Considering the hours almost every working professional or business owner spends at the workplace, offices probably consume more energy than homes. And the higher consumption of energy results in higher energy bills.
One of the most helpful ways to reduce the operational cost of your office is improving its energy efficiency. Therefore, figuring out the solutions to make your commercial space more energy-efficient and significantly lower the bills becomes essential.
Almost every Australian resident might have heard of five and six-star NABERS energy ratings many new buildings have.
As per statistics, nearly 80% of the buildings people will use in 2050 are already built today. If your commercial building has been built for over ten years, you can still make it energy-efficient by making some modest updates and changes.
This article covers tips to make your office building energy efficient with a NABERS rating.
What is the NABERS Rating?
NABERS Rating measures the efficiency of an office building and provides a six-star rating for the base building, tenancy, and entire building by comparing its energy consumption against the sector average.
- Base building energy rating: To provide this specific energy rating, a NABERS assessor measures central services of the building, like heating and cooling systems, lifts, lobby lighting, etc.
- Tenancy energy rating: It allows tenants to rate the space occupied by them within a building while considering the area of the office, number of occupants, and hours of occupancy.
- Whole building energy rating: It involves measuring the combined base building and tenant-occupied space and then rating the entire building’s energy efficiency accordingly.
Tips to Make Your Office Building Energy Efficient and Improve NABERS Rating
Most of the energy an office building uses is from lighting, appliances, heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC). If you want to make your office energy efficient and improve your NABERS Rating, consider following the below-discussed tips:
Invest in a superior-quality HVAC system.
Now that HVAC equipment consumes a considerable percentage of your office building’s total energy, you should invest in a high-quality, energy-efficient HVAC system. Upgrading the HVAC system to the latest model can reduce energy consumption by almost 40%.
Of course, investing in the latest models will not solve the issue unless you use them responsibly.
For example, is it imperative to keep your air conditioner constantly on? No, it’s not! Sometimes, you can reduce heat in the office by simply opening a window and letting the fresh air in.
Fix the plumbing
Faulty plumbing is common in commercial buildings, leading to excessive water use. Therefore, it is vital to address the plumbing issue– do the necessary pipe relining and finance an energy retrofit.
It will help you avoid spending hundreds to thousands of dollars constantly fixing corroded wiring and health issues caused by moisture and mildew. Finally, managing extensive hot water consumption will reduce energy bills while protecting the environment.
Increase Natural Lighting
You can add natural-light-enhancing features to your office building to reduce energy waste from incandescent bulbs and improve your NABERS energy rating.
For instance, by adding skylights in your office, you can improve the building’s access to natural lighting.
In addition, consider installing south-facing windows for improved indoor illumination without producing glare. You can further make your building energy efficient by installing solar windows.
Weatherise doors and windows.
In the winter, heat can escape the office building through cracks and gaps. Weatherising your building’s doors and windows is the best way to prevent HVAC-related energy loss.
Consider bordering the frame with weatherstripping to create a barrier between indoor and outdoor temperatures.
Furthermore, clean and dry the doors and windows surfaces before applying the strips to them. With weatherstripping, you can effectively decrease your building’s HVAC run times and, thus, utility bills. Consequently, your NABERS energy rating will improve.
Install smart thermostats
Smart thermostats automatically connect to conventional HVAC systems, helping maintain energy-efficient temperatures inside the office building.
They access Wi-Fi connections using the Internet of Things (IoT) and read real-time local weather forecasts to adjust indoor conditions while relying on outdoor temperature differentiations.
With effective utilisation of weather patterns, thermostats help support indoor temperatures, reducing the HVAC system’s energy consumption.
In addition, advanced thermostats can connect to motion sensors and adjust indoor temperatures based on the room’s occupancy levels. They will turn an HVAC system off in a vacant commercial building, helping you save money outside operational hours.
The above-discussed points show that it doesn’t require much effort to make your office building energy efficient and improve its NABERS Rating. Consider working with a professional sustainability consultant to determine your current NABERS energy rating and devise a building modelling plan to optimise energy consumption.
These consultants will provide practical suggestions on how to model energy consumption for heating, ventilation, cooling (HVAC), lighting, water, etc., and turn your old wasteful building into an upgraded energy-efficient one.