The cost of running commercial HVAC systems is significantly reduced by effective energy management, but experts are concerned opportunities for efficiency gains will be missed.
Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting can account for between 40% and 60% of a building’s energy consumption. Effective controls can be included as part of an HVAC installation, or retro-fitted to create savings.
Optimising these controls can cut energy use by as much as 30%, as they ensure areas are only heated or cooled when necessary, and lights are only activated when a building is occupied.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently noted commercial energy management systems contributed to a decline in consumption in 2016. Worldwide, 12% more energy would have been used if not for efficiency improvements introduced since 2000.
However, the body observed a slowdown in energy efficiency policies, which means a risk of missed opportunities. “Countries should focus on attacking the more than 68% of global energy use that is not covered by efficiency codes or standards,” said IEA executive director Dr Faith Birol.
And while efficiency has improved in commercial property, the IEA argued much more can be done. “Policies have focused primarily on the building envelope, rather than heating and cooling equipment. There is considerable potential to achieve further energy savings by establishing standards,” it said.
Of course, many businesses are looking beyond policies and standards for ways to improve their own energy management, as they see the benefits of better building controls not only for the bottom line, but also for the comfort of staff.
While energy efficiency progress may be slowing worldwide, commercial landlords in the UK are preparing for new rules coming into effect this year. From April 1st, no property with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G may be let out, which means many will need new equipment, controls or renovation before a lease can be agreed or renewed.