When discussing Energy Sustainability with a Finance Director you will not melt that icy heart by presenting a photograph of a polar bear on a small iceberg. That heart will only start to thaw when you show the (up to) 80% savings on the company’s year on year lighting costs by using LEDs. Then you present the, relatively small, capital cost and smile.
Energy Sustainability means using electricity more efficiently thus ‘reducing both the amount of fuel needed to generate electricity and the amount of greenhouse gases and other air pollution emitted as a result.’ It also reduces operational costs, much to the delight of the Finance Director.
According to the US Green Building Council, building and construction are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world, with operational emissions (from energy used to heat, cool and light buildings) accounting for 28%.
The UK Government Policy Paper ‘Construction Sector Deal’ of July 2019 aims to ensure that we have:
Better Homes that are cheaper to run
Smarter, energy efficient office buildings
Lower Emissions and cleaner air
The government sets out its determination to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 through the development of ‘innovative energy and low carbon technologies driving lower cost, and high-quality construction techniques. This will also reduce the cost of retrofitting existing buildings to make them more efficient and more sustainable.’
There are methods to assess the energy footprint of new and existing buildings:
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the world’s longest established method of assessing, rating, and certifying the sustainability of buildings. UK Government departments now require BREEAM ratings of all their buildings and most local authorities require BREEAM as part of planning approval for developments over a certain size.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). A ‘Green’ building assessment system developed in the US and now recognised in the UK, LEED relates to a comprehensive system of interrelated standards covering aspects from the design and construction to the maintenance and operation of buildings.
ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. Administered by the Environment Agency it applies to any UK company that:
employs 250 or more people, or
has an annual turnover in excess of £44 million and an annual balance sheet total of over £38 million
is an overseas company with UK registered establishments (regardless of their size) – if any other part of their global corporate group activities in the UK meet the ESOS qualifying criteria
There has been a rapid growth in energy consumption in public sector and commercial buildings over the last 50 years. Now your building’s floor space, heating, lighting and IT equipment must meet the new legislation and sustainability requirements. This means you may need to adapt your site to be compliant.
Building Energy Management Systems can assist in this - the convergence of all aspects of building environment control can result in significant energy savings, e.g. more than 50% for thermal energy usage in an office building.
EV Charging points for all new buildings – UK Government regulatory changes are proposed “which will result in thousands more charge-points across the UK, in homes and at key destinations, like new office blocks and supermarkets. The policies outlined will ensure new buildings are ready for the future.”
LED lighting - Lighting is one of highest consumers of energy in a commercial building. LED lighting uses significantly less energy than standard or conventional alternatives, it also has a longer lifetime. Intelligent controls can also ensure that no light is needlessly left on.
Constructing Excellence and the Carbon Trust are both expert partners for the construction industry – client and suppliers alike. The aim is for a low carbon economy and increased efficiency. In short, Energy Sustainability.
GCL Building Technologies understand that 21st Century buildings have got to perform significantly better for you in environmental, social and economic terms. The 6th utility – smart technology and infrastructure systems across the network – can help significantly not only in reducing CO2 emissions through energy management and monitoring systems and information systems that provide ‘sustainable choices’ , but it also has a critical role to play in making the buildings we inhabit fit to support our needs in the future. In collaboration with our partners we can help you achieve this.
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