Improving the energy efficiency of your building

Reducing the energy consumption of your building should be a high priority for any landlord or freeholder. As well as lowering running costs, conserving energy will make it easier to comply with tightening environmental regulations, give you sustainable credentials and ultimately impact the property’s long term value. There are multiple ways in which you can improve the energy efficiency of your building, from the development process to bolt on changes.

If you are investing in a new-build property, there are three main things to consider: the bioclimatic architecture, insulation and ventilation.

Bioclimatic architecture adapts the building’s design to the natural conditions of the environment in order to reach thermal comfort. The location, orientation, shape, size and interior design of a building all must be considered in order to best protect the building from its local environment. For example, the shape and orientation of a building will determine the quantity of sunlight and wind it is exposed to.

Energy efficient buildings will all have high performing building envelopes. This includes thorough insulation, premium glazing and windows, and air-sealed construction. Thermal insulation is a low-cost proven solution that begins saving energy and money as soon as it is installed. Ground decks, roofs, lofts, walls and facades must all be well insulated for maximum efficiency. Air leakages result in heat loss, meaning that your heating system may be working in overdrive to meet temperature demand. An airtight building is essential to conserve energy.

For both new builds and renovations, making improvements to the building envelop will ultimately bring returns for the landlord.

High performance insulation goes hand in hand with a suitable ventilation system. Ventilation will not only provide fresh air, it will also direct CO2 and moisture outside of the build and save energy by recovering heat.

For landlords wanting to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings, replacing doors and windows can be a great investment.

There are multiple upgrades within your existing buildings that you can make. Installing energy saving LED light bulbs could help you reduce your energy use by 75% compared to incandescent lighting. Installing daylight controllers which only switch on when natural light is insufficient, or infrared sensors which switch off lights in infrequently used spaces such as corridors and stairwells would also make a difference.

There is a host of “green” gadgets on the market from smart thermostats and smart wall socket plugs to solar-powered outdoor lighting. Upgrading to certified energy efficient appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines is an investment that will offer significant savings in operation.

For individual properties there are numerous measures like solar panels and ground source heat pumps that can provide alternative renewable sources of hot water that reduces the overall burden on the grid. Landlords must carefully consider the cost/benefit returns from these investments and investigate sources of funding such as the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Growing environmental awareness, tightening energy regulations and increasing energy prices, mean that going forward, reducing your building’s energy consumption will be essential to comply with regulation, attract tenants and increase your profit margins.

Written by Israel Moskovitz,

“Improving the energy efficiency of your building” first appeared on my Medium profile.

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