Navigation Menu+
Commercial Flooring News

Cut Carbon In Business Premises

Ian Orme, team leader, sustainable construction group BSRIA (Building Services Research and Information Association), offers some useful tips to businesses on how to help reduce carbon within your organisation:

BUSINESS or non-domestic buildings in the UK are responsible for about a fifth of the country’s total carbon emissions.
As the majority of existing buildings will still be in use by 2050, improving energy performance of existing buildings is important to help the country to meet their emission reduction targets.
Factors influencing energy consumption in buildings: Energy can be saved by better control and management of the systems with large energy consumption associated with them to eliminate the waste.
In non-domestic buildings, the installed Heating, Ventilation and Cooling system (HVAC) is normally the highest energy consumer with lighting the second biggest load and a major source of internal heat. Small power loads are not only a considerable energy consumer but it contributes significantly to internal heat gains too.
To enhance energy performance of buildings in operation, operators and occupants have vital roles to play.
Below is a list of simple low/no cost energy efficiency measures that the companies can implement in their buildings. Some of these measures require occupants’ cooperation and can even lead to desired behaviour change.
Energy can be saved by:
1. Conducting regular energy audits to determine where and how energy is used in the building;
2. Measuring HVAC weather-dependent energy consumption, using degree days, regularly (e.g. quarterly) to ensure the system is correctly adjusted based on the outdoor temperature;
3. Increasing operating efficiency of chillers, boilers and cooling equipment via proactive service and planned maintenance;
4. Calibrating thermostats and sensors and increase the operating set-points to allow a larger temperature difference that reflects the outside conditions (e.g. raising the set-point in the summer to 24 degrees and reducing it in the winter to 19 degrees);
5. Reminding occupants, via emails, posters, etc., to dress appropriately to the time of year;
6. Modification of controls to prevent heating and cooling systems from operating simultaneously;
7. Implementing setback plans to reduce or eliminate HVAC use during unoccupied hours;
8. Ensure radiators (if any) are working to their full capacity (e.g. no blockages internally or externally) so that portable heaters can be removed;
9. Ensuring that heating/cooling doesn’t escape the building via windows left open, and checking for drafts through leaky windows and doors;
10. Using energy efficient lamps (e.g. T-8 ,compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs) that not only can help cut lighting operational costs but also enhance lighting quality;
11. Ensuring the workstation allocation is aligned with the artificial lighting requirements of the work to remove the need for extra task lamps;
12. Improve lighting control by labelling manual light switches (if any) to remind and encourage occupants to turn lights off when they are not in use, installing occupancy sensors especially frequently unoccupiedin rooms, check whether the daylight sensors (if any) are working correctly , reminding occupants to adjust the window blinds (if any), when there is no glare issue, to make the most of daylight and also by checking the default time delay for the lights with PIRs sensors (if any) to ensure it is not too long for different areas;
13. Measuring light levels in different zones regularly (e.g. very month) to ensure not too high wattage lighting is in use;
14. Using energy efficient (Energy star rated) equipment throughout the building; and
15.Raising occupants’ energy awareness and encouraging/reminding them to switch off their appliances when they are not in use.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at