Common issues due to which buildings waste energy during winters

Common Issues Due to Which Buildings Waste Energy During Winters

Buildings Waste Energy During Winters

The Winter Season regularly lead to inefficient energy usage in Buildings. Space heating alone can account for up to 40-45% of a building’s total energy usage. An inefficient building can not only increase your energy bills, it also decreases your building’s value and puts you at a risk of non-compliance with NYC Energy Laws. It also leads to higher GHG Emissions.
The Cotocon Group puts together Common Issues Due to Which Buildings Waste Energy During Winters and what steps can be taken to rectify them.

Space heating takes the largest share of energy expenses in a building during winters, whether it is a commercial building or a residential building. However, excessive bills might mean that it is time for an inspection. The 3 major factors affecting the heating cost of a building are:-

1- Your Building Envelope
2- The Energy Efficiency of Your heating system
3- Thermostat configuration

We will now analyze the major reasons for an increased energy bill in detail.


1- Building Envelope

The Building’s space heating system keeps the indoors at an optimum temperature maintaining the thermal comfort of the residents or occupants. When cold air gets inside the building, it will negatively affect the efficiency of your system. If the outside air decreases your inside temperature by even 2’ F, the heating system will have to provide the additional amount of heating to maintain the optimum temperature inside. This increases the consumption of energy.

Detecting air leaks can sometimes be easy, like standing close to the doors or the windows, but sometimes they are not so evident. A specialist will use specific methods to correctly identify the leaks so that they can be fixed.

Methods such as thermal imaging will correctly identify the leaks. Sometimes a leak can occur in an area of a building that is generally unoccupied. Thermal imaging will easily identify that leak which can then be fixed. It can also help building owners in detecting poor insulation, Ventilation leaks and more.

Pressure test is another method which is commonly used by experts to accurately identify the leaks. It can also help you give an estimate of the air being leaked in cubic feet / minute for accurate calculations. The leaks can occur irrespective of whether a building is new or an old construction. This is a good exercise as it will also prevent cooling costs in summers.

2- The Energy Efficiency of Your heating system

It is recommended to regularly conduct tests on the efficiency of your HVAC systems. Low efficiency can occur due to various reasons such as faulty equipment, incorrect configuration, lack of maintenance or sometimes even due to the system being outdated.

An Energy efficiency expert will conduct tests on your system and reveal the inefficiencies. They will then recommend the strategies that must be implemented to improve system efficiency.

Basic damages to the insulation, inefficient heat pumps are such common maintenance issues that can easily be fixed with minimal costs and no disruptions to the occupants.

When a system is very old, it is much more cost effective to replace it with a newer and more technologically advanced heating system as the upgrade will pay for itself with lower energy bills in the longer run. The best time for major upgrades to your heating systems is summer as it will not affect the building occupants.

3- Thermostat configuration

A thermostat setback of 7-10°F for 8 hours per day will reduce HVAC costs by around 10%. However, in a lot of buildings, thermostats are set to a high temperature all winters making the heating system consume more energy. It may sound straightforward but programming your thermostat to set a comfortable working temperature is an often-overlooked way of saving energy (and therefore money). By setting timers that correspond to busy hours or vacant office spaces, you can ensure that no heat energy is going to waste.

A Professional Energy Audit is a great way to identify all the faults in your heating systems that are resulting in higher energy bills. It will also help you in reducing your Green House Gas Emissions that will eventually help in compliance with the NYC Sustainability laws such as the NYC Local Law 97.

On a general note, building owners can expect to spend more on heating during the winter season but the costs should be controlled by conducting regular maintenance checks from experts. The Cotocon Group has over a decade of experience in professional energy audits and Commissioning, and we can help you in identifying the issues in your HVAC systems to ensure you are not spending more than you are supposed to.

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