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Commercial buildings can reduce energy by 29%

Simple practices of controlling basic lighting and cooling equipment can increase energy efficiency, says US-based scientist

| | Aug 30, 2017 | 11:38 am
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Considering the enormous power consumed by commercial buildings, researchers have identified measures that could reduce the energy consumption by an average of 29%, according to a recent study sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

Dr Srinivas Katipamula, Staff Scientist at PNNL and co-author of the study, said: “Most large commercial buildings are already equipped with building management systems that deploy controls to manage building energy use. But those controls often aren’t properly programmed and are allowed to deteriorate over time, creating unnecessarily large power bills.

“In our research, we observed that significant nationwide energy savings are possible if all US commercial building owners periodically looked for and corrected operational problems, such as air conditioning systems running too long, especially when rooms are empty.”

Elaborating on the details of the study, Dr Katipamula added: “Our team identified 34 individual basic energy-efficiency measures that can improve commercial building performances. These practices include: Fixing broken sensors, turning off power-using devices when not in use, diming lights in areas that are already illuminated with natural lighting.

“If these operations are corrected, this would result in between four and five quadrillion British thermal units in national energy savings, which is about 4-5% of the energy consumed nationwide.”

Dr Katipamula further added that although commercial buildings have the potential to save energy up to 29%, other buildings, such as secondary schools, have the potential to save up to 49% of energy.

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