Why it matters
To Building Owners and Operators. Energy efficiency has become one of the primary drivers to increase profitability in real estate. In commercial buildings, for example, energy efficient buildings enjoy lower vacancy rates and higher rental rates than conventional buildings and will sell for more than comparable buildings. It is a phenomenon that has been verified in multiple markets. Efficiency increases occupant comfort, substantially reducing the “too hot…too cold” calls while simultaneously lowering overall operating expenses and reducing emissions.
To Tenants and Occupants. Energy costs find their way to occupants, one way or another. A poorly performing building will generate higher-than-necessary utility bills. Poorly performing buildings can also lead to high demand charges for peak power consumption. In many regions, demand charges make up over 30% of a commercial utility bill.
Building imbalances also impact productivity, comfort and satisfaction. If employees are wearing jackets in the middle of July because of unbalanced air conditioning, they probably aren’t very happy.
To Utilities and Grid Operators. Utility and grid operators are in a desperate race to control electricity demand, especially peak demand, as a way to control emissions and postpone the need to build new power plants. A kilowatt hour saved in a building means more than two kilowatt hours saved when production, transmission and distribution costs are considered. While demand response has gained notoriety for curtailing peak loads, energy efficiency and conservation offer permanent load shedding—that is, changing a building’s load shape so there is a new, lower peak.
To the Planet. We need electricity. We also need to use it more efficiently to reduce greenhouse gases. Commercial buildings in the U.S. consume 18.82 quads of energy a year. Saving even ten percent of that would be the equivalent of Taking 30 million cars off the road.