*Energy efficiency is the goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.
*A deep energy retrofit is a whole-building analysis and construction process that uses to achieve much larger energy savings than conventional energy retrofits. Deep energy retrofits can be applied to both residential and non-residential (“commercial”) buildings. A deep energy retrofit typically results in energy savings of 30 percent or more, perhaps spread over several years, and may significantly improve the building value.
If we take a closer look to what energy efficiency is all about, you will find that it is easier to achieve than you think.
Before hiring a Building commissioning agent, there is a list of things you should check in your building, let’s find out which one:
- Have you implemented a business policy to turn off the lights when the building is comfortable with daylight or when nobody is occupying the space?
- Or a company policy to turn off the computers, printers, fax machine, AC or heaters when not needed?
- Have you changed all the lightning bulbs for more efficient ones? ( Led or fluocompact) Look for energy Star logo or Eco Logo products and lighting fixtures. Solar tubes can add extra lightning during the day and are zero energy-consuming. Installation can be done through walls and ceilings.
- Are the appliances, plumbing fixtures and machineries in your building high-efficient ? water-heating appliances, WC with low water consumption rates, etc.
- Have you had the HVAC system inspected and cleaned lately? Are the filters clean and efficient?
- Are the windows and doors sealant seems old and cracked?
- Can windows or doors be manually opened to bring some fresh air into the building/work area instead of starting the central ventilation system?
- During winter, is the heating system running too much getting the occupants too hot? Not enough hot? Implementing a survey can help you find out just how much degrees you can tune down the heating system or during summer the AC. (online survey forms from GOOGLE will do the job just fine)
WHAT ABOUT INSULATION?
Adding insulation to your building envelope (the walls, slab and roof that protect your building from the outside) can be one of the most cost-efficient ways to reduce your heating and cooling bills. In new construction, investing in the insulation is a smart way to reduce future maintenance costs by reducing the building’s energy consumption.
However, because no two buildings are the same, and because there are so many ways to insulate, it can often be confusing to determine what’s best for a particular project. You should ask a professional to do the inspection of your building for this part of the project and further more.
To keep heat from flowing through a building envelope, conductive resistance can be introduced in the form of insulation. In the winter this insulation helps to reduce heat loss by making it more difficult for heat to flow toward the cold outdoors. In the summer it helps keep the heat out of your cool interior environment.
The higher the R-value, the better the thermal resistance.
The amount of insulation you will need and its R-value will be dependent on many factors, including:
- Your type of heating and cooling system
- Your budget
- Installation from a professional
- What part of the building you’re insulating
- The importance of indoor air quality to you and your occupants
- Life-cycle cost considerations
- Recycled content and embodied energy of the material
- How much energy savings you aim
If you intend to have some major renovations to improve your building energy efficiency, be aware of the LEED certification system for homes and buildings. LEED tend to improve the workers and occupants health and productivity and lowers the energy cost up to 40%. Upon certification, LEED adds a great value to your building and is rewarding you for improving your building up to the highest environmental standards and building codes.
- ** »LEED certification is recognized across the globe as the premier mark of achievement in green building.
- LEED-certified buildings cost less to operate, reducing energy and water bills by as much as 40%. Businesses and organizations across the globe use LEED to increase the efficiency of their buildings, freeing up valuable resources that can be used to create new jobs, attract and retain top talent, expand operations and invest in emerging technologies.
- LEED buildings have faster lease-up rates and may qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances. Not to mention they retain higher property values. »
Take advantage of incentives. Energy costs change, and you don’t want to be stuck with an energy hog when rates go up in the future. Utilities and the government offer incentives, often in the form of a substantial tax credit, toward the purchase of high-efficiency equipment. In some areas this can make up the difference in cost between standard equipment and that with a higher efficiency, which will allow you to start saving right away.
WHAT ABOUT THE ROOF ?
Is the roof of your building is in need of better insulation? Have you considered high SRI surface for your roof ou maybe you wish to have a green roof ? If you improve the building envelope, the roof is a big part of it. Heat lost or heat absorption from the sun is often problematic for this part of the building and major cities are now asking for light roof with high SRI when doing a major building renovation. If your city is not yet there, why not take the leap and be a Leader in your community with having your roof covered by vegetation or light-colored High SRI material. You would also lower your cooling bills during summer for sure!
If you wish to have minor renovations to improve the insulation of your building, look out for these important pin points:
- Health of the occupants/Sick building syndrome: A lot of attention in green building materials goes into reducing off-gassing. You should use low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, sealers and caulks. Look for products that don’t contain formaldehyde or Urea formaldehyde. My favorite LOW-no VOC paint is from Benjamin MOORE, offered in contractor’s format and prices. More durable and high covering paint shouldn’t be off your renovation budget.
- Material selection: US EPA give us some advice and LEED credits strategies for material selection to improve the health of the occupants and a cleaner interior environment for your building here» Do not hesitate to use it as a guideline for your building improvements. Your Building contractor should also take a close look to it.
- Free tips from the field: Canadian energy efficiency alliance is offering efficiency tips, it’s worth the visit on their website 😉
- Energy audit professionals can help you from the start, consider hiring a consultant to conduct energy audit and help you apply economical and environmental solution for your renovations.
Sources:*Wikipedia **LEED rating system U.S. Green Building Council Canada Green Building Council