Depending on the size and type of your office, shop or site, mechanical heating and cooling can cause significant costs and emissions. The carbon footprint of heating a space can be particularly bad as it often relies on gas or other fossil fuel powered generators. Reducing your demand for heating will therefore not only save money but can help decarbonise your operations substantially.
There are two major ways to reduce your heating demand: Improvements to your building/unit/office and behaviour change.
Improvement to your building/unit can be as little or as big as they need to be. Some of it will have to be done by the owner of the building, some of it can be done by tenants.
Potential improvements could include:
Insulation is particularly effective in a loft or roof touching ceilings. But also on/in walls facing outside or unheated spaces such as sheds or storage spaces that feel very cold to the touch could benefit from an insulation layer. This will also improve the comfort of your space and help prevent overheating.
Installing more energy efficient windows will not only reduce drafts and save you the need to heat, but also improve the comfort of your space. New windows could also help prevent overheating in the summer and block out outside noise. When replacing them also think about your need for manual ventilation, i.e. do you want windows to be opened by the users of the space or do you rely on building services to ensure the right ventilation?
Upgrade mechanical heating system
Experts can help you to identify the most efficient system for your needs. It might be a good idea to combine heating and cooling in an efficient air conditioning system. Also a ground or air source heat pump or other renewable energy systems might be an option.
If you’re just starting to plan a new office or site, ask your planners to keep energy efficiency at the forefront of their mind: Creating more compact spaces, avoiding unnecessarily large windows, making use of thermal mass and renewable energy sources can all be aspects your planners include in their designs for new or refurbished buildings.
Fostering the right behaviour in your staff, members or even customers will help you safe energy and money.
Tips for reducing your heating demand include:
- Set the thermostat to a lower temperature: Every degree less will save energy and money. Control the heating centrally, so that staff can’t change it randomly. Work with your staff to find ways to make your space comfortable for everyone. Maybe some members of staff would be better seated by the heater or the window, whilst others could be happy to put on a jumper.
- Keep doors and windows shut: Control your ventilation either by using a mechanical ventilation system or briefing your staff correctly. Short but intense spurs of ventilation are more effective than keeping windows and doors open, when it’s cold outside.
‘Close the Door’ is a campaign that provides advice for retailers.