Most people equate optimizing building performance with insane amounts of cash. That’s why most owners prefer to hold off improvements, not fully aware of the cost-saving benefits of these changes. While it’s true that maximizing commercial buildings entail upfront costs and additional layers of administrative processes, it shouldn’t be difficult.
Before making any changes, it’s crucial to get baseline performance figures. In this case, building owners and renters should gather their utility data, which shows the energy use and consumption patterns of the building’s occupants. Analyzing utility data is an effective way to find out which energy usage can be reduced to bring in savings. Doing this allows you to gauge whether specific improvements have any impact on the overall performance of the commercial property.
Tips To Optimize Building Performance
Commercial building optimization can be done in many different ways—from making minor changes like upgrading bathroom partitions to key structural upgrades. Below are some of the smart ways building owners and lessors can do it:
#1. Upgrade Your Windows
One of the ways to optimize building efficiency is to upgrade your windows. Buildings often have glass walls and windows to let natural sunlight in. Traditional windows, however, are notorious for letting heat through the building, reducing your cooling system’s efficiency.
Fortunately, technology has allowed the creation of glass materials with better efficiency. For those who find window replacements too pricy, a good alternative is to use retrofit films capable of keeping away around 50% of heat. Glass tints can also do the job. Also, boost your window’s efficiency by adding insulated panels.
#2. Keep Your Building Well-Insulated
Keeping your building airtight is another way to promote your building’s energy performance. Insulation helps to keep the heat out during the summer season and retain warm air inside the property despite the chilly weather outside.
Regularly check your entry and exit areas for air leaks, drafts, and moisture as they’re indicators of serious problems. Fix these as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the bigger dent it can put on your pockets due to high energy costs.
#3. Enhance Ventilation
The next element to look at is your property’s ventilation system. Too much insulation can lead to increased moisture and condensation, and you need proper air circulation to manage these.
Check whether your building has enough intake and exhaust systems to enhance indoor air ventilation and quality. For winter, you can use heat recovery ventilators that warm incoming air more efficiently. It does the opposite during the summer months—cooling incoming air better. These, in effect, can further contribute to reducing electricity bills.
#4. Consider A Building Automation System
Like smart homes, buildings can be upgraded through the installation of automated systems. As you can imagine, it costs building owners to have building optimization software installed. Over time, though, it can translate to much-needed savings through the following activities:
- Equipment Scheduling
Except for healthcare facilities, commercial buildings occupied by regular offices rarely operate 24 hours a day and seven days a week. These spaces don’t need to have access to electricity on Sundays or after closing times. Building managers can impose limited hours for access to basic utilities. Using sensors can also help you save on energy costs as they turn electricity only when an occupant is in the area.
- Temperature Settings Control
It’s a given for building occupants to adjust the thermostat depending on the building location and the weather. However, constantly tinkering with the heating and cooling system’s temperature setting often leads to higher electricity costs. An automated temperature settings control can identify ideal temperatures to provide warmth during winter and bring coolness during summer.
- Remote Monitoring
With this automated system installed in a building, owners and managers can control the building systems remotely and in real-time. Regular maintenance checks can be scheduled at least once a year.
- Quick Diagnostics
Having this software allows the management to eliminate the need to wait for days for manual checks and diagnostics. This system is great for complementing traditional maintenance building works.
#5. Retrofit To Become Greener
Besides replacing or upgrading your glass doors and windows, other structural changes can make your building more energy-efficient. A proper building assessment can determine the type of renovations ideal for your commercial space.
To start with, consider switching to a cool roof that deflects heat better while keeping light in. Another major upgrade would be investing in renewable energy such as installing solar panels to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources.
#6. Choose Energy-Efficient Equipment
Most office equipment these days claim to be more energy-efficient or consume less energy as compared to their predecessors. Paying more for these energy-saving office equipment can reduce your overall electricity spending.
Choose products with the Energy Star mark to make sure these items live up to their claims. A certified computer set is said to consume up to 65% less power than the other models. Overall, these recognized energy-efficient products can save up to 30% from regular consumption.
Some buildings have informal storage areas in their workspaces. Somewhere, there’s a corner where broken computers and other office equipment are kept while waiting to be repaired or disposed of. Getting rid of these spaces not only means added revenues but also helps reduce energy costs.
#7. Maximize The Entry Of Natural Light
To reduce energy use, make sure your building layout and physical setting allow for the maximum entry of daylight. At the same time, occupants should implement measures to encourage this.
Office spaces should be clear of clutter, especially in the window area. Obstructions can prevent light from coming in, forcing occupants to use office lighting even early in the morning when the sun’s energy is strongest. As light emits heat, it can lead to higher cooling requirements, too.
After an analysis of your building’s current consumption and performance, start identifying opportunities for optimization. What you need to do will have to depend on your current resources.
For simple and easy-to-do energy optimization methods, follow the tips discussed in this article. For more ambitious projects, you may have to request additional funding from lending agencies. Once you’ve started implementing these measures, perform active monitoring to ensure you’re in the right direction.