Energy efficiency isn’t necessarily a new concern for facility managers, but in the current economic climate it has become a much more pressing concern for many. And with good reason.

Reducing energy usage in office buildings is not only a crucial step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is a mandatory objective for many companies, but it can also lead to significant cost savings for the company owning or operating the building in question.

So, let’s take a look at how we can create a more energy efficient office.


The potential savings related to creating a more energy efficient office

Before we dive into the specific strategies related to reducing energy usage, let’s look at the potential savings that can be achieved through increasing the energy efficiency of your office building.

In 2022, residential and commercial buildings consumed 29% of the total end-use energy consumption in the United States. [1]

So, the potential savings of energy-efficient strategies in an office building can be quite significant.

In fact, a report titled “Methodology for retrofitting energy in existing office buildings using building information modeling programs” found that energy-efficient retrofits could reduce energy consumption in an existing office building by up to 68%. [2]


Strategies for reducing energy usage and creating an energy efficient office space

As a building manager there are several strategies you can adopt to reduce energy usage in the office buildings you manage.


1. Conduct an energy audit

Before you start implementing energy-saving measures, you should consider performing an energy audit, so you can understand how your building consumes energy. This will allow you to identify areas that need improvement and prioritize different energy-saving measures.

To perform an energy audit you will need to have a professional auditor evaluate the building's energy use.

The analysis itself will focus on the building's lighting, HVAC system, insulation and other systems to determine which systems waste waste energy and identify solutions to reduce energy consumption.


2. Implement energy efficient lighting

Lighting is one of the most significant energy consumers in office buildings, making up as much as 11% of a building’s total energy use. [3]

Because of that, retrofitting energy efficient light bulbs can make a big difference in your building’s total energy consumption. For instance, LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.

Additionally, LED bulbs last longer and emit less heat, which means replacing traditional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs also reduces the cooling load on the building's HVAC system.

Moreover, studies have found that switching to LED lighting also leads to improved lighting quality, which has a positive impact on employee productivity and wellbeing. [4]



Lastly, you can consider adding sensor control to your light sources to make your lighting system more energy efficient. Depending on the area in question, sensor controls can result in energy savings of up to 90%. [5]


3. Optimize your HVAC systems

Systems for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) are responsible for up to 35% of a building’s energy consumption. [2] So, optimizing your HVAC systems can have a significant impact.

One way to optimize HVAC systems is by implementing building automation systems that can monitor and control the building's temperature and ventilation based on data from occupancy and external weather conditions.

Another way to reduce energy consumption of your HVAC systems is to ensure that the building's air filters are clean and in good condition. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy, dirty filters can increase the HVAC system's energy consumption by as much as 15%. [6]


4. Occupancy sensors

Installing occupancy sensors is an easy way to help reduce energy consumption, as they can turn off lights and HVAC systems in unoccupied areas of an office building.



Additionally connecting occupancy sensors to your meeting room booking systems will give users a much more accurate overview of occupied and available rooms across your buildings.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, outfitting commercial buildings with state-of-the-art sensors and controls can save as much as 29% of a building’s energy consumption. [7]


5. Use renewable energy sources

Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources has obvious environmental benefits (which is especially helpful for companies that are required to file ESG reports) but it can also have a positive financial impact.

Installing solar panels on the roof of an office building or purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) can help offset the total energy consumption of your building on top of reducing your carbon footprint.


What’s next?

As you can see, creating a more energy efficient office space has obvious benefits from both a financial and an environmental perspective, and in many cases the investment into making the transition towards energy efficient buildings is far less than what you would spend on energy before making these changes.

In this article we presented five different strategies for creating a more energy efficient office, but they aren’t to be understood as a playbook to follow in chronological order.

While you would most likely benefit from carrying out an energy audit before implementing any changes, you could just as well start by changing light sources to LED bulbs or installing sensor control for lighting in key areas.










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