Among the greatest challenges of any construction energy efficiency program may be deciding where to begin. This may be rough if you have one property, and particularly tricky for supervisors of large portfolios.
Data is the friend
To put off on the ideal path, data could be your main buddy. When analyzed and presented properly, it can be hugely powerful both in terms of identifying where to begin on your energy efficiency pursuit, design build firm malibu, in addition to providing the means to track and quantify performance improvements over time.
To save you spending days sifting through spreadsheets and reports, we recently did some analysis using data from thousands of buildings. The results were interesting and pointed into a rather obvious, but compelling, place to start your energy efficiency program.
After hours energy use
Based on buildings across a variety of industries and sectors – including offices, education, and government – we found that buildings will be on average empty for around 72% of this year. Makes sense right? What with many folks churns off in the evenings, weekends, and holidays, a building is empty far more frequently than occupied.
From a sustainability standpoint, there is nothing wrong with having an empty building, provided that it is not consuming any energy whilst sitting idle. Unfortunately, that’s never the case, far from it in fact. Malibu-based landscape design company
Our analysis found that normally 55 percent of all electricity use occurs during that time. That is more than half a year’s energy consumption being pumped into a vacant building.
Why is this? The figures showed that many buildings have relatively high levels of baseload’, meaning they continue to absorb significant amounts of power even when they’re empty. This becomes a very important consideration you are looking at improving efficacy. To help remedy this, let us look at the prices, culprits, and a couple of solutions.
Calculating the Price
As constantly in talks around construction (in)efficacy, when it comes to costs we will need to consider both the environmental and the financial implications.
The environmental cost is rather simple to work out. In Australia, every kilowatt-hour of power poured into a vacant construction generates around 0.9kg** of greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, you might be subsidizing your wasted energy via some onsite renewables, such as solar, but remember that the vast majority of this out-of-hours consumption will happen at night as soon as your PV can’t help. Get the best price here!
The financial price is trickier to calculate as it will depend on the tariff for every construction, however, for instance, we contrasted the out-of-hours energy usage and associated cost for three comparable office buildings, the scenario in a few kilometers of one another in a significant city.
Regardless of the similarities, the total amount of energy going into these buildings during out-of-hours periods varied hugely, with significant implications concerning operating costs.
Office A utilized 38 percent of its annual energy after hours for $109,000 per annum. Office B used 55 percent of its energy after hours $131,000 and Office C utilized 63 percent of its energy after hours for $182,000.
So the greatest’ celebrity in our sample has been spending more than $100,000 annually powering an empty construction!
So where is all that energy going?
Just where all that out-of-hours power is going will vary from building to building however, even without sub-metering information, we could make some educated guesses.
In a normal office building, there are three main energy consumers: HVAC (50%), lighting (25 percent ), and plug loads (25%)***. HVAC is often concentrated in bigger offices, although you may still have a few split-system units around the place, and light management is increasingly centralized too. Therefore, while they could be playing a part in the narrative, it will most likely be plug loads that are the real culprit and must inevitably form the attention of any out-of-hours functionality enhancements.
An easy starting point
Sometimes it’s essential to be pragmatic when wanting to roll out environmental programs, and energy efficiency is not any different. There will likely be a few (often competing) project options, whether it’s covering the construction in solar panels turning up the set point on the A/C. Though many of these projects will have merit, a number will present substantial obstacles like upfront cost (solar panels) or push back from building occupants (A/C tweaks).
By beginning your energy-saving quest by focusing on out-of-hours usage, you eliminate the majority of these barriers. First and foremost, nobody could deny that massaging energy in a vacant building is inefficient. Secondly, the actions taken to reduce this waste are often comparatively straightforward. Why? Since the building is vacant from the beginning. It’s a lot simpler to affect change within an empty building, as you don’t have to worry about bothering the occupants. Coupled with that, the savings you’ll find are usually from simple, operational tweaks like shutting down printers and PCs at night.