By 2030, all new commercial buildings built in California will be expected to be zero energy and 50% of existing buildings will have had retrofits and upgrades to bring them up to zero net energy (ZNE) standards. If you are the owner or facility manager of a business in California, 2030 may feel a little closer than you would like it to be. While it is an ambitious, important goal for lawmakers to make, the people who will make it a reality is…you.
How will you get facility up to a ZNE building level? This standard requires buildings to renew, on-site, as much or more energy that it takes it in from an off-site source. Considering how much a building consumes in just HVAC and lighting, it is daunting task to take an entire building “off the grid” so to speak. But, there are a growing numbers of companies that have achieved this goal.
To meet the 2030 standards for an existing building, companies need to start making smaller changes now. You do not have to retrofit and upgrade your entire building at one time or construct a completely new building in order to take a big step towards zero net energy. Here is how we help clients begin the process to reducing their energy use.
1. Know How Much Energy Your Building Use
Like any good strategy, you must set a goal first and in order to do that, you need to have a benchmark. While most companies retain information about their energy consumption, a good audit can reveal challenges and opportunities you may not have considered. At Emilygrene Corp., we have a focus on helping company leaders understand the financial implications and costs of their current energy use and how to make a financially smart decision when it comes to retrofitting and purchasing new technology for greater energy efficiency.
2. Find the Easy Fixes
The data collected during the energy audit paired with a thorough inspection of the facility reveals the easy fixes, or those things that a company can do quickly to reduce their energy cost. This may be retrofitting old light fixtures for new LED technologies or replacing parts in an older HVAC system. It can also be as simple as changing the way you are managing your energy use through automation and controls.
3. Tackle the Project in Phases
While we sometimes renovate an entire facility to increase the energy efficiency of the facility as much as possible, it is more common for us to work on smaller projects over a longer period of time. We help our clients prioritize which projects can be done within budget and still have the biggest impact on their utility costs. This can help offset the initial investment of new clean energy technology.
4. Keep Auditing and Improving
While we start with an intensive energy audit, the audit should not be a one-time thing. We encourage our clients to continuously audit their energy use and improve. There are always small things that you can do within your automation and control systems, preventative maintenance processes, and company culture to increase your energy efficiency. We help our clients know what to watch and work with them to help monitor and improve their systems.
Make ZNE Your 2030 Goal
If you want your facility to be one of the 50% or more ZNE buildings in California in 2030, we applaud your goal and are ready to help you achieve it. Contact us today to start your audit and plan for achieving ZNE status.