Cheapest form of energy is to use less

One of the key messages of the IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report is that there are options available today across all sectors of our economy that will cut global greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2030. This includes energy efficiency and reducing waste.

In any commercial building, facility management and technicians will find many opportunities to take action, save energy and reduce waste in HVAC&R. Some of these opportunities are very common and yield significant savings, while others are more obscure and invisible.

  • Excessive operating hours due to over- conservative time schedules that include public holidays
  • Simultaneous heating and cooling – cooling and heating systems working against each other
  • Incorrect economy cycle operation including failure to use outdoor air for free cooling and/or using excessive amounts of outdoor air during high/low outdoor temperatures
  • Lack of awareness of Building Management System (BMS) functionality and graphical user interface by building operators, e.g. diagnostic screens, alarms, trend logs.
  • Oversized plant and equipment with poor part-load efficiency and operational ability
  • Inadequately specified and programmed BMS hardware and controls algorithms
  • Excessive air infiltration due to building pressure, facade integrity, zoning
  • Excessive minimum outdoor air ventilation flow rates
  • Equipment left in manual mode on switchboards, variable speed drives and/or BMS
  • Incorrectly calibrated temperature, pressure, velocity, flow and humidity sensors
  • Unskilled staff carrying out maintenance
  • Dirty or blocked heat exchange surfaces of chillers, boilers, cooling towers and coils

The same opportunities come up time and time again in an existing building commissioning program. Don’t be surprised that some of these opportunities capture 80 per cent of the savings.

Energy efficiency is a critical solution to so many of the world’s most urgent challenges – it can simultaneously make our energy supplies more affordable, more secure, and more sustainable. But inexplicably, governments and business leaders are failing to act sufficiently on this.” Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency

Acknowledgment: selected opportunities are from the publication – I am Your Optimisation Guide by NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

NSW Energy Savings Scheme provides financial incentives to business for upgrading BMS and HVAC systems. See NSW Climate and Energy Action for further information.