The Ultimate Guide to Assessing Your Building’s Energy Consumption

 July 16, 2018  1:42 PM

Today, energy tops the list of controllable costs in a majority of enterprises. Being energy-efficient can save you a good deal of money while ensuring that you are doing your bit for the environment each day. Just a few simple actions here and there can lead to reduction in energy costs by 10% to 20%. As per a recent report ‘Less is More’ by Clean Energy Canada, the country’s GDP is expected to witness an increase of $356 billion by 2030 with the help of energy efficiency measures.

Why You Must Evaluate Energy Needs of Your Building

We talk about energy a lot in this country. Seldom do we talk about using it more productively. And yet the economic and climate impacts of energy efficiency are enormous—and enormously beneficial for Canadians,” says Merran Smith, executive director, Clean Energy Canada.

By gauging the energy needs of your building, you can implement energy management best practices. The success of such practices depends upon the extent of commitment, organization, planning, tracking and training involved. Adopting an appropriate energy management plan can bring multi-pronged benefits such as:

  • Savings – Implementing long-term sustainable practices can result in significant energy and cost savings. The city of Oshawa is a case in study which, a few years ago, managed to bring down energy consumption by nearly 4,000 gigajoules over a three-month period using only no-cost methods. The resulting savings amounted to almost $50,000. Following this success, the city took to posting daily energy reduction challenges for residents.
  • Cutting RisksBringing down energy consumption can help avoid unexpected and abrupt equipment malfunction that can inconvenience occupants of the building. It can also help prevent the unexpected cost rises that are likely to be a consequence.
  • Contented Occupants – The people living or working in the building are likely to be a happier and comfortable lot with the introduction of energy-efficient measures which bring down expenses.

Ways of Assessing Your Building’s Energy Consumption

Studies indicate that 39% of Edmonton’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as well as 42% of energy consumption can be attributed to large buildings and properties. It does not require any specialized knowledge for you to conduct a simple, initial assessment of your building’s energy consumption. Here’s how:

Helpful Tools

You can quickly assess the energy efficiency of your building by answering some simple questions. With the help of this simple tool, you can evaluate the present situation of your energy management practices, define objectives to help better your techniques of energy management, and get assistance in outlining actions that can move you towards achieving these objectives.

Do an Energy Walk Around

An essential element of energy management, this will help you pinpoint faulty equipment, inefficient practices, and inadequate energy habits. Prepare a checklist before you set off and note down all the areas that can do with changes or improvement. You must go around the building in entirety and it is likely that you will need to repeat this at different times of day to get an accurate picture of how and where energy is being utilized.

The city of Edmonton has also come up with a Building Energy Benchmarking Pilot program to assist owners and operators of large buildings and properties to cut down on energy use as well as minimize GHG emissions.

: Photo by Asia Chang on Unsplash

How You Can Bring in Energy Efficiency

Once you have assessed the energy requirements of your building, you might want to consider an LEED upgrade to help boost energy efficiency. Leadership in Environment and Energy Design (LEED) is a global green building certification system which offers a third-party verification of designs, features, construction, operation, maintenance, and effectiveness of green buildings.

  • Existing buildings can be retrofitted in various ways such as replacing the existing equipment with energy-efficient ones, fixing faults, and plugging leaks. Look for energy-star rated systems and equipment to help you with this. Installing LED lighting, dimmers, and sensors can all eliminate wastage of energy in your building. Natural Sources Canada estimates that retrofitting a building can result in savings from 5% to 15%.
  • Submetering can help track the energy used by individual units in a building ensuring that each unit pays only for what they utilize. The advances that are happening in this industry with every passing day and the affordability, makes it a viable solution for all kinds of properties and buildings. Hamdon Submetering is a provider of such smart utility measurement options which can help you bring down overall energy consumption by nearly 34%. It also provides significant tenant satisfaction because they directly benefit from lower utility bills.
  • Look at solar shading options for windows or switch to high performance windows, cool or green roofs, to bring down heating and cooling costs significantly. High performance insulation that can make your building airtight is something you may want to consider here.

Once you have implemented the energy-efficiency solution on your building, it is imperative that you review the plan on a regular basis and update it periodically to ensure the best possible results.