Why is NOW the time to ‘go green’?
Global warming has been a hot topic for decades, but in recent years it has rightly received far more attention.
We are increasingly being encouraged to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.Scientists have suggested that, “even with more ambitious emissions cuts from some countries, warming is still on track for more than 2 degrees Celsius”. However,a rise of over 1.5 degrees Celsius would have a devastating impact on our planet, leading to an increase in droughts and hunger. The warmer seas would destroy coral reefs, and the rising sea levels would flood vast swathes of coastal areas, threatening millions of people. ‘Freak storms’ would also become more commonplace. At COP26 in 2021, the Glasgow Climate Pact set new ambitious targets to ensure we limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, but this requires near-global net zero.
However, this is not the only issue. Recently, we have seen rapid rises in energy prices with fuel poverty becoming a reality for many. Households have seen a 54% rise in the energy cap this month while businesses have been struggling with escalating energy prices for the last few months. This has come at the same time as businesses try to recover from the pandemic. Combined with the increased financial pressures from the rise in the cost of living, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many people and businesses are now taking a serious look at improving their energy efficiency.
But what measures can you take?
Energy saving measures
Solar Panels - Solar panels have been around for many years and have become a far more common sight. These can provide both electricity and hot water and are a great option where there is a roof space facing between South West and South East. While they can seem expensive to install, they save you money on your bills and offer long term savings.
Insulation – Insulating your building is a simple way to improve energy efficiency. For example, your building might benefit from additional insulation in roof spaces. However, you need to strike a careful balance. Too much insulation and you could find your building overheating in the summer months.
Controls – There are various forms of controls which can help you make your business more energy efficient. For example, a timer can control when the heating is switched on and off. In offices, a control can switch off lights when no one is using the office and these can help to reduce your energy use.
LED lamps – Perhaps one of the simplest measures you can take is ensuring you replace all lights with LED lamps. These not only useless energy than fluorescent or GLS bulbs but also last longer and, therefore,offer you two cost savings.
Air source heat pumps – The government’s preferred option is to get us to replace gas boilers with air source heat pumps as they are far more efficient. Whilst these are more expensive, especially with electricity currently costing three times the price of gas, there are various grants available to help with the cost. It’s also highly likely that the government will move to reduce the cost of electricity and increase the cost of gas and oil in the coming years. It’s worth noting too, that the government has already banned the use of gas and oil boilers in new homes from 2025. More bans will probably follow, leaving businesses with little choice but to install a heat pump.
Going green, efficiently
With energy saving measures such as solar panels,insulation, and air source ground pumps, it’s crucial to seek advice from professionals. While there might be many companies willing to sell you these products, that doesn’t mean they will offer energy efficiency for your buildings. There are many factors that need to be considered and the right balance must be found to ensure you install energy efficiency measures effectively and reap the maximum cost and energy savings.
The only way to achieve this is by working with experts who can model how energy behaves in your specific building, as no two buildings are alike. To discover how we can help you develop energy efficiency in your buildings,please get in touch with the Green Building Design team.