What are the energy-saving solutions for commercial real estate?
Conservation of energy is one of our prime concerns now since energy consumption has been growing at an alarming rate for the past few years. Studies suggest that about a million commercial buildings consume much more energy than that of transportation or industry sectors.
The rapid growth of commercial office spaces also happens to drive many other buildings like schools and hospitals. The economic growth or GDP further drives the demand for office spaces.
Commercial buildings comprise various sectors like public utility buildings, hospitals, schools, malls, retail, restaurants and office space. The office and retail spaces use most of the energy. The intensity of commercial energy is growing rapidly with the idea of primary energy use that may further help with energy cost-saving measures.
Let’s discuss some of the energy and cost-saving techniques that we can implement in order to conserve the annual energy consumption of one’s building:
ENERGY AND COST-SAVING SOLUTIONS FOR THE COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
Building smart buildings:
Buildings that have complete automated controls and systems in order are known as ‘smart buildings’. A smart building has certain controls which comprise sensors and actuators that are integrated together to form an intelligent data collection application.
To operate the utilities efficiently in the buildings, avoid wastage of energy and save the cost of energy, it is essential to gather extensive data and use it for operating various systems.
Generally, smart building systems save on energy costs because they provide visibility into the entire building, even if the facilities are spread across a large area like that of a university. Data collected through these systems can also be used for analysing, tracking and communicating.
Implementing low-cost techniques:
It’s always feasible to implement quick low-cost techniques that can save up on large energy bills. For instance, trying to turn off office equipment like printers, monitors, computers and copiers into “sleep mode” when they are not in use, will help to cut the energy costs by 40%. Having regular maintenance of the energy-consuming equipment also helps to conserve energy. Regular cleaning of the coils and vents in the equipment such as the condenser and evaporator coils can also result in energy savings.
The Internet of Things or IoT is known to be the latest technological innovation that is used extensively to manage energy efficiency. The IoT takes help from the Internet to connect information that has been gathered from various devices like the sensors and actuators which have been embedded within the systems. IoT is particularly used to collect information like motion, air pressure, light, and temperature or water flow. When the IoT is integrated with a building management system or BMS, it enables autonomous monitoring, control and provides some advanced analytics where the data can be further used for predictive modelling.
This paves the way for higher cost savings, increasing productivity as well as revenue benefits with the collected data.
The REITs also implement smart building solutions to access real-time cooling tower data.
In order to maintain the energy levels, reducing wastage, one can add layers of insulation around the heating and cooling pipes, electrical outlets etc. This helps as insulation provides a certain resistance to the heat flow and lowers the heating and cooling costs increasing the comfort of the occupants. To improve energy efficiency, one can reduce the heat loss through the building envelope by internal or external wall insulation. With external wall insulation, the building can benefit from aesthetic improvement along with improving thermal comfort.
Implementing advanced technologies in your building has the advantage of collecting data from various systems. The huge collected data needs to be managed in a structured manner to produce efficient insights. The application that helps to achieve these are known as “Big data” analytics. Big data is much more efficient to gather all the energy efficiency data and resources to be further utilized to reduce energy consumption.
Many buildings that implement smart building solutions are efficient to use real-time data to automatically adjust and control various systems.
In order to reduce energy costs, one can use general cooling measures and “green” designs. Some of them are:
- Get natural lighting by opening the interiors to daylight.
- Using landscaping and an array of trees to provide shaded areas, reducing the local temperature.
- Installing solar power panels on rooftops can be used to power lights in parking spaces and even used for water heating.
- Designing an efficient water collection system for irrigating, landscaping all around the building.
A significant portion of energy consumption is taken up by lighting, heating and cooling. We must try to focus on cutting down on energy costs by using energy-efficient lighting. We can also implement occupancy sensors to operate the lights only when in use.
One can also use low energy consuming lights such as fluorescent, incandescent, halogen, LED or HID. These generally come with power-saving ratings and help in reducing the high energy consumption than other lights.
Saving up the exorbitant cost of energy consumption is a prime concern for every commercial building owner, operator or facility manager. As discussed above, there are many solutions to help us with energy cost savings. Implementing advanced technologies like IoT, low-cost energy efficiency measures like using natural light, solar power etc.