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Energy Insights

Boosting Business Efficiency: A Guide to Energy Savings in Commercial Facilities

With Australian electricity and gas prices continuing to rise, improving energy efficiency is crucial for every business to control costs and maximise profits. While residential efficiency tends to get more focus, commercial facilities offer even greater potential for impactful energy savings through upgrades, improved operations and more. Read on for expert tips to boost efficiency in your commercial spaces.

Key Takeaways:

  • Upgrade ageing HVAC and lighting systems to high-efficiency models. 
  • Install building automation systems and smart controls
  • Perform regular preventative maintenance on all equipment
  • Seal air leaks and improve insulation to prevent energy waste
  • Change temperature setpoints and enable power-saving modes on tech
  • Engage staff through energy trainings and incentive programs
  • Work with energy consultants to identify custom savings opportunities
  • Utilise government subsidies, rebates and tax deductions

Start with an Energy Audit

A detailed energy audit by qualified professionals identifies savings opportunities unique to your facilities. It benchmarks current usage and pinpoints areas for efficiency gains in lighting, HVAC, appliances, building envelope and more. Audits also screen potential for renewables. Use audit findings to create a focused efficiency plan.

Upgrade Aging Building Systems

Much of the energy savings in commercial retrofits comes from upgrading legacy systems to current high-efficiency models:

HVAC - Old units operate at 60-80% efficiency versus 90%+ for modern variable speed HVAC. Right-size and optimise equipment selection.

Lighting - LEDs consume 50-70% less energy than halogens and CFLs with superior lifespan and light quality.

Building Automation - Energy management systems automate temperature, lighting and other controls based on occupancy patterns for efficiency.

Windows - New double/triple-paned windows with Low-E coatings significantly reduce heating and cooling losses.

Insulation - Boost roof and wall insulation to current code levels or higher to prevent energy waste.

Water Heaters - Tankless on-demand models provide endless hot water without standby losses.

Enforce Energy Policies and Change Behaviours

Simple low-cost tactics also improve efficiency:

  • Implement temperature setpoints for both occupied and unoccupied hours.
  • Activate sleep/hibernation on computers, monitors and printers when not in use.
  • Use occupancy sensors, timers and daylight harvesting to minimise lighting waste.
  • Program thermostats to power HVAC only during operational hours or activate based on occupancy patterns.
  • Preset timers on equipment like cafeteria appliances to avoid idle energy drain.
  • Educate staff on energy best practices and engage participation through incentive programs.

Maintain Equipment for Peak Efficiency

Preventative maintenance keeps equipment running optimally:

  • Regularly service HVAC systems - replace filters, clean coils, inspect refrigerant levels and duct integrity.
  • Maintain optimal boiler water chemistry through testing and water treatment.
  • Clean lighting fixtures, replace ballasts and bulbs on schedule.
  • Inspect pump seals, motors, belts, and compressors and perform repairs to prevent energy waste.
  • Monitor energy management systems and automation controls to quickly address sensor or programming issues.

Work With Energy Consultants

Engaging experts provides outside perspective on savings:

  • Energy consultants help access government subsidies and rebates to improve ROI.
  • They manage technical efficiency projects like retrofits and integrate upgrades with existing systems.
  • Certified professionals identify deeper savings specific to your unique building systems.
  • Consultants track results over time and recommend additional opportunity areas.

Conclusion

Improving energy savings in commercial facilities requires tapping specialised expertise while engaging staff through training and incentives. By treating efficiency as an ongoing profit-boosting initiative, Australian businesses can continuously enhance their bottom line.

With rising energy costs eating into margins, commercial efficiency helps Australian businesses maximise profitability. Optimising building systems, changing staff behaviours and engaging consultants to identify savings opportunities are key steps. Treating energy efficiency as an ongoing initiative ensured continued cost and carbon reductions over the long term.

FAQs on Commercial Energy Efficiency

What are typical energy savings from commercial efficiency upgrades?

Lighting upgrades reduce usage by 50-70%. HVAC upgrades save 10-30%. Insulation, building automation controls and air sealing save 5-20%. Total reductions of 25%+ are achievable.

What payback period can I expect on efficiency investments?

Simple no cost tactics like adjusting setpoints provide immediate savings. Major retrofits like HVAC and lighting typically achieve full payback within 3-5 years.

What expertise should I leverage to identify savings opportunities?

While staff can manage basic upgrades internally, certified energy auditors and consultants provide detailed technical facility assessments and savings recommendations based on their specialised expertise.

Where can I learn about available subsidies and incentives for commercial efficiency?

The federal government and most states offer programs covering energy assessments, commercial lighting upgrades, equipment rebates, and tax deductions for qualifying efficiency works.

How can I engage staff to participate in energy savings initiatives?

Promote results through newsletters and internal dashboards. Highlight positive employee behaviours. Offer contests, incentives and tie bonuses to meeting energy and carbon KPIs.

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