Making Buildings More Sustainable and Energy-Efficient

How Energy Efficient upgrades save you money

Retrofit

Many businesses have already invested a significant amount of money into their existing buildings, lighting, HVAC, and controls. The good news is that these things can be retrofitted to begin reaping the mired of benefits that energy efficiency has to offer.

HVAC and Heating:

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are among the most energy-intensive mechanism of any business. In fact, space cooling alone accounts for 15% of the electricity used in commercial buildings on average.1 According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), much of the energy and cost that goes into powering HVAC is lost to waste – upwards of 30% in the average commercial building.

Improve efficiency by 5-20% with HVAC upgrades and/or HVAC replacement

If a building’s air conditioner or heat pump is more than 10 years old, replace it with energy efficient air conditioners and heat pumps can improve sustainability and reduce energy costs by up to 20%. Furnaces or boilers that are more than 15 years old will also likely be due for upgrades or replacement, also offer significant cost and energy savings.

Lighting:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that lighting accounts for about 21 percent of all the electricity consumed by the commercial sector. Light-emitting diode (LED) lighting reduces cost 50-90% and is safer, sturdier, longer lasting, more energy efficient, and less expensive to maintain than traditional commercial lighting methods, such a fluorescent or high intensity discharge (HID) lighting. Not to mention LED lighting emits substantially less heat, reducing the need to expend energy on cooling a building, which results in lower electricity costs. 1 kw per every 3 kw of load is reduced from heat load

Building Controls:

What is an intelligent building control system?

The purpose behind an intelligent commercial building control system is to gather real-time data related to the internal and external environment and then make strategic adjustments based on programmed settings.

Essentially, these systems consist of a range of sensors that collect basic environmental inputs like air temperature, humidity, and airflow; other inputs come from motion sensors, door and window sensors that record entrances and exits, and a host of other similar devices as required for how a particular building is used.

The data collected by all of these sensors is automatically analyzed by a computer program tied directly into the building’s main mechanical and electrical systems: the lighting, security system, HVAC, etc.

Finally, a human user sets up specific “rules” for the system to follow in order to optimize energy usage and customize the system to the building’s unique situation.

How building controls save you money

Buildings with integrated automation and smart technology will have lower overall operating costs than those without these systems in place. They are more energy efficient, comfortable and secure as well.

Based on the historical evidence, purchasing and installing smart HVAC, lighting, and access systems has proven to be an excellent investment, yielding both the short- and long-term ROI building owners always strive for.

Smart technology not only cuts operating costs and increases system functionality, it also helps prevent costly shutdowns and emergency repairs by predicting equipment failures early on so preventive measures can be taken. Finally, these systems increase the property's resale value and marketability because prospective owners realize the advantage they provide.

Here are two key building systems that can benefit most from integration with intelligent commercial building controls:

HVAC Systems

Your commercial HVAC system is probably the single largest energy consumer in your facility. Greater control of and insight into your HVAC system provides valuable data and cost savings immediately. When combined with building automation and data analytics, these control systems simultaneously enable more efficient energy usage and greater overall comfort.

Lighting

Your lighting system is the second largest energy consumer for most commercial buildings. It’s also the most difficult consumption to reduce without intelligent controls because the only other alternative is trying to change tenant behavior: teaching people to turn off lights when they leave a room, or turn off their computers at the end of the day. An intelligent lighting system, on the other hand, changes the building's behavior - a much easier task to accomplish.

ZERO Carbon Footprint Building

A ZERO carbon footprint building produces enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements, thereby reducing the use of non-renewable energy in the building sector. ZERO carbon footprint building use all cost-effective measures to reduce energy usage through energy efficiency and include renewable energy systems that produce enough energy to meet remaining energy needs. There are a number of long-term advantages of moving toward ZERO carbon footprint building, including lower environmental impacts, lower operating and maintenance costs, better resiliency to power outages and natural disasters, and improved energy security.

Reducing building energy consumption in new building construction or renovation can be accomplished through various means, including integrated design, energy efficiency retrofits, reduced plug loads and energy conservation programs. Reduced energy consumption makes it simpler and less expensive to meet the building’s energy needs with renewable sources of energy.

ZERO carbon footprint building have a tremendous potential to transform the way buildings use energy and there are an increasing number of building owners who want to meet this target. Private commercial property owners are interested in developing ZERO carbon footprint building to meet their corporate goals, and some have already constructed buildings designed to be zero energy. In response to regulatory mandates, federal government agencies and many state and local governments are beginning to move toward targets for ZERO carbon footprint building