General Article

How to Reduce Energy Consumption in a Commercial Building

Global environmental concerns and consumer pressure to reduce our impact on the environment are just two of the reasons why reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings is a necessity. Not only will effective measures reduce your overall carbon footprint, and improve your Environmental Audit it will also cut your running costs.

Options

  1. Rainscreen cladding

Rainscreen cladding was developed in the 1940s in Scandinavia and has since been used to clad masonry based or steel structured buildings, protecting them against rainwater and adding an additional layer of insulation. When considering an upgrade to your building, a cladding system can provide both a stylistically and environmental cost-effective solution. Due to its lightweight and flexible structure, the cladding can be used to give old buildings a new lease of life. Curved roofs and parabolic shapes can completely alter exteriors and produce a more stylistic look for your newly insulated building, which will be cheaper to run.

A rainscreen is a ventilated layer which incorporates insulation and allows building fabrics to breathe without the risk of condensation or structural decay. Firstly, there is a durable and decorative outer skin, which provides protection against the rain. Although weather resistant, it does not block the movement of air into the air gap between the skin and the backing wall. The air gap, which is usually at least 25 mm, provides ventilation and can also produce a pressure equalisation across the exterior decorative skin. When the joints of the building are open, the pressure inside the air gap is the same as the pressure outside. Equalisation occurs instantly so that rain does not enter the gap. The air gap backs onto the backing wall, which is usually covered in the insulation material.

Normally, external walls of the building have insulation affixed before the rainscreen cladding is installed. Modern cladding can be attached in panels, and because of its fast installation, it results in minimal disruption to neighbouring businesses and consumers. Rainscreen or aluminium cladding will not only improve the thermal efficiency of your building it will give you a range of other benefits.

Advantages

  • Reduces incidents of rust and corrosion
  • Improves longevity of commercial buildings especially cement rendered buildings, which will deteriorate rapidly if not protected
  • Panels allow low-cost repairs or upgrade access for maintenance teams. This results in minimal interference to building inhabitants.
  1. Lighting systems

New LED and energy saving lights bulbs can significantly lower your energy bills. Motion sensor lights will eliminate energy waste by switching off when employees are no longer in the building.

Advantages

Minimal cost outlay will reduce energy costs immediately.

  1. Hot water systems

Installing a solar heating system or only heating water when it is needed by replacing boiler tank systems will significantly reduce energy wastage.

Advantages: Once installed a solar or combination boiler system will provide you with low cost or free hot water for very low maintenance costs.

  1. Phantom Energy

Leaving appliances on when not in use, such as printers and fax machines can add 10% to your electricity bill. Establishing standby times for all electronics in the office space can be easily implemented.

Advantages: Zero cost for immediate savings.

Reducing energy costs need not involve substantial financial outlay and can bring benefits both to you and your customers immediately.