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How to Reduce Energy Usage in Unoccupied Buildings

The office as we know it has been completely changed. As COVID-19 swept across the world it has given employers a lot to think about. As well as those in the hospitality industry. This has led to a dramatic rise in the number of unoccupied commercial properties throughout Ireland and the UK. And as more workers will be working from home, businesses will be considering whether to rent out an office at all, maybe they will go for a temporary office like WeWork. Either way, the need to cut down on energy costs in commercial properties is becoming even more relevant than before.

Unnecessary energy usage hurts financially and environmentally

You would be surprised at how much energy is being used when a building is unoccupied. I think we’re all guilty of leaving a computer on in the office overnight. However, that computer can end up costing an extra €50 per year, multiply that by how many other people have left their computers on overnight and you could have an unnecessarily, costly energy bill at the end of the month.

A study by the Alliance to Save Energy in 2009 revealed that US workers waste $2.8 billion every year by leaving their computers on overnight. Not only that, but it can add up to 20 million tons of CO2 being put into the earth’s atmosphere every year.

5 Ways to Lower Energy Costs in your Commercial Building

1. Have an Unoccupied Policy in place

Energy levels can be reduced significantly during this time. With little to no occupants, energy thermostats need to be adjusted but into an energy-saving mode. There needs to be a long-term policy in place that is put into action when a property is vacant, be it during a pandemic or otherwise and making sure there’s someone there to implement it, like a facilities manager

2. Computers, Photocopiers and Printers

Switching off your computer or switching on all the standby features during closed hours can dramatically reduce the running costs from around €50 to under €10 per year. The same goes for printers. Switching them off at the end of the day and only switching them on when required can greatly reduce energy usage. As printers are used less and less in the workplace, they don’t need to be left on throughout the day.

3. Switch off lights and replace old ones

Not only do LEDs last longer and are better for the environment, but they also contribute to saving significant amounts of money. Switching from the traditional halogen to LED can cut lighting costs by up to 80%.

4. Heating

Turn it off when the building is unoccupied and turn the temperature down when you need to have it on. A slight increase of 2°C results in significantly more CO2 released. Turning the heating down by 1°C can result in at least 10% off your heating bill

5. Measure your energy usage

One of the best things you can do is: make it easier to measure your energy usage. Take the guessing out of it. Once you start measuring your energy usage you can then start to improve it. That’s where ZiggyTec comes in. Our smart IoT technology and cutting-edge live platform make it easier to keep track of your utility usage. Including; water, gas, electricity, CO2 and temperature. Our platform also makes it easy to spot any energy spikes or leaks that would otherwise go unnoticed.

In conclusion, COVID-19 has given us plenty of food for thought about what the future will bring. One positive to come from it is: that the CO2 levels have dropped and the environment has had a little bit of time to recover. However, we need to still consider what we can do to keep improving sustainability and energy usage is a key factor that everyone can help with. From homes to offices all over the world.

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