Improving Building Energy Efficiency
Improving building energy efficiency has become a key issue for building owners and occupiers with rising energy prices and colder winters. There are many solutions available on the market but not all are cost-effective, as many come with a long-term payback.
Working with an energy consultant will help identify the most cost-effective and beneficial solution for your building.
Top Tips for Improving Building Energy Efficiency including Retrofit Solutions
· Expert advice when planning your energy refurbishment can save you money in the long-term. Providing solutions for better building energy efficiency.
· Identify issues that are relevant to the particular building and site and develop an overall building energy efficiency plan for the short and longer term – to suit your budget.
· There are a number of immediate and inexpensive measures that can be undertaken in the home, for e.g. energy efficient LED light bulbs.
· Often it is wiser to refurbish everything at the same time to ensure an overall consideration of your home as well as unnecessary expenditure.
· Good long-term measures include the replacement of windows and the installation of wall insulation, however, these measures should be considered holistically.
· Insulating external or internal walls will improve thermal performance and reduce heat loss, also known as U-values.
· Upgrading of windows and external doors will improve the U-values. For example, upgrading an existing sunroom or conservatory can ensure that it can be used all-year-round.
· Improve the air-tightness of your home to avoid unwanted air leaks. An air pressure test is used to identify air leaks. But also have sufficient ventilation to prevent ‘sick building syndrome’. Insufficient ventilation will lead to a build-up of humidity, condensation and mould growth and a consequent risk to occupants’ health.
· Fitting of renewable energy sources such as solar collectors for hot water, wood pellet boilers or heat pumps. These can be costly and often unnecessary, rather than focusing on the prevention of draughts and efficient and well-controlled hot water systems.
· Remodelling the building for better orientation to benefit from light. An architect may recommend changes to the layout or opening up a south-facing wall to benefit from sunlight, also known as passive solar gain. Or using shade to prevent over heating.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
· The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has a wide range of information and publications on improving building energy efficiency. SEAI also have grants available to retrofit buildings for greater energy efficiency. We will advise you on these grants and the options for improving the energy efficiency of your property.
Building Energy Rating (BER)
Building Energy Rating provides an indication of the overall energy performance of a building as well as identify areas of improvement.
What is a BER?
By law, anyone renting or selling a property must supply a Building Energy Rating (BER). A building energy rating calculates the energy efficiency of a property on a scale from A to G, with A1 being the most energy efficient and has the lowest energy bills. A BER covers energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting calculated on the basis of standard occupancy. A BER certificate is accompanied by an advisory report, which will identify how you might improve the energy performance of your home. There are exemptions for certain categories of homes, for example, protected structures and certain temporary homes.
Energy Efficiency in Europe
The European Union has given its Member States including our Government the task of reducing energy usage. SEAI are the agency responsible in Ireland to support energy saving in buildings and do so by providing grants to help and support individuals, businesses and local authorities. They are doing so to achieve the European target of 20:20:20 by 2020. In Ireland, it is estimated the 40% of our energy consumption is spent on heating our buildings, astonishingly, in Sweden it is 12%.
Here is a recent report by SEAI called Unlocking-the-Energy-Efficiency-Opportunity-Summary-for-Policymakers
Context of 20:20:20 by 2020
The need to increase energy efficiency is part of the triple goal of the ’20-20-20′ initiative for 2020, which means a saving of 20% of the Union’s primary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the inclusion of 20% of renewable energies in energy consumption. All national governments and in turn local government are tasked with a 30% reduction in primary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Further reading please go to EU site for Energy. Achieving the 20 % reduction objective will help reduce the EU’s impact on climate change and dependence on fossil fuel imports. The EU Action Plan will also boost industrial competitiveness, increase exports of new technologies and will have positive benefits in terms of employment. The savings made will, moreover, offset the investments put into innovative technologies.
European measure for energy efficiency in the building sector
Energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings represents around 40% of total final energy use. It is responsible for 36% of the European Union’s total CO2 emissions.
To reduce this type of consumption, steps should be taken to simplify Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings, which constitutes the current legal framework, whilst leaving some autonomy to Member States to act in this area.
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Grainger Energy Solutions can work with professionals who use BIM to support and drive more accurate design, analysis and documentation of efficient building systems from concept through to construction.
BIM software can enable us with the design team and other subcontractors to detect clashes in 3D and take corrective action before the work had commenced. Coordination is achieved by large scale collaboration working with various parties: owner, design team and other trade contractors. A BIM Project execution plan is created for projects and the contents reflect the size, complexity and schedule of the project and ensure accuracy, reliability and timeliness at all levels.