M&R as the key to reducing energy consumption
Lee Podger of Imtech Inviron assesses best practice in keeping buildings operating at peak energy efficiency through a planned programme of maintenance and refurbishment.
At the Europe Union summit in October, leaders reached a landmark deal to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with the global benchmark year of 1990. There was also a commitment for a 27% improvement in energy efficiency.
Buildings are central to the EU's energy-efficiency policy, as nearly 40% of final energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse-gas emissions are from residential, commercial and manufacturing buildings.
We in the building-services sector can play an important role because the targets for reducing carbon emissions can be achieved with the effective maintenance of building-services equipment and using the opportunities presented by refurbishment to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings.
Along with reasons of environmental and social responsibility, reducing the amount of carbon a building emits quite simply makes sense. It is one of the fastest, most effective ways for a company to save money.
Building-services providers, such as Imtech Inviron, can offer businesses and organisations a host of solutions, from the innovative to the straightforward, which will effectively maintain systems like lighting, heating and air conditioning to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings. We undertake a variety of activities in our approach to maintenance and the associated operation of plant and equipment, such as a detailed maintenance-strategy document, business-continuity impact analysis — as well as a mechanism for the auditing of service delivery, covering all aspects of asset management, including asset optimisation through lifecycle replacement.
|Modern maintenance programmes employ predictive techniques that take account of various aspects.|
Our approach to energy services is based on this integrated model that creates solutions to meet the needs of today whilst reducing the demand on the natural environment for tomorrow. This comprehensive and detailed approach enables the latest technologies to be installed to increase plant efficiency and improve building performance and ultimate value.
For example, our team working at St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff played a key part in the centre winning a prestigious environmental award, the Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice. The award recognised the centre’s significant reduction in energy consumption as a result of installing new lighting systems in its car parks, delivery and loading areas and service corridors. As the site-based facilities management team, we assisted with all installations during the 2-year project, which to date has resulted in an overall energy saving of more than 60% per year, a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions and a more pleasant environment for staff and customers.
Ensuring the base load is accurate and adequately measured before installation is key in realising the energy savings.
As every building is different, there is no set method to approach a planned-maintenance programme. However, there are many common elements of good practice that can be benchmarked and solutions to problems that can be shared.
Best practice in maintenance and refurbishment is to be proactive and to view all activities from a lifecycle perspective, ensuring that maintenance is both regular and programmed, therefore preventing potential breakdown. Modern maintenance programmes employ predictive techniques that take account of various aspects, including health and safety, plant life, plant performance, energy savings and environmental elements as well as the buildings users and criticality of the assets.
Additionally, it is crucial that the control of lighting, heating, air conditioning and other systems is correctly configured as this will prevent unnecessary out-of-hours operation of systems; reducing running costs, energy consumption and pollution associated with energy use, as well as limit excessive wear and tear on systems, thereby minimising maintenance, repair and replacement costs.
Along with maintenance, the refurbishment of existing buildings also has an important role in helping the UK meet its long-term emission-reduction targets. The refurbishment of buildings presents an opportunity to improve energy efficiency.
Specialist companies such as Imtech Inviron have significant experience of retrofitting demand-side and supply-based measures across many different building types. They span a number of sectors — including public, commercial, health, education and industrial —designing mechanical, electrical and fabric solutions to make best use of the client’s own capital and/or maximising available grants.
|Success in the Green Apple Awards for Environmental Best Practice — St David’s Shopping Centre in Cardiff.|
New buildings are built to higher standards of energy efficiency than ever before, but older buildings can be effectively upgraded to reduce their carbon footprint with minimum disruption to day-to-day operations and a significant cut in fuel bills.
The recently introduced ‘BREEAM UK non-domestic refurbishment and fit-out’ is the latest in the BREEAM family of sustainability rating schemes developed by BRE Global to assess and improve the sustainability of UK building refurbishment and fit-out projects.
The new BREEAM scheme has been tailored to take account of the challenges of improving existing buildings, ensuring projects are assessed against the issues that each project can reasonably be expected to influence and not on factors outside of their control.
Refurbishment can include the installation of advanced technologies, like voltage optimisation, CHP, intelligent building controls and solar PV. In addition, simple but energy-efficient methods can also be adopted, such as fitting low-energy luminaires, localised heating control, double-glazed windows and correctly insulating the weather envelope of a building.
It is the combination of effective and innovative maintenance of building services equipment and using the opportunities presented by refurbishment and retrofitting that will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of existing buildings. Such activity, in conjunction with the actions of owners, occupiers and others involved in the built environment, will help the UK contribute to the EU’s target to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.
Lee Podger is head of energy services at Imtech Inviron