Creating an energy-efficient office should be a no-brainer, but the initial costs can be prohibitively high causing many modern offices to struggle. Here, you will learn a few ways you can overcome these obstacles.
So, why should you think about becoming more energy efficient? One of the reasons is that energy prices are now so high that even cost-efficient upgrades are becoming both workable and feasible as part of a long-term plan for money saving and success.
Scaling Energy Efficiency
Telling people to change their bulbs for LED bulbs may seem easy enough, but if your offices have over 500 bulbs then the cost of changing becomes very expensive. Plus, many offices use strip lights, which means another large expense of changing to LED bulbs. This isn’t to mention a complete redesign of the lighting system and wiring within the office.
The trick is to scale slowly and in segments. Section your building off into segments, or simply go room by room and upgrade one portion at a time. Not only does this avoid wide-scale disruption, but also helps you bug-test/problem-test your efforts as you go.
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
With an EPC, your current energy usage will be checked and evaluated by a qualified energy assessor, who will provide you with a commercial energy performance certificate and report that shows how efficient your building is. The coinciding recommendation report offers customised advice on where you may improve, in such areas as:
- Air conditioning
An EPC is an effective management tool. It can be used as the basis of an energy improvement plan because as well as reporting on efficiency, it provides information on likely costs of improvements and the savings that could be made.
Smart and Simple Upgrades
Lower the cost of your upgrades with intelligent planning. Two such examples are:
- Some offices install fairly low-cost solar cells and power regulators that are used to power the air conditioning. Such systems may run out of power throughout the day, but only on dull (cooler) days. On blazing hot and sunny days, the system runs at full power.
- Insulate the walls, ceiling, and floor. This keeps the cold out and the heat in during winter, and the heat out and air-conditioned air in during the summer. Few people think to insulate their floors, but the heat from lower floors can really toast the upper levels without it. Simple insulation in the flooring can help lower air conditioning bills for upper floors in multi-storey offices.
Automated Heating and Power Control
The best office upgrades are the ones that remove human interference. Any system that requires care will cost more because it takes up staff hours. That is why automated heating and cooling systems are better than individual thermostats.
Sensors in each room will tell the system when to turn up the heat up and when to cool it down. Plus, unused rooms may have their heating and cooling deactivated, and if the room is insulated, then its internal heat/coolness will not affect the rest of the building.
Automated power control can be as sophisticated or as basic as you wish. It can range from internal systems that regulate and shut off power through programmable automation, or it can be power strips with timers on them that turn the power off during non-office hours. This saves on things being left on standby and things such as fans being left on overnight.
Run A Cost-Benefit Analysis
Avoid the premature mistake of running cost-benefit analyses in the short term.
Learn the average lifespan of your upgrades (such as the lifespans of wind turbines, etc.), then knock a third off that amount and run the cost-benefit analysis based on that number.
In addition, track the cost energy price increases over the last few years and account for that increase over the coming years. In many cases, even the costliest of upgrades become feasible or downright needed when the savings are accounted for over the next 10 to 15 years.
Setting Rules and Enforcing Them
Sometimes, the biggest money savers revolve around setting rules for your office staff.
For example, it is not unknown for staff to hide out in server rooms during hot days because it is cool and isolated, but the cost of this behaviour makes server-room air conditioning far more expensive than it has to be.
The same is true for employees who use the office thermostats like their own personal wheel of fortune, or employees who use a piece of technology for ten minutes and then leave it on for the rest of the day. Setting rules can save just as much energy as any modern technological upgrade.
To become truly energy efficient takes effort and planning. It requires a systematic approach with clear actions and measurable outcomes. This article has highlighted some methods you can take as you begin your journey towards energy efficiency.