According to the Committee on Climate Change, the commercial sector is accountable for approximately 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in the UK.
Improving the energy efficiency of a commercial property can be beneficial for two reasons. First, it’s beneficial to the environment as less energy is being used. And secondly, because less energy is being used, as a result the cost of utility bills decreases.
No matter what industry, all commercial properties must provide lighting, often for extended periods of time. Because of this, lighting can be a huge expenditure for any business. But there are ways for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and their energy bills.
Switching to LED lighting is one way to become more energy efficient. They use less energy to provide the same amount of light. According to The Renewable Energy Hub:
“LED offers a 90% saving over the old fashioned incandescent bulbs. And they can be about a third more efficient than the CFL bulbs that we were all encouraged to use to be greener. For instance, a 25 w incandescent bulb equates to a 6 watt CFL and a 4 watt LED bulb.”
But the benefits don’t stop there. LED lights are also longer lasting, provide better brightness, work in existing fittings, are safer, come in a range of styles, and they’re only getting cheaper.
As well as switching the type of lighting used within commercial properties, the way the lighting is managed can also be changed so less energy energy is consumed. Sensors and timers can be used to ensure lighting is only ever on when necessary, reducing the amount of money and electricity wasted by keeping on lights that are of no use or when people have gone home.
According to Carbon Trust, 26% of office heat is lost through the windows. Ensuring good insulation through double glazing is key in combatting this heat loss. Not only does adequate glazing keep the heat in and reduce the need for more heating, it provides better soundproofing, smarter looks and increased security.
Conversely, the Energy Managers Association reports that over the last twenty years, there has been a 60% increase in the amount of air conditioned buildings within the UK. As cooling a building via air conditioning often requires much more energy than heating a building, it can cause energy consumption to rise and in turn, energy bills. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) in the UK reports that 40% of the burden placed on air conditioning units comes from direct solar gain through windows. The Energy Managers Association highlights how effective heat reduction window film can be at reducing solar gain, becoming one of the key options for increasing energy efficiency in commercial properties.
Green building features
It may be possible for some commercial properties to incorporate green features into their design.
Solar panels are a great addition to a commercial property, regardless of the industry. Whilst they may be seen as a big upfront expense, significant long-term savings can be seen using this clean energy source. Additionally, commercial properties no longer have to apply for planning permission to have a solar panel installation fitted.
Green roofs are becoming a popular choice for commercial properties as a way of increasing energy efficiency. Not only do green roofs increase the energy efficiency of a property, they have a range of benefits such as providing a haven for local wildlife, reducing the risk of flooding and increasing water protection. Usually green roofs are implemented during the design and planning stage but can be added onto existing buildings with ease.