Today, property owners want to know how to reduce their energy costs. The motivation to use less energy at home and in the office is to reduce expenses and be more environmentally friendly.
In this property talk blog post, we have researched the following questions and have some interesting answers for you.
- What actions will reduce residential and commercial real estate energy use?
- How can less electricity be used for heating and cooling to reduce carbon emissions?
How Buildings Use Energy
Before answering these questions, let’s consider what we use energy for in buildings. While some uses of energy sources in buildings are apparent, many are not. Let’s look at the more general services of energy indoors.
Heating and Cooling
There was a time when humans were more resilient to temperature fluctuations due to our living conditions in structures that weren’t well insulated nor had the means to heat or cool. Today we need a more consistent temperature when we are indoors.
The optimum indoor temperature does vary from region to region. For example, if you live in Nigeria, the ideal room temperature will be between 26 – 28 °C (79 – 82°F). In the USA, the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, a more comfortable room temperature between 18 – 22 °C is typically recommended.
Energy maintains comfortable temperatures inside buildings through heating and cooling systems. This can account for a significant portion of a building’s energy consumption.
How are you providing hot water to your home or office? Hot water is used mainly in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundries. With more bathrooms comes more hot water use.
Some homes and buildings may have air circulation systems and air conditioning or HVACs. These systems are air transfer units, and they, too, need a source of energy to operate.
Lighting in all its forms, both indoors and externally, uses a lot of energy. High-energy users are lighting up commercial buildings, landscaping, pathways, and stairs.
Video cameras, sensors, alarms, and automatic gates also use much energy, especially when video recordings are 24 hours a day.
Many devices and appliances are zapping power in the home and office, i.e., using energy even when not activated. Consider how many power sockets are used with some machine or device in your home or office. You’ll be surprised at how many you’ve got using energy every minute of the day.
Homes and buildings with elevators and escalators need an energy source to operate.
Garden walls, rooftop gardens
A big trend in 2023 and beyond is wall gardens for aesthetics and improving air quality. Commercial buildings install wall gardens to attract tenants; however, they need an energy source to keep them watered. Plus, some watering systems use automation and robots, which also need an energy source to operate.
How To Reduce Energy Use
Several actions can be taken to reduce energy use in residential and commercial real estate, including:
- Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances
- Improve insulation
- Use programmable thermostats
- Use natural ventilation
- Use renewable energy sources
- Optimize lighting
- Adopt green building practices
Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances
Replacing old appliances with energy-efficient ones can significantly reduce energy use. Look for products with Energy Star labels certified to use less energy than standard models.
Adding insulation to attics, walls, and floors can help reduce energy loss and improve energy efficiency. Sealing air leaks around doors and windows can also help reduce energy use. Double or triple-glazed windows and doors will minimise heat loss. Older homes and buildings can also use retro-glazing, which adds another glass layer to the existing window or door. Older buildings choose retro-glazing to keep the traditional window and door architecture aesthetic.
Use programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats can reduce heating and cooling when buildings are not in use or during off-peak hours.
Use natural ventilation
Opening windows and using fans in warmer weather can help cool buildings naturally, reducing the need for air conditioning.
Use renewable energy sources
Installing solar panels or wind turbines can help buildings generate electricity and reduce dependence on grid-supplied energy.
Use LED lighting that is more energy-efficient and lasts longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Install occupancy sensors and daylight sensors to reduce lighting usage in unoccupied areas.
Adopt green building practices.
Incorporate sustainable building materials and design practices that promote energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor air quality.
Some additional steps can be taken to reduce electricity use for heating and cooling.
Use automation systems for watering wall gardens and activating room lighting using heat sensors. Install a programmable thermostat to adjust temperature settings during off-peak hours automatically. Seal air leaks and improve insulation to reduce heating and cooling loss.
Use natural ventilation to cool buildings during warmer weather, for example, vents and exhaust pipes that circulate air from winds. Install high-efficiency heating and cooling systems like heat pumps or geothermal systems.
Consider using passive solar design techniques, such as orienting buildings to take advantage of the sun’s natural warmth and light. Use shading devices, such as awnings or trees, to block direct sunlight during summer.
Regularly maintain and clean heating and cooling systems to ensure they operate efficiently.
Reducing energy use to save money and also get the benefit of being more environmentally friendly is achievable in every home and building.
By implementing the abovementioned measures, your residential and commercial buildings can significantly reduce energy use and carbon emissions.