Energy Conservation Measures in Buildings

May 24, 2022

It is a costly endeavor to run a building or facility. The various systems need regular upkeep, and many devices and equipment consume a significant amount of power to run. As energy costs rise, many firms and organizations examine cost-cutting options to offset increasing electricity bills on operating budgets.

Investing some of your budgets in Energy Conservation Measures is an excellent approach to saving money. You can plan, install, and commission engineers to help create an integrated energy-saving program or a project with proven energy efficiency. Here are things about energy conservation measures you need to know.

What Is an Energy Conservation Measure?

In the most fundamental sense, it is an initiative taken to minimize the energy consumption of either specific equipment or an essential building component. Energy conservation measures, or ECMs, imply a mix of numerous ECM activities to reduce energy usage throughout an entire building or structure.

Energy is a term that encompasses the usage of energy, water, or gas. Most people often use the terms energy efficiency and energy conservation interchangeably because improving efficiency leads to reduced consumption.

It aims to increase the energy efficiency of specific energy-consuming assets (ECAs) and actions that improve the overall performance and energy score of a building.

Energy-saving methods may include several changes to fittings, fixtures, and centralized plant and equipment, such as:  

  • Work on system optimization and re-commissioning.  
  • Upgrades and replacements.  
  • Renovations.  

ECMs often require electrical and mechanical engineering to develop and install energy-saving measures to achieve targeted energy efficiency results, such as cost reductions. Some organizations specialize in each sector but managing various contractors and subcontractors can be challenging when working on extensive energy efficiency initiatives with several ECMs.

HVAC Systems

Most facilities or buildings recommended for modifications have substantial installations where it is necessary to upgrade to an efficient air handling system to support building needs. Even if you don't change your HVAC system entirely, system control enhancements and periodic maintenance can help you save money.

Is there a night setting on the thermostat? Consider changing it with a model that does. You might want to install a thermostat to connect to power management during future improvements. In addition, install energy-efficient roof hatches to enhance your building's thermal insulation.

Many HVAC systems in most buildings and facilities are pretty well. Yet, they have design and specification flaws such as low ventilation rates, faulty controls, and poor air-intake filtering. When reviewing your air handling system, ensure that your ventilation system satisfies airflow demands. A poorly performing ventilation system can reduce the effectiveness of heating and cooling systems, reducing comfort and energy efficiency.

Water Usage

Optimizing water usage can help you save money on your water and electricity bills. Many previous applications suggest that installing low-flow toilets and faucets and showerheads can significantly help reduce costs. Planting drought-resistant grasses are also ideal since they require weekly watering.

Water systems require regular repair and upkeep since they are constantly under pressure. Your yearly energy bills might increase if you have a leaking pipe or hot water faucet.

Efficient Lighting

Lighting accounts for around 22% of a building's yearly energy use. Lighting upgrades save a lot of energy, and you can combine them with additional measures to increase efficiency further.

Consider upgrading to electronic ballasts and T8 bulbs if you utilize fluorescent lights for more than 30 to 35 hours per week (even fewer if your electricity expenses are high). To save energy, buy small fluorescent bulbs that screw straight into fixtures.

Exit signs are a great low-risk way to increase energy efficiency. The use of two 20w incandescent bulbs in earlier signs accounts for a large portion of your annual energy demand. You can save money by retrofitting them to compact fluorescents or light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Automatic lighting systems have the potential to save a lot of money in circumstances where you leave your on when you don't need them. Offices are notorious for wasting light. Timers, motion detectors, and incidental lighting systems are examples of automatic controls.

Energy Management Systems

Energy management systems combine nearly all of a building's energy activities under a central control unit, increasing efficiency and lower maintenance costs. It's similar to having a brain for your structure. These technologies are not cheap. Only the most energy-intensive facilities can usually afford to construct a complete system.

Consider selecting suitable equipment with power management when updating lighting sensors, newer thermostats, boilers, or other items. You can use separate components over time, and an energy management system that can operate, monitor, and assess the water systems, HVAC, and lighting for multiple buildings from a centralized location.

Maintenance and Operation

The most effective way of reducing energy costs is through operation and maintenance. The following are some popular techniques that provide immediate savings at free or low cost:

  • Maintain a clean environment. When dirt, dust, or other particles cover your heating and lighting systems, they lose their power substantially.
  • Ensure you calibrate your thermostats properly.
  • Increase your cold air intake at night throughout the summer.
  • When you are not using them, turn your lights, computer monitors, and other devices off since the current technology can tolerate repeated on/off cycles.
  • Once a year, consult with a professional to properly inspect or repair your weatherstripping.  
  • Adjust your thermostats at night during the winter.

The Takeaway

It is not easy to create and implement energy conservation measures in your building, especially when you don't follow proper guidelines. For this reason, you need to work alongside experts who can provide you with the necessary information before you begin or make any significant decision.  

Crystal Simmons is a freelance writer and is passionate about helping people. She also has her own blog where she shares her tips and tricks.

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