Reduction of operating costs

Posted On Tuesday, 29 July 2003 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Constantly rising energy costs are a certainty for landlords and tenants, yet a number of measures can be taken to reduce operating costs without degrading the quality of a building, its facilities or the daily life of its occupants, says Richard Murphy, head of facilities management at Old Mutual Properties.

Property-Housing-ResidentialA key starting point is an assessment of electricity bills, which can give a detailed history of the energy performance of a building. That history, coupled with use of an energymanagement philosophy and reference to a comprehensive facilities management database, will give pointers to where steps can be taken to reduce costs, he says.

Murphy says that potential savings exist in the type of lighting, airconditioning equipment and even the size of computer screens.

Cost reductions from 10% to 25% in power usage are achievable, particularly with power-factor correction equipment in buildings on maximum-demand tariffs.

However, harmonic voltages that distort the system have detrimental effects on power-factor correction equipment, he cautions.

Murphy says water management whether for heating via a heat pump, cooling or cleansing is another important focus, particularly with forced savings measures likely in drought-stricken areas.

He says one way to save is to install the new technology applicable to lighting.

With fluorescent lighting, highly efficient tubes use 15% to 17% less power, which would result in lower operating costs.

"While lighting requirements can be precisely met, airconditioning systems in office blocks present key challenges."

Air-conditioning consumption accounts for 50% to 55% of total power used in a building, but between 15% and 20% of the airconditioning consumption can be saved through a combination of measures, says Murphy.

These include high co-efficientof-performance machines, electronic variable speed drives and primary/secondary pumping in the chilled-water system.

Murphy says power saving is also being achieved through innovative management of lifts and escalators. Escalators can be controlled to respond to traffic peaks and can be switched off or slowed down at times of low usage.

Similarly, lifts are able to respond to artificial intelligence that optimises usage.

Murphy says an effective energy management philosophy should include an assessment of tenant loads, such as large-screen computers that have high starting currents on switch-on.

"Controlling the fresh air entering the building is also an effective way of managing energy use in summer and winter," he says.



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