Energy management control systems, energy efficient doors, appropriate HVAC and the installation of solar panels are four key ways buildings can help fight rising utility costs, according to research by IBISWorld.
Commercial buildings in particular, such as hospitals, shopping centers and offices, have been taking a significant hit as they account for one-fifth of domestic energy consumption, according to Seeing Green: Cutting Costs in the Face of Rising Utilities.
IBIS has identified four techniques below as offering large reductions on utility bills:
Energy Management Control Systems
With energy management control systems users can reduce energy consumption by monitoring and controlling HVAC and lighting usage. These systems use sensors and specialized software to provide real-time information regarding energy use. Due to rising utilities prices, demand for energy management control systems has been rising and is expected to continue its trend as businesses seek ways to reduce utility costs. Although expanding demand is forecast to place upward pressure on the price of these systems, growth will be tempered thanks to falling installation costs for these systems, IBISWorld says.
Window and Door Installation Services
The Energy Department estimates that roughly one-third of cooling costs are attributable to heat transferred through windows. So by installing energy-efficient windows, businesses can both limit the amount of solar heat coming through windows during hot seasons and trap that heat indoors during colder seasons, effectively reducing cooling and heating costs. Businesses can also install energy-efficient doors, which prevent cold air drafts and provide insulation.
HVAC System Construction and Maintenance
HVAC systems are the second-largest source of energy consumption in commercial buildings. Installing new energy-efficient HVAC systems can significantly reduce energy costs. Replacing an existing system can be a costly process, though, so businesses can instead decrease their energy costs by performing proper maintenance on their existing HVAC systems, according to IBISWorld. A study by The New Buildings Institute found that poorly maintained HVAC systems lead to inefficiencies that result in increased energy usage of up to 60 percent, IBISWorld says.
Solar Panel Installation
Despite the anticipated expansion in demand, IBISWorld expects solar panel installation prices to fall at an annualized rate of 3.7 percent during the three-year period due to the government incentives. Furthermore, the costs of solar panels and their components have dropped more than 60 percent since 2010, making sustainable energy solutions even more affordable. In light of rising utilities prices, solar panels are growing ever more attractive to value-conscious building operators. The Energy Information Administration expects solar power to account for 0.5 percent of utility-scale energy by 2015.