Renewable Energy vs. Energy Efficiency - Why Are Both Integral to Facility Management? | EnergyLink
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Renewable Energy vs. Energy Efficiency – Why Are Both Integral to Facility Management?

rooftop featuring renewable energy solar panels

The key way to reduce facility running costs is to combine energy efficiency systems with renewable energy products. Last week we discussed Air Flushing, which typically uses high levels of energy when carried out. This week, we are going to look at how facility control systems that harness renewable energy can help reduce costs associated with such processes. While the terms renewable energy and energy efficiency, go hand in hand, a common misconception exists that they are interchangeable. Read on to discover the difference between the two and how they can benefit facility management when used together.

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy is any form of energy that does not deplete it’s source while being used and produces little to no CO2 emissions. Common examples of renewable energy include wind and solar, both of which harness natural elements to generate power. Renewable energy solutions are becoming more and more integral to commercial businesses because they reduce carbon footprints, reduce reliance on the grid and benefit consumers through reduced energy costs.

Examples of Renewable Energy products:

  1. Commercial Solar Panels generate your own off-grid power, lower operating costs, and increase energy efficiency.
  2. Solar Carports monetize your parking lot by generating renewable onsite power and reducing your operating costs by up to 30%.
  3. Urban Wind Turbines safely & effectively utilize the power of wind to generate electricity for your building.

Here at EnergyLink, we offer many viable renewable energy options, which can be explored over on our products page.

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy Efficiency analyses how efficient a source of power is by measuring the amount of energy it requires to generate the same outcome as another option. For example, if there are two buildings – one of which uses incandescent light bulbs and one that uses commercial LED lights – the energy efficiency of either option would be how much energy is required to light the buildings comparatively.

Incandescent light bulbs are often considered a poor energy efficient choice because they must be replaced 25 – 35 times more frequently than LED lights and they waste a lot of energy by producing infra-red energy (heat) that is invisible to the naked eye. The amount of energy used to create useful visible light must be offset with the wasted energy used by the infra-red light being emitted, which reducing the energy efficiency of the lightbulb.

In contrast, commercial LED lights are considered more energy efficient as they last much longer and can reduce electricity bills by up to 30%. They can also increase employee efficiency by emitting a less yellowish glow than incandescent lights, which creates a more comfortable, productive environment.

Examples of Energy Efficiency products:

  1. Energy Storage Solutions collect power generated from your current energy systems for later use, saving you money long-term.
  2. Commercial LED Lights last much longer than other lighting alternatives; LED lights last 2 to 4 times longer than compact fluorescent bulbs and 25 to 35 times more than incandescent light bulbs

At Energy Link, we specialize in installing energy efficiency solutions so feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss the benefits of products we offer.

Why Are Both Integral to Facility Management?

Renewable energy is frequently considered the most important aspect of an energy management plan. However, the efficiency of any energy source, renewable or non-renewable, must be taken into consideration too.

For example, a company may install solar panels and think they are automatically saving themselves money. However, if the panels do not have controls that dictate when the power is being used, or how it is being stored, then a lot of the energy can go to waste. This is where energy efficiency products come in as they can control when power generated from renewable systems is used. If a company also invests in more efficient energy systems, such as newer HVAC units, then the amount of solar power being needed to run them will also reduce. Therefore, it is really important to consider both renewable energy and energy efficiency products when creating a facility management plan.

Companies can use energy controls, in hand with renewable energy products, to increase energy efficiency.

How Do Energy Controls Promote Efficiency?

Energy controls aid efficiency and transparency when it comes to managing energy consumption and costs associated with commercial buildings. Companies can instantly lower their energy bills by utilizing controls that promote energy efficiency and use renewable energy products.

Examples of Energy Controls:

  1. HVAC Controls  uses advanced software to control the climate in commercial or industrial buildings by properly regulating heating and cooling in different sectors (or zones) throughout the facility. 
  2. Daylight Harvesting uses tech called sun trackers to lower costs associated with lighting. Sun trackers have the potential to allow businesses and schools to shut off electric lights for up to 10.5 hours a day
  3. Building Automation Systems are a network of microprocessor based wired or wireless controllers connected to diverse systems in a building to better manage the equipment and optimize a organization’s energy spend.

Companies will maximize their potential energy savings by ensuring their facility management plan combines energy efficiency solutions with renewable energy products.

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