Energy efficient buildings

June 2008 Integrated Solutions

It has been verified that energy efficient buildings do not only save you money, but also provide an environment that promotes dramatically improved human productivity and performance.

A recent study in the US revealed that students with more daylight in the lecture room performed 20% better in mathematics and 26% better in reading comprehension than those in uncomfortable classrooms with limited or no daylight. That said, not every room can have daylight, but the study also indicated that improving the environmental conditions and making it more interesting too, had significant impacts on human performance.

Preparing your environment

Through efficient use of natural resources, a more profitable, productive and 'power-friendly' environment can be created.

However, it is not just about installing windows in classrooms and offices. To be able to address energy efficiency holistically, organisations need to adopt a strategy that explores all aspects of their energy consumption. Enter automated building management solutions. Automating energy consumption through a centralised energy efficiency solution that is able to intelligently monitor and control environmental conditions, removes the need for arduous manual execution.

Looking merely at relying on somebody to switch off the lights after everyone has left the room is not going to do the trick. To err is human. Alternatively, cobbling together a system of disparate solutions that do not provide an overall view of what is being conserved, will never give the user a clear idea of how much is being improved on the bottom line.

Making the commitment

When one takes the first step and commits, through understanding the impact and opportunity energy efficiency has on a business, it becomes the cheapest and cleanest way to extend the energy supply.

Heating and cooling systems usually operate extremely inefficiently and the excess energy can often be channelled for use in other areas. For example, a system that can automatically manage HVAC and lighting, heating of geysers and possibly even the heating of the campus swimming pool with optimum energy consumption, screams efficiency. Designing buildings to produce better natural daylight is another example of improving the environment, while minimising the demand for electricity. Furthermore, managing lighting on a time-scheduled and motion basis will promote additional efficiency.

It has been proven that through the inclusion of energy and power management, HVAC, lighting and even CCTV and access control systems, in an integrated building solution, businesses can yield up to 50% in energy savings. Translated into rands and cents, that is big money on the bottom line, and it is money that can be used elsewhere for improved services and upgrades.

One such project is the GreenPoint Stadium. The consulting company adopted an intelligent approach to its systems and with partners we are assisting in developing and deploying an integrated building management solution, which will dramatically improve the stadium's energy demand.

Once the commitment has been made, the sky is the limit. Technology should be used as an enabler, allowing supply and demand to be automated by making better use of HVAC, lighting and security (through software integration) to directly improve efficiencies.

It is, however, not just about energy efficiency. Businesses and institutions have a responsibility to their customers, employees, students and stakeholders to provide better services at the optimum operating costs, while continually looking for ways to improve.

Deploying a building management system that is based on open, IT-friendly standards promotes integration between environmental saving factors as well as security and facilities management. Going green is a business decision that can save companies millions in the long run, and the long-term gains far outweigh the initial installation costs.

For more information contact Schneider Electric South Africa, +27 (0)11 254 6400,,

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