When it comes to energy efficiency projects, most buildings must work around the limitations of what’s already in place.
If you’re creating or constructing a brand new building or facility, though, you have an excellent opportunity to start your commercial energy efficiency from the ground up.
This includes making the construction project itself energy efficient (which can reduce costs) as well as making construction choices that will allow for energy efficiency of the building in the long run.
There are specific energy efficiency construction tips you can follow to get this done. Let’s take a look!
Why Does Energy Efficient Construction Matter?
We all know that energy efficiency in commercial buildings can make a huge impact on energy & power bills. This is good for the environment as well.
But what about construction? Why does that matter?
First of all, in the US, commercial and residential buildings:
- Use 40 percent of all energy
- Use 70 percent of all electricity
- Emit over one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions (more than any other sector!)
Reducing these numbers is critical for energy efficiency projects and creating a greener world. Energy efficient construction practices could target these issues at their foundation.
In fact, the International Energy Agency estimates that if energy efficient construction practices were implemented, it would account for 41% of global energy savings by 2035.
Ways to Make an Impact
There are two general ways that you can improve construction energy efficiency:
- Adjust the actual design & construction plans of the buildings
- Improve efficiency of the construction itself
Let’s dive into a few examples from both of those general categories.
Construction Equipment & Fuel
Old & outdated machinery, tools, and equipment are going to use up more fuel, energy, and power.
Try to work with contractors who keep their equipment updated and upgraded to more modern and more energy efficient models.
If you’re a contractor, investing in more modern and energy efficiency equipment could reduce your overall energy costs. This could also increase your energy efficiency project impact in the long run.
Think about it: about 5.7 percent of a construction budget is dedicated to fuel & energy costs associated with running the project. Reducing your spend on those things with energy efficiency equipment, fuel, and practices can reduce the cost of the project.
Building Location & Orientation
Both building location and orientation have a huge impact on the completed building’s efficiency. Smart building planners can orient the building in such a way to work with the sun’s path in the sky along with traditional wind patterns in the area.
This can maximize using the natural landscape & sun to reduce the need for artificial heating & cooling. You should also take note of any obstructions or nearby buildings or landmarks that could affect that sun or wind exposure.
Windows, Doors, and Lighting
Modern window and door technology can result in huge energy savings for new buildings. This includes energy efficient glass & materials along with high-tech & effective modern insulation.
Lighting is also a key part of commercial energy efficiency plans. With construction, instead of having to dedicate funds to lighting retrofits, you can start the building with modern & efficient lighting options.
If budget is a concern, energy rebates are going to be your saving grace. Both state and federal rebates exist to help contractors, builders, and business owners implement energy efficient products and materials into their commercial building projects.
For example, Massachusetts’ Mass Save Rebates apply to both residential and commercial projects for everything from discounts to tax incentives.
Mechanical & Technical Components
Much like you want to be using modern and efficient fuel, tools, and tech, you want to apply that same idea to the mechanical and technical components of the building.
This applies to a huge amount of components, including:
- HVAC system
- Energy management system
- Windows & doors
- Industrial equipment
- Computer and internet system
- Building materials
Believe it or not, that’s not even a comprehensive list. When a new building is under construction, you have the ability to start it off with as many energy efficient components as possible.
Energy efficient & energy saving components can impact the efficiency of the building itself for years to come.
Need Some Help?
Did looking at that list from the last section make you a bit nervous about your project? Did you know that this entire article outlines only a few of the energy efficient construction tips & protocols you could be following?
That’s understandably overwhelming. That’s also why our final tip is to consult with professionals on your next project.
At Commonwealth Electrical Technologies, we specialize in implementing energy efficient technology and systems at all stages of building development. Whether that’s for new building construction or updating an existing one, we’re there to support and guide you.
Contact us today to get our expert opinion on your next project.