Here’s what happens to commercial buildings that do not have their energy data analyzed on a regular basis: they get less efficient over time.
Equipment wears out. The staff isn’t able or motivated to keep up best practices. Proactive measures aren’t being taken to lower utility bills and drive down operational costs related to energy consumption.
The truth is, up to 30 percent of the energy used by the average commercial building is waste—and the return on investment for developing an effective strategy is higher than you may think. Check out the following five ways investing more in a comprehensive solution will make you money in the long run.
1. Your buildings will reach peak performance.
At North Carolina State University in Raleigh, campus energy consumption peaked in 2008-2009 and has declined ever since, now down by 28 percent thanks in part to energy managers on staff. Electricity is generated on campus using an 11MW Combined Heat and Power system, lessening the amount of fuel needed for boilers and the amount of grid electricity purchased. HVAC audits generated nearly $200,000 in cost savings in fiscal year 2015 alone.
2. You’ll stay on top of government mandates and certifications.
A law in New York City requires all buildings over 50,000 square feet to conduct an energy audit and retro-commissioning study every 10 years. In 2010, New Mexico established new efficiency standards that required buildings undergoing system renovations to attain Energy Star certification or an equivalent standard. Energy experts can help you build an energy solution strategy to stay up to date on local and federal decrees so you stay in compliance, as well as help you achieve Energy Star or LEED accreditations, adding value to your property.
3. You’ll be competitive in new technologies.
New best practices are emerging everyday. The right energy professionals will provide access to the latest innovations in sustainability including building automation systems, building envelope and renewables. An energy specialist working under contract with the U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, helped design seven major conservation measures for the new net-zero hospital at The National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The plan included renewable energy systems like a 1MW solar array system that tracks the sun for greater efficiency, saving the hospital $310,000 per year.
4. You’ll create a corporate culture that cares about efficiency.
An energy solution means having focused resources that can help revitalize culture change. University campuses are giving real face time to making sustainability appealing by engaging students, faculty and staff in new ways. At Oregon State University, anyone who participates in sustainability programs are eligible for prizes and other incentives. At NC State, energy management has worked with the University Sustainability Office to create a campaign called Change Your State, which allows students to track the impact of their choices related to travel, wellness, energy use and water consumption by way of a digital campus dashboard.
5. You’ll make money, really.
Energy professionals cite that an effective strategy can produce an annual ROI of 4:1. It is a statistic that federal agencies like the Department of Defense have enjoyed for the last decade, and commercial business owners are realizing that now is the time for them to join in the savings as well. This is money that can be reinvested into your company to create more jobs, invest in new projects, better compensate your staff, lower the price of your goods and pay off debt. Energy savings can also be used to improve cash flow and create high property values.
Here’s what an energy solution will actually consist of: monitoring your energy consumption and analyzing the data; identifying and quantifying energy waste; estimating how much money the right energy savings measures could save you; looking for solutions, including rebates related to equipment replacement or energy-related upgrades; developing projects to upgrade existing facilities; tracking the progress of energy saving measures by analyzing meter data; providing staff training and creative marketing of your energy conservation program.
A solution focused on energy and water conservation can establish realistic site goals and save you the most amount of money. Who can resist when your investment is so quickly covered—and surpassed by—the savings it brings to the table?
Article originally posted at al.com.