Energy efficiency has become more than merely a buzzword in corporate England. The climate crisis has grown in size and dimension, with tangible consequences in the form of unstable weather patterns beginning to impact Europe more heavily. The government has sought to hasten its progress to a net-zero society, a multi-faceted endeavour that requires co-operation from – and legislation of – businesses as well as individuals.
For many administrative or corporate offices, the biggest energy outlay comes from the premises themselves. If you were to attempt to increase the energy efficiency of your corporate headquarters, where would you start?
The single most impactful intervention you can make with premises of any size is to address insulation – whether by installation or replacement. Brick-and-mortar premises can benefit from cavity wall insulation to greatly reduce the amount of heat lost through the walls, while using roof insulation in corporate buildings mitigates heat loss through convection. Modern glass-forward buildings are not as simple to insulate, though, and require different solutions.
Larger commercial premises and skyscrapers commonly utilise cladding to improve the insulative qualities of the external walls. Cladding has been a contentious topic recently, owing to the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy in which external cladding accelerated the spread of a tower block fire that would claim 72 lives. Inquiries remain ongoing, but the cladding products that remain on the market are much safer – and can have overwhelmingly positive impacts on corporate energy usage.
Windows – Internal and External
Windows have been mentioned in passing already, in describing the insulation challenges facing new buildings. But there is a more direct approach to ensuring heat loss is mitigated in your commercial building: installing double- or even triple-glazed windows.
This is also true for internal spaces such as offices and department areas, which are often designated via glass walls and partitions. By using double-glazed windows for these partitions, you can minimise the passage of heat through them and ensure internal areas remain warm over time.
Renewable Energy Solutions
Depending on the size of your commercial premises, you may be able to weaponise renewable energy, and cut your grid reliance in the process. Whether you have roof access or a wide area of unused land, you could install solar panels and harvest electricity passively through the day.
This electricity can naturally be used to supply your building and reduce – or even completely replace – your grid electricity usage. Any additional energy harvested can be sold by re-supplying the National Grid, which can subsidise costs while subsidising your carbon footprint.
Lastly, there are technological advancements which can be used to better control your energy reliance and expenditure throughout a given week. You could replace the manual or semi-automatic controls of your office air conditioning and heating systems with smart thermostat controls. These can enable remote access to all areas of your building, and automatically control temperature according to movement of staff throughout the building.