Buildings use many types of interacting systems to create a suitable indoor environment for human occupancy. Under the traditional approach, energy efficiency measures focus on upgrading specific systems and equipment. However, better results are possible when taking a whole-building approach, considering the interactions between different systems.
For example, LED upgrades reduce the heat emission of lighting systems, and this is subtracted from air conditioning loads. In many cases, building upgrades are analyzed independently from each other, without considering their interaction. Depending on how building systems and equipment interact, an isolated analysis may overestimate or underestimate the savings.
All building systems should be considered during an energy audit, but there are specific installations and equipment that tend to have the highest consumption. Energy efficiency measures can also achieve synergy with solar panels and other renewable technologies, achieving two different types of savings:
- The savings achieved by consuming less energy.
- The savings achieved by generating your own electricity and relying less on the grid.
The following are some of the main focus areas covered under the scope of our professional energy audits:
HVAC: Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems represent over 50% of energy consumption in many residential and commercial areas. However, this also means that HVAC upgrades can achieve considerable savings when designed properly.
Domestic Hot Water: Building codes have water temperature requirements for building owners, and the heating process can consume large amounts of energy, especially in places with cold winters. However, hot water systems often waste energy due to factors like having old equipment or deficient insulation.
Lighting: In many buildings, lighting is the second largest electrical load after air conditioning. An LED upgrade can achieve savings ranging from 30-90%, depending on the lighting type being replaced. Even greater savings are possible when an LED retrofit is combined with smart lighting controls.
EV Charging: When buildings are equipped with electric vehicle chargers, tenants can also reduce their emissions when they’re away. EV chargers can also take advantage of surplus electricity produced by solar panels or other onsite renewable systems.
Solar Roofs: Solar power has become the fastest-growing electricity source in the US, with more than 120 gigawatts installed by the end of 2021. Solar panels can reduce power bills effectively in buildings while qualifying for tax credits and other financial incentives. Renewable generation can also reduce the carbon footprint of your building by replacing electricity from the grid.
Battery Storage: Solar panels and wind turbines have an intermittent power supply, but this problem can be solved by adding energy storage and achieving a clean power supply 24/7. Energy storage can be used to avoid the most expensive kWh prices in buildings subject to time-of-use rates, and also to reduce demand charges.
Demand Response: Many power companies now offer incentives for large buildings who are capable of reducing their consumption on-demand, at times when the grid is burdened with high load. For example, this can be achieved by shifting loads away from peak demand hours with automatic controls or using energy storage to absorb consumption peaks and reduce net demand measured by the power company. NY Engineers can help you claim the benefits offered in demand response programs.
Elevators: The energy performance of elevators can be improved by upgrading them with high-efficiency motors and smart controls. This can also improve their reliability, ensuring safe operation around the clock.
Building Management Systems: Energy efficiency measures can achieve high savings when implemented in insulation. However, when a smart platform coordinates the operation of all equipment and systems, your building can achieve top performance.