The recent rise in energy prices has caused quite a stir around the world. It has put pressure on consumers and businesses alike to find more efficient use of resources. Sustainability is an important goal for organisations now that we’re seeing these increases happen regularly (and unexpectedly).
Energy efficiency is a key component of any business’s sustainability. It can be improved by turning off lights and devices when they’re not in use. Installing sensors to detect space utilisation can also cut energy consumption. Implementing these measures will positively impact your bottom line.
As businesses seek ways to reduce costs without sacrificing productivity, many new strategies have gained momentum such as optimising buildings’ HVAC systems with demand control ventilation.
Examining all aspects of your business operations can help you understand what areas could be optimised. By conducting a comprehensive energy audit you can gain important insights into how all of your building’s space is being used, 24/7.
Consolidating and analysing that data will help you make more informed decisions around daily operations. In this blog, we will explore 3 ways to reduce office energy costs by looking at the 3 biggest power consumers in an office.
1. Optimise your building with a smart HVAC system
The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system is responsible for keeping the office environment comfortable and healthy for occupiers. Many businesses forget to consider the impact of their HVAC system when considering ways to save energy.
However, the HVAC system in a typical office building is responsible for approximately 40% of the building’s energy consumption. This highlights the importance of efficient HVAC systems in ensuring the overall energy efficiency of a building.
The goal for facilities teams is primarily to ensure that the HVAC system (and other utilities) works. They then have to deal with requests from occupiers to change temperatures for fan speeds. This is difficult to manage in real-time and changes can often be outdated by the time they are implemented. Smart HVAC solutions can lead to energy efficiencies and cost savings. It also gives your facilities team back the time to ensure the building runs smoothly and at its best.
It’s estimated that an average of 30% savings can be achieved by optimising the building’s HVAC system (Zu Wang et al, 2022). Upgrading to a smart demand control ventilation system can save you money in several ways.
First, the system can adapt to changes in weather, building occupancy, changes in temperature, humidity, and other conditions. This can help optimise the performance of your HVAC unit and reduce energy costs.
Additionally, the smart system can provide information that can help you troubleshoot potential problems before they occur. By detecting potential issues early, you can avoid costly repairs or replacement of parts.
There are 2 ways to upgrade; the costly way, upgrading your hardware or BMS, which you may do if the whole building is already due for a complete renovation, otherwise, it is unlikely. Or there is the fast cost-effective way, by utilising advances in technology to upgrade via a software solution.
When it comes to software solutions, there are some which will consolidate all your data about a building’s usage allowing you make informed decisions and adjust schedules based on trends. Reactive systems will allow you to be more granular, automating adjustments based on pre-configured set points and workflows. They will go beyond what a typical BMS/HVAC system will offer.
Then the solution which can offer the greatest return if you have the data sources (or are willing to invest in it) is the pro-active solution that is the most dynamic as they predict changes needed based on real-time building usage data.
The different solutions support CRE owners at different stages of their transformation journey and forward outlook. At Incube Space we built CubeOS to maximise gains through predictive building optimisation. We however understand that sometimes it is a process getting there.
We have ensured that our product allows you to progress from a data consolidation dashboard to semi-automated and fully automated HVAC optimisation solutions for no extra cost. You take your time based on how comfortable you are, and can improve results over time.
The more the system learns about your building, the better it gets at tweaking. Think of it as an additional building engineer that is working alongside your team 24/7.
With rising concerns about climate change and the consequences of our fossil fuel reliance, it’s more important than ever to think about how we can reduce our office’s energy consumption. As buildings account for 40% of global carbon emissions, it is important to take steps towards reducing our carbon footprint.
Beyond simply cutting costs on your monthly bills, reducing energy usage is crucial for preserving resources. Net zero targets are becoming the norm and sustainability is fast becoming a top priority for tenants. To stay competitive, commercial real estate landlords must ensure they are providing efficient and healthy buildings that benefit both the occupiers and the planet.
Your first step to an efficient HVAC system is ensuring it is properly maintained. Regularly servicing and replacing outdated equipment can lead to significant energy savings. This will reduce the amount of carbon emitted from your building.
Another important step in reducing carbon emissions and the subsequent cost of carbon credits is ensuring your building is optimised for energy usage. Simple adjustments such as installing smart thermostats or making sure windows and doors are properly sealed will bring long-term benefits.
Reduce, reuse and recycle are three concepts that promote sustainable buildings. One way to reduce energy consumption related to HVAC is to consider building materials and design elements in construction or renovations. By adding insulation or using energy-efficient windows you be reducing costs and improving both, indoor air quality and occupier comfort.
2. Install energy-efficient lights, motion and daylight sensors
When was the last time you noticed a light left on in your workplace? Chances are, it’s a common occurrence that rarely crosses our minds. It’s easy to forget to turn off the lights when leaving a room. Those forgotten lights will add up quickly. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the UK wastes £170 million a year by leaving lights on.
The simple action of switching off unnecessary lighting can save electricity and lower energy bills for businesses. Plus, it’s a small step each one of us can take towards reducing our carbon footprint and contributing to sustainability efforts.
Lighting contributes an average of 33% to office energy use in the UK. A switch to energy-efficient lighting can significantly reduce those expenses. Recent studies have found that installing lights such as LED or CFL bulbs can result in a reduction of energy costs by up to 15%. That’s before we even get smart.
In addition, automating lighting with timers or motion sensors can automatically turn off lights in unused spaces, saving energy and money on electricity bills. These automated options can even be customised to fit individual schedules or patterns of movement, even lux levels.
PIR sensors that are integrated into the BMS can give the additional benefit of acting as space utilisation data that can be used to support HVAC optimisations.
Motion sensor lighting combined with daylight sensors that adjust light brightness based on natural light levels can see a relatively fast ROI. It also helps to make the office more environmentally friendly.
3. Reduce the use of office equipment and IT appliances
According to the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, office equipment accounts for about 15% of a building’s overall energy use. And while it may not seem like a big deal to leave your computer or printer on overnight, all those small actions add up and can significantly affect your company’s energy costs.
The cost of electricity can quickly add up in a busy office setting, where multiple devices are constantly running. One easy way to help reduce this expense is to properly turn off any equipment when it is not in use. This includes not just shutting down the device itself, but also unplugging it from the power source.
While leaving a device in standby mode may only consume a small amount of energy, that small amount adds up over time and across multiple devices. Taking the extra step to fully power down can have a significant impact on both energy consumption and your monthly electricity bill.
In addition, proper shutdown can also extend the lifespan of your office equipment by reducing wear and tear on its internal components. Taking a few extra seconds now can save your company money and prolong the life of valuable equipment in the long run.
Upgrading outdated office equipment such as computers, printers, and copiers to more energy-efficient models can have a significant impact on both your bottom line and the environment. Switching to an energy-efficient office may require an initial investment, but the long-term savings on electricity bills can quickly add up. Not only do these upgrades lead to tangible cost savings on electricity bills, but they also free up funds that can be put towards other important expenses.
Using eco-friendly equipment can improve a company’s public image and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. It’s a win-win situation. Investing in green technology not only saves money and reduces waste, but it also shows customers and clients that your business is dedicated to doing its part for the planet. It’s crucial for companies to stay current with technological advancements, and upgrading to energy-efficient models.
When it comes to reducing energy costs in the office, small changes can make a big difference. If you’re looking for ways to reduce office energy costs you are likely to see the biggest gains by focussing on optimising your HVAC system with demand control ventilation, upgrading to energy efficient or smart and energy-efficient light systems, whilst ensuring high energy consuming appliances such as coffee machines or AV and computing equipment is only powered on when required,
At Incube, we offer a Building Intelligence Platform that can help you take things a step further by reducing energy waste by up to 40%. By providing a complete view of energy usage, the platform allows for targeted measures to be taken in order to decrease overall consumption.
These efforts can result in significant savings, both financially and environmentally. In fact, implementing energy-efficient strategies can even help businesses work towards achieving net zero energy status. This not only benefits the company’s bottom line but also helps to promote sustainability and combat climate change.
The Building Intelligence Platform is a helpful tool for any business looking to make a positive impact on both their bottom line and the planet. Ready to save money and hit net zero targets faster? Contact us today to learn more about CubeOS and our predictive building intelligence platform.
If you need help figuring out how to get started on your building optimisation journey feel free to book a no-obligation call with our expert team and we can help identify where to get started.