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How to Deal with Energy Losses in Buildings

green-buildings

by Michael Turner

With the steep cost of energy tied with the need to cut our carbon footprints, building owners should think about looking into whether their properties have any energy losses. There are more sources of wasted power that can be fixed than you would first think, and in some cases it doesn’t cost the earth. Even if it does seem like a lot of money, you will see a fast return, making efficiency improvements a long term strategy that is both good financially as well as good environmentally.

You should start with identify the source of the energy losses. A lot of commercial buildings use the bulk of their energy in two areas: HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting. Concentrating on these two main areas will increase savings and a great impact environmentally. Savings can be made in other areas too. One easy task would be to use less hot water or use more efficient office equipment; most of these energy uses are up to the tenant’s, rather than the landlord’s control.

Once you have identified the source, you should begin looking for the more obvious losses, as a lot of the losses are very evident. To find them, building managers should look out for heating systems that keep the building at room temperature even when it is unoccupied, dripping hot water spigots, or leaving lights on past the building’s closing time. Making these small changes can lead to significant savings.

After solving the simple changes, look to maximise savings with more significant changes. The first step could be to contact a test equipment hire company to rent a thermal camera. A Thermal camera can find areas where heat leaks; they are very helpful in providing a strategy to cover building leaks. While some of these leaks, such as losing temperature through a poor weather stripped door, are easy to spot, others are near impossible to detect without the use of a thermal camera or similar device. These leaks can occur outside as well as inside the building envelope. While windows with gaps and building subsidence can be major sources of heat loss, faulty ducts or misdirected airflows inside the building can also be significant wastes of energy. Thermal cameras are capable of detecting all of these types of energy loss. Filling them in once they are found is usually a relatively simple task with a huge impact on energy use.

Upgrading your lighting is also an excellent way of save money. While some buildings have upgraded to florescent lighting to help reduce energy, modern florescent lighting has become even more efficient. Not only have the florescent tubes used improved dramatically, but both reflector and ballast designs have succeeded in using less power to produce more light into the workplace. When this is combined with better management practices such as the use of motion-sensitive switches and timers for stairwells and bathrooms, modern lighting can certainly meet the standards set by the Health and Safety Executive and provide energy savings.

Dealing with any energy losses within buildings is a multi-step process, starting with making common sense adjustments. Once they are completed, you can then hire test equipment, such as thermal cameras as well as light meters, to help guide you to the final step of making bigger changes to the building. At the end of the process, building owners will have a brighter and more comfortable building that more importantly costs less to run.

 

Author Bio: This article was written by Michael Turner, who is currently doing online research & development on behalf of Inlec, who are test equipment hire specialists.

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