Improving Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings

5 Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Existing Commercial Buildings

In this blog, we talk about 5 Ways to Improve Energy Efficiency in Existing Commercial Buildings

With buildings accounting for 39 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States, climate change has accelerated its negative impacts. Scientists predict that if left unchecked, emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases from human activities will raise global temperatures by 2.5 F to 10 F this century and according to the latest IPCC report, that damage will be irrevocable!

It is not always feasible or granted to construct an entirely new building to incorporate optimum energy efficiency. Great news, it is also not required! There are some tried and tested ways to enhance the energy efficiency of an existing commercial building. Here are a few:-

1. Have a strategy

The most obvious and foremost is to have a strategy after thoroughly scrutinizing the building. The best way to strategize is to have an energy audit conducted in which a deep survey that resultantly suggests retrofitting measures and these measures ought to optimise your building’s energy efficiency in a customised fashion.

It will help the owners determine the set of goals that they must undertake and most importantly, why. The goals can revolve around achieving a reduction in energy consumption altogether or self-generate a percentage of power through renewables or other sustainable means such as solar power. It is highly recommended that these goals are as specific (with regard to timelines and personnel) and concrete as possible.

2. Measure current energy consumption

Measuring the energy consumption or benchmarking can help the owners prioritize or determine where to really focus on. However, it’s essential to be completely precise about this and therefore, hiring an expert for benchmarking, auditing and retrofitting is ideal. With their experience and expertise, it is an easy task for them which provides instant solutions.

3. Maintain the HVAC

Heating, Ventilating and Air-conditioning (HVAC) are alone responsible for more than 40% of energy consumption. The labelled products help save up to 16% energy which translates to a weekly saving yearly saving of at least $100.

Air-conditioning does not contribute much to the bills, taking up around 6% of energy. ENERGY STAR central air-conditioning units provide 8% more efficiency. The air-conditioning systems are usually integrated with the heating systems implying that it’s ideal to purchase both at the same time to maximize efficiency.

4. Check Your Water Usage

Water is an extremely energy heavy aspect of any building and water-oriented strategies significantly reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Designing for water conservation, efficiency and reuse are among the largest and most cost-effective energy and carbon reduction strategies available. This can be achieved by specifying plumbing equipment that prevents leaks-or “real water losses”-the most troubling element of water efficiency which the experts call “non-revenue water.”

Water usage can be effectively reduced by also installing proper fixtures. Perhaps can following can help with the same:-

  1. Specify high-efficiency toilets with reduced average flush volumes compared to conventional toilets
  2. Use rainwater as a valuable water source.
  3. Design buildings to harvest rainfall and create outdoor spaces that rely primarily on precipitation for irrigation. Rainwater harvesting and xeriscaping can result in 50 percent savings in outdoor water use. Rainwater harvesting has a low environmental footprint because it’s not pumped long distances. Water for flushing toilets, irrigation and washing machines does not need to be potable, so using rainwater direct from a building’s roof lowers the carbon footprint.

5. Upgrade to LED Lighting

Most LED projects are executed with the sole aim of saving on electricity. However, LED lights also bring in several safety benefits, which is why most audits will suggest switching up the lighting.

  1. They have a lower power consumption because of which they emit less heat. This implies that there are lesser chances of it starting a fire.
  2. As opposed to other conventional lamps that require glass in their respective designs, LED lighting has no such prerequisites and can be modelled utilizing much safer products. This also makes them shatterproof.
  3. Owing to their low consumption, LED lighting also runs successfully on a power back, for a very long time. This is nothing short of a life-saving hack for during those blackouts!


These are 5 Ways to improve Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings. Stay tuned for more informational blogs like this!

We, The Cotocon Group, have a proven history of providing compliance services in New York City to building owners. Our highly skilled team ensures building owners meet all the requirements from planning compliance schedules, conducting energy audits and retro-commissioning to generating and submitting the Energy Efficiency Report within the deadline. We will demonstrate that the greatest return on investment for building owners is investing in energy efficiency, to accomplish the mentioned holistic value and make your building absolutely safe. 

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