The Biggest Sources of Energy Loss in Old Commercial Buildings
Those who own old commercial buildings tend to struggle with energy loss. These structures weren’t exactly built with efficiency in mind, especially when compared to new architecture. Property managers need to tackle this issue to save money and prioritize sustainability. Here’s where to identify energy loss in old commercial buildings. Knowledge is power, and learning what to look for can help property owners save money and the planet.
1. Faulty Electrical Wires
Faulty electrical systems can impact efficiency. These issues tend to be more evident in old buildings because many electricians have likely addressed concerns over several years. People probably used different techniques and materials to fix a single problem.
Elements like outdated cables and discontinued products lead to fire hazards and broken appliances. There’s a connection between failed electrical wires and poor energy usage, as well. Today’s workforces require more electricity. If they put too much pressure on old electrical systems, they’ll see increased energy loss.
The best solution is to replace everything electrical in old buildings. These systems can date back to before 1940, which means night-and-day differences between previous standards and current needs. Eighty years ago, businesses wired properties to accommodate much less energy usage.
2. Weakened Structural Components
There are issues surrounding building envelopes, as well. The structural components, including windows, doors, siding, insulation and foundations, all contribute to energy loss. It’s no secret that properties deteriorate over time despite proper maintenance. This damage creates cracks, holes and other openings that allow energy to escape.
Attempts to decrease energy consumption won’t be successful unless structural components receive attention. It’s usually necessary to fully replace such elements, especially regarding aging roofs. This investment will pay off, as businesses without a tight building envelope won’t be able to mitigate any energy loss — despite other efforts.
3. Incandescent Light Fixtures
It wasn’t until recently that LED lightbulbs became a better option than incandescents. This innovation doesn’t waste as much energy and allows for a cheaper utility bill. There are usually outdated light fixtures in old buildings, so owners should consider upgrades.
While LEDs can be a bit more expensive initially, they still serve as a more affordable choice as time progresses. As businesses prevent energy loss, their monthly costs will decrease. These lightbulbs essentially pay for themselves. Plus, they last a long time before they need a replacement.
4. Windows and Entrances
Unsurprisingly, any opening in the building envelope leaves the structure susceptible to energy loss. This can be especially problematic in older buildings, where aging windows and doors likely lack the energy-efficiency technology of modern options. Window glass, for example, can now be treated with specialty coatings to filter up to 70 percent of infrared heat wavelengths without blocking light transmission.
Building managers can take strides to update doors and windows to meet modern energy-efficiency standards. Treated, double- or triple-paned glass can better manage heat loss throughout the year. Window frames and doors that are airtight can reduce the flow of heat through cracks. Even just adding insulation here can help stem this issue in cold months.
5. Leaky HVAC Systems
The HVAC systems in old buildings should be examined immediately after building envelopes. If they aren’t optimized, they can create opportunities for energy loss. Consider that years-old HVAC systems aren’t up to par with modern innovations. Those with old ductwork and fans can waste energy in different ways.
Property managers must fix HVAC systems to use energy responsibly. They need to ensure vents are sealed, blowers stay aligned and more. Tests conducted through infrared technology will help owners find blindspots. They can then determine whether repairs or replacements are needed.
6. Wasteful Power Sources
The U.S. has used fossil fuels for energy for decades. It’s common for old buildings to rely on sources like coal and oil for power. These nonrenewables negatively affect Earth and make it more challenging to achieve energy efficiency. That’s why property managers need to consider switching to alternatives, including solar, wind and geothermal.
These sources produce energy in a way that allows for less consumption overall. Take solar as an example. Those who install solar panels always have access to power, so they don’t have to rely on a generator. Plus, they can store excess energy for later — and exchange extra power for credits on their utility bills.
Anyone who wants to mitigate energy loss should think about fossil fuel replacements. Rather than continue to use coal- or oil-based power, they might want to switch to renewable alternatives. This way, they should be able to save money and energy while contributing to a better environment.
Consider These Points to Manage Energy Loss Issues
Those who own old commercial buildings should consider where they can save energy. These properties tend to waste power due to weak structural components, outdated lightbulbs and everything in between. Improvements will ensure businesses spend less money and support a healthier planet.