Energy efficiency in buildings and facilities is an engineering initiative for effective energy use. Energy efficiency engineering results in building comfort and cost-effectiveness. Other benefits of designing energy-efficient buildings include better environmental control, health and safety, an increase in air quality, and materials and equipment that last longer due to the efficiency of systems and processes.
Energy Efficiency Engineering
Energy efficiency engineering involves elements of facility management, materials, and environmental science, and recyclable and renewable energy, all integral in the development and design of energy-efficient buildings and facilities.
Building site, wall materials, and the type of roofing can contribute to the way thermal energy is managed. Typical roofing materials absorb heat and radiate thermal energy throughout buildings. High cooling demands result from the quality of windows and how they manage heat gains and thermal loss depending on outside ambient temperatures.
Significant thermal energy can flow through these materials by infiltration or conduction, and result in increased energy use as facility managers try to continuously cool buildings.
Ventilation, heating, cooling designs
Cooling a building and sustaining the environmental comfort during hot summer days, or keeping buildings warm during cold winters, require a great deal of energy. Building ventilation, heating, and cooling remain a significant operational cost that burdens energy efficiency engineers and facility managers.
Improperly insulated or leaking heating or cooling ducts can severely affect the energy consumption, efficiency, and health of HVAC systems. Moisture infiltration through building shells and walls can degrade the effectiveness of HVAC systems to remove moisture, replace exhausted air, and cool incoming outdoor air, causing the system to use more energy.
Energy management system
Comprehensive controls and building automation ensure effective use of lighting, HVAC, and energy recovery systems. Building automation allows facility managers to identify unseen problems, address anomalies and efficiency issues, and further optimize equipment performance.
Building automation lessens continuous burdens on building systems by only requiring their use when needed, resulting in efficient operations and longer-lasting equipment. The appropriate building automation allows full integration of building systems and can avoid costly repairs and facility downtime.
9 Energy Efficiency Engineering Tips
Developing building designs and identifying ventilation, heating, and cooling requirements can be a daunting task. Implementing building systems and making them work together efficiently can be even more challenging.
However, energy efficiency engineers and facility managers alike know the importance of fundamental building efficiency techniques. They follow true and tested practices in energy-efficient building and HVAC system designs. They continually evaluate and try to adapt to advanced materials and new techniques that improve energy efficiency, seeking out emerging technologies that can bring added value.
The following tips provide insights and beneficial applications for energy-efficient building, ventilation, heating, and cooling designs, and engineering.
Energy efficiency engineering tips for building design:
- Choose types of roofing with materials and colors that reflect sunlight and radiate heat away from the building.
- Incorporate advanced roofing systems that are designed to help reduce cooling loads and cut heat areas, engineered to be more durable to sunlight and last longer than common materials, and can reduce the amount of energy used to cool and maintain buildings.
- Choose wall materials that are engineered to be lightweight, offer high insulation values, and effectively manage thermal radiation.
- Incorporate advanced windows with higher insulating values that reduce glare, can manage visible and infrared light for the building’s benefit, and minimizes heat gains and infiltration.
- Locate windows and skylights in places that take advantage of natural light, but can reduce glare and manage thermal radiation.
- Use energy-efficient lighting to supplement natural light during the daytime and provide adequate lighting at night without high energy demands.
- Incorporate water and energy recovery systems and use them to supplement heating, cooling, or insulation needs.
- Design buildings to take advantage of controlled natural ventilation, whether it is engineered at building completion or for future use to supplement ventilation demands.
- Energy efficiency engineering tips for ventilation, heating, cooling designs:
- Use controlled natural ventilation wherever possible
- Regularly maintain heating and cooling ducts to make sure their function is not hindered by dirt and debris
- Reduce leaks in cooling and heating ducts with effective insulation
- Reduce moisture infiltration with the use of advanced membrane technologies that naturally separate moisture from the air without the use of heat pumps
- Incorporate efficient thermal storage systems or chiller systems that cool buildings early in the morning when the outside temperature is at its’ lowest and provide readily available, adequate, and efficient cooling and ventilation when outside temperature increases
- Use advanced sensors and controls systems to provide ventilation, heating, or cooling only where and when it’s needed
Energy Management Systems from MACC
Ultimately, the energy efficiency of buildings and facilities relies on comprehensive designs and solutions coupled with the appropriate energy management systems.
Comprehensive building management systems – such as building automation, access control, and energy management – help improve the building environment, comfort, energy efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. MACC can provide an energy management system that improves efficiency and decreases energy costs.
If you need assistance with developing an energy-efficient building and you’re interested in automating your building systems, let MACC offer decades of experience in energy management solutions.