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5 Profitable Energy Efficiency Measures for Buildings

Buildings have been the primary consumers of energy, and the primary producers of atmospheric carbon dioxide for many a year. It’s got to the point now where energy efficiency measures are no longer a nice-to-have for buildings; but a need-of-the-hour.

Energy efficient solutions don’t just help fight against climate change. They also help cut back on energy and maintenance costs, and establish a competitive advantage. And no, they don’t always require a hefty initial investment. 

In the following article, let’s begin by explaining what constitutes an energy efficiency measure. Then, we will look at 5 of the most profitable energy efficiency measures, and how to make buildings more energy-efficient.

What (really) are Energy Efficient Measures?

What are energy efficiency measures for buildings?

Any machine, software, system, practice, or retrofit that leads to a general reduction in energy usage, without significantly impacting level-of-service can be called an energy efficient measure. E.g., implementing a portfolio-wide policy of using energy-efficient appliances, or undergoing a smart retrofit for better energy reporting.

5 of the Most Profitable Energy Efficiency Measures

While there are other ways to make buildings energy efficient, these 5 are the most profitable, in our opinion:

1. Energy Consumption Benchmarking and Management

The first step towards improved energy efficiency is better energy management. The first step towards better energy management is energy benchmarking. Energy benchmarking helps you gauge where you stand, in terms of energy usage. 

Is your building consuming too much energy? Is it consuming less than your counterparts? Does it only cross the limits during peak hours? Is it burning the same amount of energy throughout the day, despite it being empty on numerous occasions? Benchmarking helps find answers to questions like these, and more.

Once you know your actual energy performance, you can better estimate the level of effort required to get where you want to be. Benchmarking will also help you establish a baseline and different thresholds for energy consumption. Alarms/notifications generated after threshold breaches can be handy in identifying reasons for overconsumption.

2. HVAC Automation

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning are usually the biggest consumers of energy in buildings. Sintef writes in a report from 2021 that 14% of total energy use in mainland Norway comes from commercial buildings (excluding industry). The energy is mainly used to operate technical systems such as heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting. Sintef estimated an energy saving potential in Norwegian commercial buildings at 16 TWh in 2020.

As reported by the Australian Government’s Energy Department, HVACs represent approximately 40% of an office building’s energy consumption. This is mainly because in most buildings, HVACs keep running on the same settings throughout the day.

For example, let’s suppose it’s a fairly hot August morning. The staff set the HVAC to run on full throttle as a lot of occupancy is expected. However, it starts raining and both the indoor and outdoor climates improve. But, since the HVAC configurations are done every morning, it will keep running at full speed, needlessly wasting a lot of energy.

This is where energy management systems (like ClevAir) can save the day. They can reprogram the HVAC in real-time, based on the changing occupancy, indoor and outdoor climate, and weather forecast. Not only are these solutions relatively affordable, they also make an immediate impact, resulting in a fast ROI. In the situation above, as soon as it would have started raining, these smart applications would have sensed the change and adjusted the HVAC accordingly.

Also read: The Benefits of a Smart Ventilation System

3. Smart Lighting

From light bulbs to wireless smartphone controls; smart lighting can be implemented as energy efficiency measures in many ways. Smart LEDs not only have better durability and performance than their incandescent counterparts, they also consume way less energy.

Using a smart lighting system, you can set timers to turn off lights, turn them on or off from a smartphone app, and even customize light intensity settings for certain occasions. Some systems can also auto-detect occupancy and turn lights on or off accordingly. All this can lead to significant reductions in energy costs.

4. Insulation

If your building’s ventilation can support insulation, it should be a no-brainer. A well-insulated building loses less warm air during winter, and less cool air during the summers. This leads to a substantial reduction in energy consumption overtime.

5. Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources do a lot more for your building than decrease its environmental footprint. They elevate its market reputation, and most importantly, help cut back on energy costs. 

  1.  You will be able to reduce your electricity bills significantly. 
  2. No or limited maintenance costs. Solar panels rarely require any repairs post-installation.
  3. No fluctuating costs. Utility companies rely on fossil fuels to produce energy. Prices of all these fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) fluctuate a lot throughout the year, which often leads to bigger and bigger numbers on your bills. Once you go solar, you don’t have to care about these fluctuations.  

How Impactful Can Energy Efficiency Measures Be?

Results after implementing energy efficiency measures

Implementing even the most basic energy efficient measures can yield long-term, tangible benefits. Cases in point:

The energy optimization results in an average 20% energy saving

The potential for energy savings through optimization of ventilation depends on both the type of building and measures that have been taken in the past. The vast majority of our customers, however, experience savings of between 15 and 25%.

Contact us for a non-binding assessment of what ClevAir can potentially contribute to your building(s).


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