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15 ways to cut carbon

BSRIA has provided tips on reducing carbon emissions, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Synthesis Report highlighted the need to reduce carbon use.

According to BSRIA, non-domestic buildings are responsible for around a fifth of the UK’s total carbon emissions.

As the majority of existing buildings will still be in use by 2050, it argued that improving their energy performance was key in helping the country to meet its emission reduction targets.

BSRIA has compiled a list of 15 low or no-cost energy efficiency measures that building operators could implement.


BSRIA’s carbon-cutting tips

  1.  Conduct regular energy audits to determine where and how energy is being used in a building.
  2. Measure HVAC weather-dependent energy consumption using degree days regularly - quarterly is suggested - to ensure the system is correctly adjusted based on the outdoor temperature.
  3.  Increase the operating efficiency of chillers, boilers and cooling equipment via proactive service and planned maintenance.
  4. Calibrate thermostats and sensors and increase the operating set-points to allow a larger temperature difference that reflects the outside conditions - for example, raising the set-point in the summer to 24°C and reducing it in the winter to 19°C.
  5. Remind occupants - using emails, posters and so on - to dress appropriately to the time of year.
  6. Modify controls to prevent heating and cooling systems from operating simultaneously.
  7. Implement setback plans to reduce or eliminate HVAC use during unoccupied hours.
  8. Ensure radiators (if any) are working to their full capacity - for example, no blockages internally or externally - so that portable heaters can be removed.
  9. Ensure that heating/cooling does not escape the building via windows left open, and check for drafts through leaky windows and doors.
  10. Use energy efficient lamps - for example, T-8, compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs - that not only help cut lighting operational costs but also enhance lighting quality.
  11. Ensure workstation allocation is aligned with the artificial lighting requirements of the work to remove the need for extra task lamps.
  12. Improve lighting control by labelling any manual light switches to encourage occupants to turn lights off when they are not in use. Install occupancy sensors - especially in rooms that are frequently unoccupied - and check whether daylight sensors are working correctly where applicable. Remind occupants to adjust window blinds when there is no glare issue to make the most of daylight. Check the default time delay for any lights with PIRs sensors to ensure it is not too long.
  13. Measure light levels in different zones regularly - monthly is suggested - to ensure the wattage is correct.
  14. Use energy efficient - such as ENERGY STAR® rated - equipment throughout the building.
  15. Raise occupants’ energy awareness and encourage them to switch off their appliances when they are not in use.

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