widely used on the East Coast, however, whether you own or rent a building/office space you should be looking at a Green Lease. A Green Lease, also known as a best practice lease helps tenants and building owners look at ways to jointly lower energy use…. Creating a financial win-win.
Co-generation and Tri-generation
Co-generation (co-gen) and tri-generation (tri-gen) systems that harness waste heat on site. Both co-gen and tri-gen systems should be used at a site with high demand for heating ie hotels, hospitals, industrial laundries, data centres and swimming pools. They are especially cost-effective when heating and/or cooling demands are present throughout the year.
To find out how Super Smart Energy can help your business, contact us today.