Sustainability - buildings and saving money
Sustainability – buildings and saving money
It is important to understand the difference and interdependency between a green building and a smart building. A green building is one that provides a healthy environment, a safe environment and a productive environment for its occupants. Whilst, in association to those guiding principles, a smart building integrates the various systems, which when combined, allows the building to operate in a more energy efficient way.
Whether as part of a new build design, a refurbishment or on going routine maintenance – sustainability and resource efficiency needs to be at the heart of all buildings and infrastructure.
Be a master of your energy and resource use - design technology in, not out. Don’t just think to change the equipment: change the design. Isolate lighting on lighting circuits that are superfluous; build it into an overall management system that buildings’ occupants control, and not the other way round.
Linking the environmental controls to security systems allows the environmental systems to know how many people are in a space at any one time, thus delivering the right level of air conditioning. This eliminates over-resourcing of the HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system, so saving energy.
In a recent report issued by Gartner, up to fifty percent of commercial space is underused. Yet, all this space is still being lit and made to be environmentally acceptable for occupation. With integration of lighting and the use of occupancy switches - lighting can be utilised only when it is needed. Lighting averages twenty six percent of primary energy in commercial buildings, and yet, how often do we see areas being lit where there are no people?
The St Regis Hotel in Shanghai linked twelve sub-systems within the building controls management system, and saw a forty percent reduction in energy consumption.
Water loss can occur in many areas, and some will not have any visibility. For example: an office environment controlled by an HVAC system; water loss can be due to: the system being oversized, leaks, or excessive operation. Heat from excessive lighting and electrical equipment warms the air causing the HVAC system to run excessively. Furthermore, less efficient electrical equipment causes more heat. There is a relationship between energy consumption and water consumption.
The amenities can be a very large drain on water: toilet leaks or poor seals on urinals, broken valves and excessive flow rates from taps (hot and cold). So, any aging amenities leads to wasted water, wasted energy and excessive labour costs in their maintenance.
As with energy, effective water management starts at understanding the base line, and using these metrics to create simple key performance indicators. The baseline metrics, like with energy, are going to give the ability to understand where waste is, what reductions can be made; and, make the reductions meaningful as part of the sustainability cycle of constant improvement. Saving water also saves energy – saves money.
Developing water conservation into the overall business planning and accountability processes, along with energy, fosters a waste reduction attitude.
Sustainability acts as a
catalyst for change – it also acts as a new lens to view the business by. It
shows the interdependencies of all the processes and systems that make an
efficient business. It shows how these interdependencies react with one another
causing cost. The opportunity is to better understand these interdependencies,
and realise the opportunity for driving down cost and making a positive effect
on the environment through both asset and operational optimisation.
Sustainable growth through sustainable business – a business person's easy guide to: What, Why and How Sustainability is the only way forward