Canada’s approach to energy use and management is changing, with energy costs and environmental mandates soon affecting all condo residents. Now is the time to consider solutions before reducing our carbon footprint is no longer optional as our country intensifies its efforts to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions.
Anyone can throw money at the problem and replace older equipment. This is fast, expensive and a slow way to reduce energy costs. The smarter approach is to understand where energy waste is occurring and then reduce this waste. This requires data gathering, some of which will soon be mandated for high-rise communities. It requires metering and other technologies. These efforts will aid communities to more easily identify the more obvious energy leaks so they can quickly be plugged.
Retrofits, replacing outdated equipment such as lighting, is often the first step to reducing energy costs and curtailing carbon emissions. While there are times this is necessary, some projects are expensive and poorly considered.
To be clear, replacing older equipment is part of an effective approach. Any energy use assessment should consider replacement but only as part of a comprehensive strategy to meet long-term energy efficiency goals. Equally important is the proper operation of equipment, and ensuring systems work together so time and money is not wasted.
Every building generates an enormous amount of data that tells everything you want to know about current energy management, reducing carbon emissions and cost control. Not everyone is prepared to gather this information and listen to it.
Smart technology is the way to reduce energy waste, carbon emissions and operational costs. It allows existing equipment settings to be adjusted for optimal use while providing insights into a building’s heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) system. Automation of this system increases the performance from existing equipment and reduces carbon emissions more efficiently than unnecessary replacement of older equipment. Understanding energy use patterns of a building, and adjusting individual equipment to match these patterns is the beginning of continuous improvements that offer longer term benefits. Data that is gathered offers clearer direction on what measures are necessary for improving resident comfort and efficiency while meeting carbon reduction targets.
A smart building with integrated systems can produce savings of up to 50 percent over inefficiently-managed systems. The technology can be installed alongside existing equipment and paid for by the financial savings it delivers.