Energy Efficiency

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Aluminium Lean-To Conservatories Provide Great Thermal And Energy Efficiency

Aluminium lean-to conservatories provide superb thermal and energy efficiency none more so than lean-to conservatories designed by Apropos.

Apropos lean-to conservatories conform to the highest standards and regulations for thermal and energy efficiency; meaning that, in the colder months, their lean-to conservatories can be enjoyed as much as they would be in the summer months.

First the statistics…

Apropos lean-to conservatories offer one of the best thermal efficiency ratings on the market – with a structural U-value of 1.6 W/mK and a centre pane U-value of 1.1 W/mK.

What does this mean?…

It means that Apropos bespoke lean-to conservatories are super efficient at retaining heat during cold weather. Conservatories of old were chilly places in the winter months, and, more often than not, shut off from the rest of the property by external-style patio doors. Not so Apropos modern lean-to conservatories, which act as hubs for family life all-year around.

The lean-to conservatories designed and manufactured by Apropos provide a welcoming space for all the family to enjoy, whatever the weather outside. Indeed, lean-to conservatories need not be partitioned off with bulky doors. Beautiful archways can be created to allow access into the lean-to conservatories at all times with householders safe in the knowledge that warm, inviting environments will be awaiting them in their lean-to conservatories.

At this time of year, with cold weather fast approaching, it is reassuring to know that lean-to conservatories will withstand the harsh winter months.

Of course, lean-to conservatories can be used as sun rooms or even as greenhouses in the summer months, with amazing folding sliding doors allowing wonderful freedom to maximise the garden; but lean-to conservatories can also be used as dining rooms, living rooms, and kitchen extensions throughout the year.

Indeed, in a few weeks time many families will either be preparing or tucking into their Christmas dinners in their own lean-to conservatories; enjoying the magnificent settings that lean-to conservatories provide for such occasions. Indeed, should it be a white Christmas then the picture will be complete. Proof indeed that lean-to conservatories are super family places to be enjoyed whatever the weather.

If you want to learn more about lean-to conservatories please request a brochure at http://www.apropos-conservatories.com/contact-us.php, or a free design consultation at http://www.apropos-conservatories.com/design-consultation. Alternatively, telephone 0800 328 0033.

Bca 2012 Changes – Energy Efficiency – Section J & 6-star

There are only minor changes to the energy efficiency provisions in the newly released BCA 2012, volumes 1 and 2. Mostly the changes are to terminology and explanatory information, intended to clarify several of the provisions. There has been one change to Table J1.3a in Section J which is of particular note; the required R-Value for roof and ceiling construction in climate zones 4 and 5 have been amended to align with climate zones 1, 2 and 3.
See below for a full list of changes.

BCA 2012 Volume 1 “” Section J:

J0.2(a)(ii) – The reference to the 2006 edition of the ABCB Protocol for House Energy Rating Software Version has been removed. The deletion is a consequence of the recognition of NatHERS as the appropriate accreditation scheme for house energy rating software.

Table J1.3a – Climate zones 4 and 5 have been amended to align with climate zones 1, 2 and 3 for the required R-Value for roof and ceiling construction.

Table J1.3b – The table has been expanded to include values for when the minimum R-Value of ceiling insulation required to satisfy J1.3(a) is less than R2.5.

Table J2.4c – The heat shading multiplier figure for climate zone 8 South orientation sector, where the G value is more than 100 mm but not more than 500 mm and has a P/H value of two, has been amended from 0.75 to 0.50.

J5.2(a)(vii) – The specific examples of applications described that could attain an exemption for an outdoor air economy cycle have been replaced with the generic term of ‘process related applications’, with the existing examples now referenced in the Guide to Volume One.

J5.2(b)(ii) – The defined term ‘outdoor air’ has been included in the provision for clarification.

J5.2(b)(iii)(B) – Minimum ventilation requirements when an atmospheric contaminant monitoring system is installed in a carpark have been relocated to the more appropriate location of F4.11(b) and revised to include a more practical control strategy.

J5.2(d)(iv) – A new sub-clause has been included to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from complying with the power for mechanical ventilation requirements of J5.2(b)(iii).

J5.3(b)(iii) – A new sub-clause has been included to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from complying with the time switch requirements of J5.3.

J5.5(b)(iv) – A new sub-clause has been included to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from the miscellaneous exhaust system requirement of J5.5(a).

J6.1 – The application of part has been reinstated to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from compliance with J6.2, J6.3 and J6.5(a)(ii).

Table J6.2a Note – Note 4 to the table has been amended to clarify that a control device which is required by J6.3 is not an allowable adjustment factor under Table J6.2b.

J6.3(d)(ii)(A) – Clarification has been added that a security key card reader must register a person entering and leaving the building.

J8.1 – The application of part has been amended to exempt a Class 8 electricity network substation from compliance with the requirements of Part J8.

Specification J5.4 – Note 2 has been amended to cover applications where local clearances Table 2a adjoining plant do not allow for the installation of insulation.

BCA 2012 Volume 2 “” Part 3.12:

3.12 – A new defined term “house energy rating software” has been included to nominate the acceptable accrediting national scheme for software used to assess the thermal efficiency of a dwelling envelope.

3.12 Explanatory Information – New explanatory information has been included to explain the purpose of the NatHERS scheme.

3.12 – As a consequence of changes to the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme the defined term “Renewable Energy Certificate” has been deleted and replaced by a new defined term ‘Small-scale Technology Certificate’.

3.12.0 Explanatory Information – The explanatory information regarding the two options for complying with 3.12.1 to 3.12.4 has been amended to clarify the delineation between the Energy Rating and the Elemental Provisions options.

3.12.0.1 – Reference to the ABCB Protocol for House Energy Rating Software has been removed. The deletion is a consequence of the recognition of NatHERS as the appropriate accreditation scheme for house energy rating software.

3.12.1.2 Explanatory Information – The explanatory information has been amended to correct the terminology used and to align with the solar absorptance values of Table 3.12.1.1a.

Table 3.12.1.1b – The table has been expanded to include values for when the minimum R-Value of ceiling insulation required to satisfy 3.12.1.2(a) is less than R2.5.

Table 3.12.2.1 Note 2 – Note 2 has been amended to clarify the relationship of ventilation opening area and the presence of ceiling fans or evaporative coolers in determining if a habitable room has High air movement.

Table 3.12.2.1 Explanatory Information – Note 4 of the explanatory information has been simplified to a tabular example demonstrating the relationship of ventilation opening area and the presence of ceiling fans.

3.12.4.1(b)(iii) – The term ‘area of floor’ has been replaced with the defined term “floor area” for consistency with Part 3.8.5 and Part 3.12.2.

Table 3.12.4.1 – The term “area of floor” has been replaced with the defined term ‘floor area’ for consistency with Part 3.8.5 and Part 3.12.2.

3.12.5.5(a)(iii) – Clarification has been added that the lighting provisions for a Class 10a building only apply to Class 10a buildings associated with a Class 1 building.

3.12.5.6(b) – Reference to the defined term “Renewable Energy Certificate” has been deleted and replaced by “Small-scale Technology Certificate” as a consequence of changes made to the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target scheme.

Energy Efficiency And Roof Design

As a roofing contractor in the state of Wisconsin, I continually field requests for light colored (reflective) roofing for the purpose of energy efficiency. A white or light colored roof will reflect sunlight, keep the building cooler, and reduce energy consumptionCorrect?

It depends on where you live and the insulation value of the building.

Most roofing material comes in a variety of colors. EPDM (rubber) membrane, for instance, is a very common low slope roofing material that comes in black or white. In the case of EPDM, the white color is much more expensive. Many consumers will justify spending more on white instead of black EPDM since they believe that there will be energy savings. Asphalt shingles come in a variety of different colors from light to dark. Some shingle manufacturers, such as GAF, have marketed Cool Series asphalt shingles that are designed to be more reflective of sunlight.

Significant studies have been conducted to study the effect of roof color on energy consumption. Heat transfer will occur from the roof into the interior of the building if there is a low level of insulation and resulting low R-Value (thermal resistance). As R-value and thermal resistance increases with better insulation systems, the type and color of roofing material becomes less and less important. In general, an R-value of 30 or more negates any energy efficiency gains from white or light colored roofing material in hot climates. It stands to reason the most effective way to decrease a buildings energy consumption is to increase insulation levels.

There are situations in which the building structure itself cannot be insulated more effectively and a low R-value cannot be avoided. What color of roofing material would be best in this situation? It depends on where you live and the climate. Do you have more heating degree days or cooling degree days? Here in Wisconsin, we definitely have more heating degree days. Therefore, a dark colored roof will help heat interior building spaces and decrease energy consumption over time. In colder climates, dark colored roofs are the most energy efficient. The opposite is true for hot climates. It would be well worth the extra investment in purchasing white roofing material in Southern Florida. Central regions of the United States are considered color-neutral. In these areas, studies have shown that energy efficiency is not impacted by roof color.

With the increase in roofing material choices, it has become increasingly important that roof designers, contractors, and facilities managers consider the right roofing material for the right situation. Reflective roofing has become a knee-jerk reaction for some designers and contractors who do not take climate zones or insulation levels into consideration. Focus should remain on insulation systems and improving insulation value when optimizing energy efficiency. Advances in insulation technology have created opportunities to increase insulation value in almost any circumstance. Spray-on foam insulation and plywood manufactured with imbedded rigid foam insulation have become popular and effective systems to increase R-value in tight spaces.

Every building and every roof system is different. Roof design for energy efficiency must take into consideration climate zone and insulation value. With sufficient insulation, roof color becomes insignificant in the energy efficiency equation.

Improve Your Business Energy Efficiency By Hiring An Energy Broker

As the energy market grows more complex with new regulations, extra fees, and penalties for exceeding energy usage, carbon commitment reductions and prices going up and down all the time. It has never been so hard to keep control of our business energy expenditures which brings to the spotlight the need of hiring an independent energy broker.

Energy brokers are highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals trained to help businesses of all sizes reduce their energy costs by improving their energy efficiency and consequently reducing their carbon footprint.

It is important to notice how energy saving, efficiency and CO2 footprint reduction are all tied up and as afore mentioned an energy broker can help businesses alike improve in all three areas.

Energy brokers can help companies make significant savings in their energy bills, through well informed procurement decisions, by eliminating and recovering overpayments, and by helping those customers manage their energy consumption through consumption data reports, and ongoing invoice analysis.

In most cases energy brokers are not tied to any major supplier that is why they can provide independent advice by analysing a comprehensive panel of suppliers to find the right solution for your business with total transparency.

Transparency is very important to take for granted when hiring these professionals. Look for energy consultancy firms that offer a free procurement service, impartial advice and comparisons. This will ensure that the best available deals are presented to you despite the deals between the suppliers and the energy consultancy firm.

With the threat of global warming and its effects, it is our job to find solutions to this problem. With new carbon reduction regulations coming into place the best way to ensure that your business is in compliance with such regulations is to buy electricity from alternative energy suppliers. Here is when energy brokers come in handy again; they can help your company secure the best deals with renewable energy providers, thus making it easier to use cleaner energy.

The use of green energy will help deter global warming and energy waste as well as boost your company Corporate Social Responsibility.

To sum things up hiring an Energy broker can uncover areas for significant improvement that may not have been previously identified. You know what they say a “fresh pair of eyes” provides an independent and fresh approach to evaluating opportunities that can add value.

Achieving Greater Business Energy Efficiency

A recent article by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy listed 10 programs that spurred organisations and customers to save energy. The findings acutely show that behavioural programs can be especially effective.

Improving energy efficiency is an important topic on the timetable of most organisations these days. The benefits are numerous, from lowering carbon footprint to the most outstanding of all cutting down on costs with energy. So million dollar question is: How to enhance business energy efficiency?

There are many ways to do so but this is not quite what I want to talk about in this column. I wont be propounding you change all the lights in your company to LED lights, even though that is one the most cost effective ways to enhance your business’ energy efficiency.

In this item I’d like to contest what is more effective consumer education or infrastructure updates. One could say that by combining both you could achieve greater results but that you will have to adjudge once you have finished reading this article.

Purchaser education has proven to be an effective way to better energy efficiency of households and businesses alike. When combined with programs that apply social science to energy conservation it can incite individuals to reduce consumption and make choices that will enable their companies to save as well.

Such programmes are an attractive way to reduce energy consumption since they have low initial cost and require little change to existing business processes / lifestyles.

However, simply relying on consumer/employee education might not be adequate. There is a real danger that energy efficiency gains seen from consumer/employee behaviour will go away over time.

That is when infrastructural upgrades come into the picture. Even though they necessitate a greater upfront investment if evaluated properly and done right such upgrades could generate better benefits. The down side is that most of these benefits will only be noticed in the long run.

But there is no better time to start upgrading your business with more energy efficient machinery. With many governments around the globe offering funds to subsidise these changes. For instance here in the UK the Government is creating the Green Investment Bank.

If you are unsure of which route to take in order to save energy. Why not ask for professional help. Hire an energy consultancy or an independent energy broker to inspect your premises and suggest the best and most effective options for you business.

Measuring Energy Efficiency In It Managed And Cloud Services

As environmental issues begin to take center attention in the minds of people and on the agendas of legislature, saving energy has become an important issue facing many companies. For any business that deploys a significant amount of information technology resources, including anything from office computers to servers and data storage, reducing energy consumption while increasing resource efficiency is easier with cloud services.

Cloud services are on-demand, network-available computing resources, programs, and managed services. Also known as virtualization, physical IT resources can be utilized on a subscription or per-use basis through remote hosting. For example, software can be used through a remote provider via a network connection rather than purchasing and installing a local copy or license of that program onto every computer. Data storage can be leased in the same way instead of purchasing and installing more servers.

Cloud services have been recognized as offering many companies flexible, low-cost technology solutions that can be scaled to meet changes in demand effortlessly, all without capital outlays and dedicated support personnel and overhead. Let us examine some specific examples of employing cloud services to both achieve energy efficiency and productivity.

Data Security and Reliability Through Remote Backup Services

The bread and butter of IT resources usually consist of data management and backup, whether it is customer accounts, order histories, or client records. Cloud services can be leveraged to streamline data storage through a single portal and a single location. Most companies end up adding storage capacity over time to accommodate growth, but that creates a lot of disparate data devices that all have to be maintained separately. Virtual data hosting simplifies the entire process.

Virtual data storage services provide a number of benefits for companies of any size. In regards to green IT, virtual data storage is performed on high-performance media that consume less energy and is dynamically scaled to meet demands without waste. Coordinated storage procedures through a single, remote source ensure reliable data backup procedures and easy disaster recovery. All of these features are purchased on an as-needed plan without in-house support departments and overhead.

Managed services for data reliability include procedures compatible with PCI/DDS, Sarbanes-Oxley, and HIPPA in a plug-and-play setup.

Efficient Document and Information Management through Email Archiving

Even companies that are not heavily dependent on data still generate and manage a large volume of emails and electronic documents. Email archiving is performed by nearly every employee in an office, quickly generating hundreds and thousands of data pieces, each managed in small quantities in a different manner by each worker. This quickly creates a situation where important emails are spread out between computer hard drives, backup disks, and network drives and are not easily accessible.

Secure email archiving works to consolidate all of this data and creates effective standards in order to improve accessibility and increase reliability. This data consolidation utilizes high efficiency storage devices to save on costs and energy usage. Email archiving routines will consolidate emails, remove duplicates, and compress data all through remote managed services and internet connections to data centers. Add in retention policies and automated backup sessions and the increased efficiencies translate into saved costs, time, and energy.

Expanding IT Resources with Virtual Infrastructure

In addition to data storage and management, nearly any IT device or infrastructure can be virtualized. Cloud services cover everything from operating system virtualization, such as applications and software, to hardware, like networks, servers, and data centers, to managed services, such as regulatory compliance, industry best practices, and security and reliability procedures.

The power of virtual infrastructure lies in its scalability. Instead of periodic capital outlays for upgrades and expansions, cloud services are matched to current and future needs with instant expansions and reductions in services to follow the business cycle and seasonal operations. This efficiency translates into cutting excess costs and consuming only the minimum amount of energy. In addition, remote managed services create a safety net through redundant systems and backups for quick disaster recovery with a minimal loss in business continuity.

Like a utility provider, customers only pay for what they use without ever having systems running idle. The reductions in power consumption can form the basis of green initiatives that enable companies to rethink mission statements and company values with environmental concerns in mind. Beyond corporate culture, green solutions also carry the potential for securing incentive programs from local and federal governments. In the end, green cloud and managed services allows business to run more efficiently.

Ac Buying Guide-energy Efficiency In Air Conditioning Units

Air conditioners are some of the home appliances that homeowners need to keep their homes comfortable. However, they are also some of the home appliances that raise the energy bills in your home. Buying an energy efficient air conditioning unit is therefore necessary if you want to keep your energy bills at a manageable level and still keep your home cooled. The following is a short buying guide for buying an air conditioner.

First, decide whether a ducted air conditioning unit or a split wall hung air conditioner best suits your home. Ducted air conditioners best suit large houses with multiple rooms. Split systems are best suited for small rooms.

Second, start by looking at your home before going shopping. This will allow you decide what sizing of the air conditioner is required for your home. The sizing of the air conditioning unit doesnt mean its physical size. Rather, it means its capacity in British Thermal Units (BTU). To determine the air conditioner size you will need for your home, there are a number of features to look at. The most basic feature is the size of the rooms. In addition to this; look at the insulation in the rooms, window orientation, number of occupants in each room, artificial lighting and, appliances and furniture in the room among other features.

Third, look at additional components in each air conditioner and how useful they can be in making the air conditioning unit more energy efficient. For example, an air conditioner with a programmable thermostat will enable you set the unit to switch on and off at predetermined times. Most air conditioners with additional components will be on the high end. The best way to determine whether they are worth investing in or not is looking at what value they are adding in terms of reducing the energy consumption of the air conditioning unit.

Fourth, look for alternative air conditioners. Common air conditioners are plugged onto the electricity outlets in the house. Today, there are green air conditioners which are solar powered. These will enable you save on up to half the energy consumption in your home.

Fifth, look at the manufacturers warranties placed on the air conditioners. Like other electrical appliances, an air conditioning unit is prone to ear and tear. The warranty on the parts guarantees that the manufacturer will replace or repair worn out parts within the warranty period. Since the average air conditioner will last between 5 and 20 years, its best to look for an air conditioner with a longer warranty period to ensure that worn out and broken parts are replaced on time ensuring efficiency.

Finally, look at the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio value of the air conditioning unit. A higher value indicates that the air conditioning unit is energy efficient.

Get Datacenter Energy Efficiency Easily

Presently the organizations have been aiming at efficient ways and procedures to attain more with less, reducing IT expenses and even minimize the incidental costs associated with data center growth and expansion. In today’s competitive market scenario data center managers need to focus on establishing effective operating environments to support the life of the existing data centers. There are numerous ways in which companies can attain data center efficiency and is inclusive of setting up a cold aisle containment system, efficient utilization of outside air and maximize compute densities. The main component however is to maintain a comprehensive metric system to evaluate how efficient is the data center and what are the efficiency enhancements that have been created.

How to estimate data center energy efficiency?
PUE, i.e. power usage effectiveness is one of the most common metrics used for calculating data center energy efficiency. It is calculated by taking into account the overall power consumption of the data center facility and then dividing it by the power consumed by the devices. The ratio that you arrive at is the effective power overhead for a single IT unit load. Most data center managers today are expected to find out ways to reduce the PUE so that the data centers can find a better way to expand.

A better way to expand is by partnering with a data center solution provider that will free organizations from all the worries of establishing and maintaining critical mission IT architecture. Advanced data center today fulfill all the needs for cloud computing services, shared hosting services, dedicated hosting services, collocation services and other security and firewall solutions. In addition to that, the organizations remain secure and well supported 24 x 7 with advanced facilities and industry leading SLAS.

Furthermore, these solution providers offer you the various ways to bring about a change and enhancement in data center energy efficiency. Two essential ways are:-

Minimizing the power that is used for the support infrastructure
Minimizing losses within the power system

By following the above mentioned ways you can ensure greater power entering the data center thereby improving its energy efficiency and reducing the PUE. At the same time, it is critical for an organization to bring down the power system losses and the power utilized for supporting infrastructure. Concurrently, it is also apparent that the mass power consumption in the data center gets transferred to the IT load. If an organization can bring down the IT load then it can naturally reduce the overall power required in the data center.

Energy Efficient Furnace

With the 2012 Ontario Building Code deadline calling for homes to be 35% more energy efficient than homes that are built today, new home builders could be faced with the additional cost of installing higher end heating and cooling systems. And new home buyers may be looking at more sophisticated heating and cooling systems that require a higher level of expertise in maintenance and repairs. A practical alternative for both builders and new homebuyers is a bundled rental package that includes a water heater, along with a furnace, air conditioner, air handler or drain water heat recovery system. Since 2003, Reliance Home Comfort has offered bundled rental packages (rental furnaces, air conditioners, water heater and air handler combo systems, indoor air quality products and more) to the existing residential market, and the option has caught on with a growing number of homebuilders. In 2009, over 4,500 homeowners chose to rent their furnace, air conditioner, or system from Reliance. And for the past two years, Reliance Home Comfort has been offering its Comfort Value Bundle Program to the new homes market as well. Builders can choose from three set packages or they can have one that is custom, with any combination of heating and cooling products. One of the more popular bundles is a water heater and air handler rental. Other possible combinations include a water heater with air conditioner, or with air handler.
Reliance provides rental customers with complete peace of mind. We take the risk out of products and services that are essential to our customers lives. And we make it easy and affordable for families to stay comfortable all year long, says Neil Martin, marketing manager for Reliance Home Comfort.
Typically new homebuyers expect the furnace to come with their home and the idea of renting your furnace is a fairly new option. Our Comfort Value Bundle program is becoming a popular choice with customers who value the ability to heat and cool a home for maximum comfort and energy efficiency at the lowest cost.
RAISING AWARENESS
Currently, 96% of Ontario homeowners rent their water heaters. The Comfort Value Bundle Program
is a natural extension of this approach and Reliance Home Comfort is working to raise awareness
about this option amongst GTA homebuilders.
Builders save on capital costs and, depending on the energy efficiency of home comfort products, homeowners can save up to $35 per month on their energy bills.
Rental rates for a high-efficiency gas furnace and an Energy Star water heater is approximately $50 per month probably less than your cable bill, says Larry Brydon, senior account executive for Reliance Home Comfort.
We take the worry out of replacing heating and cooling equipment by paying the capital cost and by providing guaranteed service 24/7/365. And if you sell your home, the equipment is carried on to the
next homeowner, who assumes the rental agreement.
Reliance Home Comforts large network of licensed service technicians are trained to maintain and
repair a variety of products including GSW water heaters, Rinnai tankless water heaters, Venmar heat
recovery ventilators, Goodman furnaces and air conditioners and Power-Pipe drain water heat recovery
systems. Homeowners have live phone support in the event of a breakdown, as well as 100% coverage
on all parts and labour. One of such licensed contractors of Reliance is ACfurnaceGTA.ca (division of Air Efficiency Corp.) doing the quality installation of all Reliance HVAC equipment.
Were seeing a lot of interest now, especially since the Energy Star and LEED programs in the new homes market, Brydon says. Energy Star for New Homes is a proven program aimed at building homes that consume less energy, on average about 25% less than a home built to minimum Ontario Building Code standards.
The LEED Canada for Homes program goes beyond Energy Star for New Homes by pushing energy efficiency even further, and offering higher standards for clean air and less water use.
There is a big uptake on products offered as part of Reliances Comfort Value Bundle Program with first-time purchasers who are young and eco savvy, as well as retirees, who are socially responsible and are concerned about ongoing operating costs, says Brydon.

How Cooling Systems Can Improve Your Energy Efficiency

The business case for energy efficiency is a powerful one. At the end of 2010, the Carbon Trust reported that the average return on investment of energy-efficiency projects carried out in commercial premises is 48%. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that to invest in sustainability is to save money.

But while the UK government is supporting carbon reduction by introducing grants and green initiatives, these have done little more than skew people’s perception of what represents an energy saving. With heavy focus applied to insulation and heating, cooling strategies have been left rather more out in the cold.

The hot topic

The government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was announced in March 2011 to drastically alter the way heat is generated and used in buildings and homes. Britain’s largest energy users are required by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme to start lowering carbon emissions so will naturally be enticed by such offers. But incentives like the RHI fail to acknowledge that when a commercial building is designed, the crowds of people and electrical appliances that then occupy it are not taken into account.

Human bodies and devices such as computers, printers, coffee makers, toasters and refrigerators generate an exceptional amount of heat and cause room temperatures to dramatically increase. So, instead of heating, most commercial buildings need to bring temperatures down in order to maintain a comfortable environment and maintain staff productivity.

Office cooling, namely air conditioning, represents a huge energy burden, and can increase a building’s emissions by 100%, according to Carbon Trust research. So, to use it on a daily basis yet take a grant to invest in heating and insulation is a notion most people would surely see as perverse.

The reality of air conditioning is that, despite its widespread use, the energy it consumes often goes to waste. Realistically, without tackling this problem it is unlikely than any commercial building will be able to create a truly energy-efficient environment, no matter how much government grant money it is awarded.

Here comes the sun

As we all know, when the sun comes out in the UK, it is met with something resembling blind panic. Whether in the heights of summer or the depths of winter, sunshine causes heat to build up through unprotected glass windows. These windows then get thrown open to create a through draft, or in colder months, blinds will be snapped shut to block out the sun’s glare, meaning that lights have to be switched on. Either way, this behaviour ends up negating the effect of air conditioning, causing wildly fluctuating internal temperatures and eating up a large, unnecessary supply of heat and energy.

Such widespread and basic energy wastage should not be allowed to continue. Maintaining stable internal temperatures requires more than efficient heating and insulation; businesses need a cooling solution that minimises air conditioning, allows natural light to enter the building and helps to block out heat, rather than trap it within the building. One of the most simple and most cost-effective solutions that can deliver all of these benefits is one you may not have heard of: solar-control window film.

By rejecting up to 82% of solar energy, window film can reduce internal temperatures by up to ten degrees. This stops air conditioning units from being maxed out during sunny spells, meaning that internal temperatures are kept stable and extreme peaks in energy usage are reduced.

Cooling systems can therefore be run more efficiently and inexpensively, reducing a building’s cooling load by 30%, or roughly 5% of the energy bill. If window film were taken into consideration during the design stages of a new building, savings would be greater still as businesses would reduce cooling requirements from the outset; using smaller, cheaper air conditioning units that are easier to install and maintain. In plain English, this could mean thousands of pounds in savings to many UK firms.

Love in a cold climate

With budgets being squeezed and such significant carbon reductions to be made, the heat is on for UK businesses to find meaningful ways to lower emissions. It is the responsibility of our government to steer them in the right direction. Improved insulation and heating is, without doubt, an effective means of preventing energy waste, but without considering the likely effects of over-heating, businesses are in danger of missing the bigger picture.

While most UK businesses will currently look to insulation as their first port of call for energy savings, more vocal support for solutions such as window film by government schemes and incentives, would show these companies that such measures are just the tip of the iceberg.