Commercial Buildings: Our Country’s Biggest Energy Eater

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There is one type of building in our country that wins in energy consumption—or rather, loses in energy efficiency. This type of building uses more of our country’s energy than all of the cars, trains, and planes combined. The culprits are commercial buildings, which claim 20% of the total energy usage in our country.

While many companies sit back and watch their buildings drain our country’s energy, others realize that a large portion of this energy can be saved through a few adjustments. With energy efficient designs, systems, and operation, commercial buildings can save energy and save themselves money. Many energy efficiency programs offer incentives for these companies. The incentives target areas such as lighting, ventilation, heating, and air conditioning. While these are all important measures, a new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) finds that the building must be viewed as a whole, rather than in pieces.

Dolphin uses this approach when we seal your home. We view your home as a whole system — one single unit — which we insulate and air seal to tighten your entire home. The ACEEE finds that this approach is also necessary for commercial retrofits, or commercial buildings that are already built.

The ACEEE finds that in order to upgrade commercial buildings to the next step of energy efficiency, the building must be viewed as a set of sub-systems that interact to create the whole building. When each sub-system is improved, then the building as a whole will be more energy efficient.

The new report from the ACEEE reviewed more than 25 programs across the country, and found what works and what does not. From this research, they recommended some pathways for energy efficient programs to follow in order to maximize each program’s outcome.

First of all, this research concluded that the interest to make commercial buildings more energy efficient is high. The leading energy programs offer monetary incentives, along with effective support. The most successful programs are the ones that help their customers save, figure out how to fund their energy efficient upgrades, provide any technical assistance, and continue this support as energy efficiency progresses.

This study found that companies respond to hard numbers. New technologies are constantly revolutionizing energy efficiency. Now, these commercial buildings can look at real-time energy-use data to track their usage. The data examines the whole building and can identify and prioritize the places that need energy upgrades.

The energy efficiency programs not only apply for larger commercial buildings, but also target smaller buildings such as restaurants, warehouses, and other smaller-scale commercial properties. Many of these smaller places are always looking to edge out the competition, and are therefore good candidates for program incentives.

Commercial building upgrades line up perfectly with any company’s goals: to ensure health, safety, comfort, productivity, and savings. These goals can all be reached when we view at the building as a whole, rather than trying to fix a few pieces.

Dolphin’s approach mirrors the ACEEE’s findings on commercial buildings. By taking your whole home into consideration, we do not leave any pieces behind. We complete the entire puzzle rather than stopping with the edge pieces. Your home is one unit, and works best when it functions as one. Let Dolphin take care of your home—your whole home.