How to make commercial buildings more energy-efficient? (Using 10 sustainable ways)

Commercial Building Energy Savings

Today commercial buildings consume more energy than any other sector. According to a report of US Energy Information Administration, commercial and residential buildings contributed to 40% of all US energy consumption in 2015. Commercial primary energy consumption in India also has grown by about 700% in the last four decades, says a report of UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). This increased energy consumption is the result of rising population, growing economy, and people’s desire for a better lifestyle. Though the motive is good but if the rise in energy consumption is not controlled, it will lead to more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with serious impacts on the global environment.

Renewable Resources

“We know that world post-COVID-19 is going to be very different and it will affect the daily lives of every individual on this planet. Businesses will prefer renewable, eco-friendly, and sustainable measures to cut energy consumption. Usage of resources used will be limited, checked, and recycled at every possible stage to reduce the impact on the environment.”

Commercial buildings consist of government buildings, banks, hospitals, schools, malls, retail, restaurants, and office spaces. Among these, office and retail occupy the major percentage of energy consumption. They use a lot of energy to run their day-to-day operations. Thus, having a plan to manage energy consumption is very important for businesses to run business cost-effectively.

Wind Mill

Businesses do not want to be known as energy-suckers. Every smart business or a company always looks for smart solutions that could help them to reduce their energy usage and their impact on the environment. They want to cut down the energy expenses but with minimal changes in the existing business set up. Thus using new-age energy management systems, along with other sustainable solutions, can generate energy savings of 5 to 15% and typically pay for itself in less than three years.

Smart City

Below we will look at 10 different sustainable ways through which businesses can become more energy-efficient and self-reliant:

1. Make energy-savings a part of your business culture

As the saying goes, “Change starts from within.”, similarly at every business savings start from within. Energy conservation is not something that needs to be done forcefully, instead, it has to become a habit in every employee at any business. Not only this saves the expenses of the company but it also saves the environment. Switching off lights and appliances when not in use, or limiting the use of water or recycling the water are some of the ways through which a business culture can be built from within.

2. Conduct regular audits

Regular monitoring and controlling the consumption of energy within the building premises helps one to reduce the energy bill. It also helps one to check and assess the areas and devices that are consuming more power. Auditing helps one to adopt several sustainable and renewable measures to operate the day-to-day operations.

3. Replace old with new

Old devices are equipped with older technologies and consume more power. These old devices contribute a lot to the monthly energy bill of the company. Businesses should replace old heating and cooling systems, use certified energy products, and energy-efficient lighting in its premises to cut down energy consumption.

4. Use new-age technological systems

Installing automation systems, IoT systems, and using real-time data, advanced analytics businesses can control and manage the energy used. For example: Installing daylight sensors or motion-detecting lights around the office. Using smaller task lights for an individual to avoid turning on bigger lights when only one or two people are in the office. Installing energy management systems, like Enture, that turn devices to sleep mode when they are not in use for some amount of time. Setting all of your appliances to automatically shut off at the end of the workday can cut energy costs by as much as 4% or more.

5. Use sunlight effectively

Sun is the most abundant source of light, heat, and energy. Building premises can use sunlight to better light their premises using better window designs that could allow sunlight to illuminate the indoors of the building. Using light color interior surfaces can also maximize the use of sunlight. This way a business can cut down artificial lighting during the daytime.

6. Use of shades

During summers, businesses can use the shades or heat-resistant/tinted window glasses to cut down the excessive heat inside the building coming from sunlight. This reduces the dependence on air-conditioning to a significant level.

7. Focus on insulation

In a tropical country, like India, sunlight is abundant and can make a commercial building use energy more than needed. Thus, by optimizing and reinforcing its insulation, businesses not only saves money but also become more energy efficient. The outer layer of the building can be designed and should be enveloped with insulation materials to lower heating and cooling needs. In addition to that, fixing doors and windows to avoid air leaks in existing buildings can be a great step towards this.

8. Choose the right ventilation system

Maintaining good air quality inside the building is equally important. A right ventilation system could save excess energy to control the indoor temperature.

9. Use traditional methods

Glass buildings in the tropical part of the world, like India, uses more energy than a traditionally built building. Glasses act as a greenhouse and traps heat inside the buildings and to remove these trapped heats businesses then use air-conditioning to cool off the indoors. Concepts like Earth Architecture and Green Building Architecture should be integrated to cut down the impact on environment.

10. Cut down the dependence on fossil fuels

Using simple measures such as drip irrigation, solar led street lamps, and installing solar panels on the building roofs can also influence a lot on your energy consumption within the building premises.
Installing water treatment plants, waste management plants, and water harvesting systems can also help one business to suffice their energy or resources requirements and could be met by generating energy within the premises.
Businesses should focus more on using available free resources such as sunlight, wind, and water, to produce electricity and cut down the dependence of electricity generated through fossil fuels.

Roof Solar Panel

In conclusion, every commercial building owner or facility manager wants to save energy costs and wants to do so by using sustainable and renewable resources. The above-mentioned 10 ways can help businesses to start their first step towards energy-savings.

"Most Innovative Energy Saving Product" - 21st National Award for Excellence in Energy Management 2020 - Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).