Reducing the energy bills has always been one of the top priorities of every homeowner, but are the right measures being implemented? Inefficient use of energy not only causes the energy bills to rise but also negatively impacts the environment. According to IEA, over 33% of world’s energy is consumed by buildings, while releasing about 40% of CO2 emissions. Governments all across the world have been striving to lower the environmental footprint.
There are tons of options that save energy. However, spending on measures that save energy without analysing the building’s needs will only lead to higher expenses with little to none energy savings. Depending on the property, the optimal set of measures for a building will vary. However, there are few measures that can achieve energy efficiency and also lower the expenses in most kinds of buildings. Let’s dive into this with the top 4 measures that help achieve the maximum energy savings.
Getting an Energy Audit
As mentioned earlier, there is no one-fit-for-all measure that fits all kinds of buildings. Also, a trial-and-error approach is not optimal as there are tons of possible measures to choose from. The best and the most effective strategy is getting and energy audit which focuses on energy efficiency measures along with a guaranteed ROI.
During an energy audit,engineers carry out a thorough and detailed inspection of the building system and also review their technical specifications. This allows them to get a clear picture of how exactly is the building consuming energy, and it compared with similar properties. This reveals the best possible energy efficiency measures, which are then simulated and analysed using an energy modelling software.
A common concern in most building owners is that most equipment come with typical savings that can be achieved. However, the actual results can vary. An energy audit offers much higher accuracy that is critical for making investment decisions.
The building’s energy consumption depends on a wide range of factors, but it is often observed that in most cases, fixing minor issues can improve the energy efficiency. This is what energy commissioning means; checking if all the building systems are operating as designed.
The following tasks ae carried out during commissioning –
- Checking and readjusting equipment controls.
- Inspecting and calibrating sensors.
- Balancing ventilation systems.
- Balancing hydronic systems.
- Minor modifications and repairs.
When it comes to commissioning, there are a few terms that you need to know to understand what exactly is needed –
- Recommissioning refers to the service being carried out in a building that has already been commissioned before.
- Retro-commissioning refers to a building that has never been commissioned or not in a long time.
- Monitor-based commissioning refers to using sensors and data analysis for the ongoing commissioning.
Implementing Energy Efficiency Measures
After an energy audit, it’ll enable you with a list of energy efficiency measures that are specific to your building. This ensures that you can really focus on measures that has the highest savings per dollar invested. These measures can vary depending on the building and the property. However, there are some measures that are effective in most buildings –
- Upgrade to LED lighting with smart controls.
- Upgrade pump and fan motors with Variable Frequency Drive (VFD).
- Space heating and air conditioning measures.
- Building envelope upgrades.
The long term savings for a proper selection of energy efficiency measures after analysing the building are much higher than their upfront cost.
Deep Energy Retrofit
In most cases energy efficiency can be achieved with minor changes or equipment upgrade or energy audit. However, in some buildings the best option to not only achieve maximum energy savings but also a higher ROI, is with a deep energy retrofit.
A deep energy retrofit can be considered like a major renovation, since it involves major modification to the building and the components. For example, a typical energy efficiency measure would be insulating the piper and involve air-sealing, but a deep energy retrofit may replace the entire building envelope. This sounds like an expensive project, but deep energy retrofits typically achieve energy savings of over 50%.
Fortunately, building owners can take advantage of low-interest loans to for the project expenses over time. Additionally, the savings achieved from the deep retrofit can also be used to make the payments.C-PACE loans have a term up to 30 years and repaid through tax assessments of the property. In US, as of 2021, the interest rates are low, providing an excellent opportunity to invest in such major upgrades.