FMs urged to get serious about retro-fitting

Facilities-management leaders have been urged to get serious about retro-fitting energy-saving equipment to buildings rather than chasing green bling if they want to meet emissions targets and save money. Mike Malina, director of consultancy Energy Solutions Associates stressed that companies need to be do more to review energy-use profiles of existing buildings if they want to help the Government meets its target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. He was speaking at a conference organised by ebm-papst UK.

He said, ‘Everybody goes for green bling, but they don’t look at the real fundamental need for retrofit in a building. They want to be seen to be green, but forget the basics.

‘If only officials would give existing buildings the resources and improvements they need — 90% of the buildings we’re going to have in 2050 are already here, so we need to be looking at retrofit.

‘The cheapest kilowatt hour is the one you never use, so saving energy is a business and financial investment, whether it’s fitting EC fans or using good filters. By doing this, you will get massive savings over years, rather than just sticking a solarPV panel on your roof.’

A example project is the installation of ebm-papst fans with EC motors at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron near Oxford, which has reduced energy use by over 50%.

Ian Ellis, marketing manager with Siemens Building Technologies, that last year’s controversy about price rises by the major energy companies included no discussion about what could be done to make sure energy is used more efficiently once it gets into a building. ‘To get the Government interested, we in building services need to get people thinking about the demand side.’

A primary ‘no-brainer’ retrofit described by Ian Ellis was how simply updating a class C building-automation and controls system to a class A could resulting in a 30% energy saving and a 2-year payback.

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