Keys to more energy efficient buildings for corporations

March 22, 2012

Many companies recognize that smarter use of energy and more efficient practices for their business can help to boost their bottom line, and this has led to an adoption of more structures that are green and sustainable, according to Green Biz.

The news source reported that a new study by Johnson Controls has identified ways for companies to adopt and build more energy efficient buildings, but it also outlined how this move has to occur in an organized way to prevent failure.

Johnson Controls set up the Institute for Building Efficiency, which helps to analyze issues and identify barriers that surround the sector, as commercial buildings in America become more energy efficient. Jennifer Layke, the director of the institute, outlined several key ideas that companies need to focus on to succeed in energy management.

She noted that businesses need to set a reduction goal, analyze data concerning energy consumption frequently, add external or internal personnel to oversee the effort and access external financing in order to complete a project.

Layke cited the institute's study of 4,000 firms from around the world and noted that companies that analyzed energy usage frequently were able to net more savings in their new projects than firms that only did sporadic checks, according to Green Biz.

"What this tells us is that we need to add resources that will help us approach budget issues differently in energy-efficiency goals," Layke said. "The way they think of the budget and goals will influence their success."

The Globe and Mail reported that another key to maximizing energy efficiency for buildings was for companies to consider a retrofit project, as opposed to tearing the building down completely.

According to the news outlet, the buildings that are able to add technology like perforated metal panels to buildings, to control solar heat, were often the ones that were able to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

This type of retrofitting push is part of what the U.S. Department of Energy's designated innovation HUB for the energy efficient buildings sector is trying to increase.

Known as the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC), the DOE-designated effort is looking to transform the building stock of the Greater Philadelphia region.

Through a series of retrofit projects and energy efficient research and development, the GPIC is looking to establish the region as the epicenter for research in the sector, along with using it as a model for efficiency for the whole country.