India is seeing a rapid growth in the number of entrepreneurs and small business owners. This translates into more offices and commercial spaces. The building sector consumes about 33% of electricity in India with commercial sector accounting for 8%. This percentage is said to increase as the newer officers are going to add to the overall energy demand. Energy efficiency and conservation measures are the greener options that need to be adopted in order to reduce energy demand and curb carbon emissions. This will also help reduce the energy bill by a huge margin.
The government of India has developed Energy Building Conservation Code (ECBC) which provides design norms for building envelope, lighting system, HVAC systems, electrical systems and water heating and pumping systems for new buildings and additions to new buildings. But these can be implemented only by the state and the local governments.
Municipal corporations of cities in many developing countries have come up with schemes and technical help to commercial buildings help them become energy efficient and reduce their overall energy demand.
Here are some of the measures that if followed can reduce your energy demand significantly.
1. Turn off equipments when not in use or not required. Turn off the lights and open windows. Turn of your air-conditioners when the weather is cold enough. Turn off your PCs when not in use for a long time.
2. Replace incandescent and florescent lighting fixtures with energy efficient LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). These though are slightly costlier; they have a longer life and consume less electricity. Remember, electricity is costlier for commercial customers than residential ones. A 10W LED bulb gives the same amount of light as a 60W incandescent bulb. Moreover LEDs come in different shapes and sizes allowing you to choose a suitable one for your office.
Related Read: 5 Reasons Why You Have To Switch To LED!
3. Use occupancy sensors which detect movement in rooms and turns on and off accordingly.
Day-lighting sensors can also be used which dim or switch electric lights in response to the presence or absence of available natural light.
4. Buy energy efficient equipments. Bureau of Energy Efficiency rates electronic equipments such as air-conditioners and washing machines and gives them star labeling. Always buy 5-star rated equipments, which though might be a little costly, but saves a lot on your electricity bill.
5. In air conditioned spaces, check for cracks, gaps and damaged windows and if found get them sealed. Don’t keep the doors and windows opened in an air-conditioned room.
6. Use time controls for air-conditioners which turn on and off the systems based on a fixed schedule.
7. Decide an optimum temperature for your office after consulting your employees and experts in which all employees can find them productive. In Japan an office allowed its employees to dress as per their convenience after fixing and announcing a particular temperature.
8. Clean and maintain all your equipments regularly. Over time they might accumulate dust and their efficiencies might decrease.
9. Use smart meters. Smart meter is an electronic device that records energy consumption in intervals of an hour or less and sends meter readings to the energy supplier instantly. It comes with a monitor which makes you understand your energy usage better. Understand the fluctuations in energy consumption over a day and over a year.
10. Take a look around your workplace and identify areas where energy is being wasted and key changes can be made.
If you are going to build a new office building, employ an architect who knows the ECBC guidelines. It is better to build an energy efficient building rather than first building a conventional one and doing retrofitting later.
If you have enough rooftop space for yourself and finance, set a solar power plant through which you can meet your own electricity needs. Transmission and distribution lines are not very efficient India and most of the energy is lost by the time it reaches the end user. So it is desirable to produce your own electricity from your rooftop.
In case you produce more electricity then what you require you can use net-metering to sell it to the electricity board and get refund on your electricity bill. But before you setup a solar plant, carry out an inventory of electrical equipment in the office in order to reduce the overall demand.
These simple measures will help us go a long way in making our offices sustainable. (Image Credits: storehouse.co)
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