Top 5 energy optimization tips for buildings

18/01/2023
Stories

Today more than ever, the energy transition is a priority in France. The desire to become independent of fossil fuels and to drastically reduce our energy consumption has indeed been accelerated by the Ukrainian conflict.

It is in this sense that the energy sobriety plan announced in June by the french Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Panier-Runacher has set these objectives for 2050.

28 years may seem like a long time, but in reality there is no time to lose. And for that, all our habits and behaviors must be changed in a sustainable way, both at home and at the office.

Offices are very energy-intensive workplaces. To improve the energy efficiency of offices and reduce their carbon footprint, here are the five main optimization levers to consider:


1-Heating


Heating represents on average 56% of total energy expenses, so it is important to act first on this expense item.

First, it is recommended to ensure that buildings are well insulated to avoid heat loss in winter and overheating in summer. This can be done by using efficient insulating materials and by performing regular inspections to ensure that the insulation is in good condition.

The most important thing is to equip yourself with a thermostat, which allows you to optimize your energy consumption and therefore save money by efficiently adjusting the temperature of the building. For example, by lowering the thermostat by 1°, you can save between 5 to 10% of energy.

The 1978 energy code imposes a limit for home and business heating of 19°C. In theory, you could even risk a fine of €1,500.

This is an average value, which can be achieved by lowering the temperature at night, for example.

Bonus: If the work to be done does not require movement but only mental activity, the office must be heated between 21°C and 24°C according to the regulations.

Conversely, if the work requires movement, the ideal temperature is 19°C.


2-Air conditioning


Although air conditioning can be useful and even essential (especially when we see that we are more and more exposed to heat waves), it is in fact very energy consuming.

To have an idea, the use of air conditioning can represent up to 20% of the energy consumption of a company.

It is therefore very important to limit its use as much as possible in order to reduce energy consumption. Remember to open the windows to ventilate, even at night if possible when temperatures are at their lowest.

Bonus: The air conditioning should not be more than 4° below the ambient temperature, while ensuring that it does not fall below 26°.


3-Lighting


Lighting is the second most important item in the energy bill of companies, after the thermal item. It alone represents 10% of total consumption.

But we realize that 80% of the lighting installations in the tertiary sector are obsolete, often dating back more than 20 years. This is a real energy loss!

In addition to this, there is the use of these lights; it seems that more than 70% of the energy consumption of interior lighting in offices is consumed during the day. It would be advisable to take care to use lights only when they are really necessary, and to think of turning them off when they become useless.

To reduce this consumption, it is best to invest in management systems such as presence detectors (indoor and outdoor). These installations could lead to a 70% saving on this consumption item.

Bonus: There are many other actions that allow for energy savings such as the use of LED bulbs, a system of turning off the lights in the whole building at night, but also the layout of the offices; a white paint will give more clarity to the room, but also the layout of the offices (well exposed in relation to the windows for example).


4-The computer equipments


Another major source of energy consumption in offices is computer equipment.

Even if it may seem difficult to act on this item, there are still a few tips to know.

First of all, it is important to know that a computer on standby consumes 20 to 40% more energy than when it is on.

To reduce this consumption, it is important to unplug your computer when you are not in the office. Because even when it is turned off, it will still consume electricity. In this sense, power strips with buttons can be more practical.

The use of computers itself can also be optimized in this sense.

Here are some tips:

-limit the searches in the search engines and therefore use the favorites bar, the history ...

sort your e-mails regularly, since storing them also requires a lot of energy

-attachments sent should be as light as possible

-during meetings, the camera should be turned on only if really necessary

-the use of ecological search engines is highly recommended (Ecosia, Ecogine, Lilo ...)

Bonus: The optimization of consumption linked to computer equipment also involves the installation of multifunctional equipment; for example, a printer, photocopier and scanner in a single device.


5- Transport


Commuting to and from work can also contribute to the energy consumption of an office. To limit this impact, it is advisable to favor alternative modes of transportation such as bicycles or public transportation. It is also possible to set up mobility plans to encourage employees to use more environmentally friendly modes of transportation, or even to set up a carpooling system between them to limit their carbon footprint on the way to work.