The 3 R’s of energy waste: Reduce, Recycle, Report

Recycling is part of our lives from the moment we’re born. Plastic goes into one bin, while green waste goes into another. Old clothes are donated, and shopping bags are reused. Though we might not have been consciously raised with the 3Rs of waste management—Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse—we apply them daily.

And these principles are just as important when it comes to energy and carbon waste in our buildings.

Reduce: minimising energy consumption

Step one in managing energy waste is reducing the amount of energy needed in a building. Surprisingly, even the most efficiently managed and well-designed buildings can waste a significant amount of energy. To tackle this issue, we need two things: reliable data and efficient processes.

A standard like ISO 52120 saves the day by providing building control and system efficiency guidelines. By simply following these guidelines, we can potentially save over 20% on energy, and most of these improvements are low-cost solutions that simply correct operational errors. Cutting back on energy consumption means minimising carbon, reducing the need for alternative technologies like renewable energy and therefore, a lower embodied carbon load for the building. A win-win for everyone involved.

Recycle: reclaiming waste energy

In the same way, we recycle plastic waste in our homes, we can recycle and reclaim some of the energy wasted in our buildings. Once we have the information needed to gain insights into how and when energy is being used, we can explore ways to recycle this wasted energy within our building’s operations. 

Let’s use air quality as an example. The modern systems are fully driven by 100% fresh air intake. The more fresh air circulates, the more ‘used’ air must be discarded. A solution as simple as a heat exchanger allows the fresh intake to be warmed or cooled down, using the heat from ‘used’ air – recycling it for a new purpose.

Report: knowledge is power

Just as financial information like budgets helps manage various aspects of a business, accurate and regular reporting on energy usage and operational performance is essential to drive a sustainability program. Making energy waste visible and prioritising it, will impact not just the sustainability goals, but the financial viability of a business as well. 

And it doesn’t have to be hard. As long as we collect the right information, we can contextualise it to better understand and directly share it with relevant stakeholders. Within months, you can see the first minor improvements make major impacts. 

Ready to get your first insights today? Calculate energy performance, compare to benchmarks and unlock potential savings.

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