5 Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

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Global demand for energy has spiked at a time when the planet faces critical decisions about the future use of fossil fuels. Projections suggest a 34% increase in energy consumption worldwide over the next twenty years, all while governments work to urgently steer Earth on a path towards zero net emissions by 2050. The world is amidst a crucial period of redefining energy and how we use it. 

More focus is shifting towards the funding, R&D, and production of alternative energy forms, as is more scrutiny of the world’s greatest energy consumers – commercial and industrial businesses. Future-proof sustainability initiatives, energy policy changes, and tightening regulations are all demanding a decrease in emissions created by large-scale energy consumption. Businesses now have two new high priorities: using energy more efficiently while also trying to cut costs on consumption.

Meanwhile, the global market expands in connectivity every day, and any and all advantages are more vital than ever before. One of these is, somewhat suddenly, modern energy efficient building systems  which can trim waste from operational practices, save money, reduce emissions, and boost workplace productivity – with precise customization.

What’s driving energy efficiency demands and where can businesses aim to meet those demands?

Improve Energy Efficiency in an Existing Building

Implementing some of these strategies is easier than you may think, especially if you operate out of a large building or warehouse. A lighting upgrade, for example – can significantly cut down on energy costs and free up money for other operational expenses. Today’s intelligent lighting systems automatically adjust light fixture levels based on set parameters or natural conditions, which eliminates the risk of wasting energy and money. 

Five Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

These are five proven, reasonable methods we believe can help your business see the benefits of improved energy efficiency. 

  1. Upgrading lighting systems 

At PEC, we retrofit LED systems in buildings, giving them lighting that doesn’t waste large amounts of energy or contain hazardous materials. LED lighting systems require 75% less energy than traditional lighting, last 10-50 times longer, and improve workplace safety, productivity, and mood by improving the light quality. By integrating smart systems, the LED lighting system also collects data on itself for analysis. 

  1. Upgrading heating and cooling systems 

Old motors in HVAC systems have been measured to waste half of all the energy they consume. The technology these motors use can’t run at an efficiency acceptable by present-day regulations. Whereas an older motor can only operate at one fixed speed, wasting lots of energy and money over time, smart motors adjust their speed in real time based on need. Take a look at how PEC equipped Lithia Motors with smart motors that optimized their HVAC performance, drastically cut back on their energy costs, and optimized their energy efficiency for the long term. 

  1. Retrofitting insulation 

Thorough retrofitting can cut a building’s energy usage by up to 45%. This is because most buildings lose large amounts of air to cracks and holes, which makes their HVAC systems work harder to control temperature. Retrofitting your building with insulation instantly improves thermal control over the building and also keeps moisture from disrupting indoor temperatures. Batts, blankets, and rolls come in all types, and loose fill and liquid foam insulation conform to unique spaces. Panels and foam boards are rigid and designed for larger structures like ceilings, walls, and floors.   

  1. Installing energy-efficient windows 

Several statistics measure a window’s energy efficiency, such as its U-factor, or the rate at which heat passes through window panes, or visible light transmittance, or the amount of daylight that passes through window glass. It’s important to consider these statistics with key features of efficient windows: frame and sash materials like fiberglass or vinyl, that are resistant to temperature changes; multiple panes of glass, which provide extra protection against external conditions compared to single-pane windows, and Low-E glass, is specifically coated to reduce temperature transfer. 

  1. Implementing a comprehensive energy management system

Certain buildings – like a Costco or IKEA warehouse – benefit most from a comprehensive energy management system. This type of complete system uses electric and mechanical systems all throughout the building to distribute, regulate, and analyze every energy utility being used. Such precise control makes it easy to make real-time adjustments to optimize volumes of energy consumption. 

The Benefits of Improved Energy Efficiency

The financial benefits of an energy efficient building are well documented. A number of strategies, ranging between material and price, give you greater control of the energy in your workplace and lead to significant cost savings. But understanding  that energy efficiency and energy-efficient lighting in particular   does much more than  save money on an electric bill is vital. At PEC, we view energy efficiency as a four-tier solution, with three other categories bringing a competitive advantage.

Operational Benefits

Companies often take capital freed up from energy cost savings and channel it into operations improvements. And, given that smartly controlled energy improves operational lifespans and reduces emissions, a company’s operational expenses get to center on optimizing production. 

Productivity Benefits 

A large amount of data supports that optimized lighting positively impacts employee productivity at work. Whereas bad or dim lighting causes eye strain, headaches, and poor performance, natural lighting reduces workplace accidents, improves employees’ well-being and motivation, and increases overall productivity by up to one percent, with productivity in the metal industry seeing increases of eight percent. 

Sustainability Benefits 

Not only is is popular but it has become valuable to become sustainable. Although your individual contribution may feel small, by improving the efficiency of your energy systems, you join a movement of other organizations making a global impact by reshaping their energy strategies. Companies who make efficiency improvements and use energy efficient products also qualify for rebates, credits, and/or financing programs. Our energy incentives team works to complete your applications, do the heavy lifting in processing, and get you the maximum available rebates.      

Conclusion

Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings and facilities is a crucial step in addressing the high emissions and the impact of increased prices at the core of the world’s energy crisis.

The benefit to your business? You get to have a hand in saving the worlds precious resources for future generations while working with experts on a streamlined project that will leave you with a wide range of benefits and an impressive ROI.

Interested in learning more? Get in touch

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