News article

Sustainable buildings: 7 tips for a green building

Many companies are committed to sustainable building to achieve lower CO2 emissions. But there are also other benefits of making your building sustainable.
Net Zero
22 February 2024

Making buildings more sustainable is high on many companies' agendas. This is partly due to the increasingly stringent government requirements around energy-efficient buildings. Sustainable buildings and offices not only reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, but also create a healthy working environment and increase the value of your building.

Creating a sustainable office or building? In this blog, you will read all about the regulations and subsidies available for making property sustainable in the UK. And we give you 7 tips for making your building more sustainable.

Sustainable buildings: Towards energy neutral

The European Green Deal is a package of policy initiatives designed to put the EU on the path to a green transition, with the ultimate goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. To achieve energy neutrality, governments around the world are placing increasing demands on the energy performance of new and existing buildings. To stay in compliance with the law, many property owners must make their buildings more sustainable. In the United Kingdom, emissions have fallen by more than 40 percent since 1990. Groundbreaking legislation was enacted in 2019, making the UK the first major economy to commit to ending its contribution to global warming by 2050.

Strict sustainability requirements have been applied to new buildings for some time. Moreover, energy performance requirements are regularly tightened. Until recently, energy performance was expressed by the energy performance coefficient (EPC). In anticipation of increasing requirements, many new buildings are already being built energy-neutral.

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Why make your building or office sustainable?

These strict rules do not yet apply to existing buildings, although there too the requirements are becoming increasingly stringent. Energy-saving requirements are expected to increase further in the coming years.

But by making your building more sustainable, you are not only complying with regulations. Sustainable property has more value and it retains its value longer. Market research shows that, on average, a sustainable property has about 10% more market value and rental income than non-sustainable property. It is obvious that the difference in value between 'green' and 'brown' property will only increase in the coming years.

Moreover, a sustainable office or building not only saves energy. It also increases user comfort. Increased well-being results in better performance, less stress, lower absenteeism and more satisfied employees. Thus, the sustainability of a building also helps you find and retain good staff and win 'the war for talent'.

The basis of a sustainable building: Trias Energetica

Obviously, making your office or business premises sustainable is very important for several reasons. But how do you approach making your property sustainable? Based on Trias Energetica, there are three steps in making a building more sustainable:

  1. Reduce energy consumption by insulating the outer shell and building as compact as possible;
  2. Make maximum use of energy from renewable sources, such as wind or solar energy;
  3. To meet the remaining energy needs, use (fossil) energy sources as efficiently as possible.

7 tips for making your office or business more sustainable

The first two points of the Trias Energetica are pretty clear. Insulate your building as well as possible and use solar panels or a solar water heater to provide (a large part of) your building's energy needs. But especially on the last point, saving energy, it is often with simple interventions and good building management that big gains can be made in making an office or commercial building more sustainable. Therefore, below we provide 7 tips to make your building more sustainable and save energy.

1. Understanding your energy use

Good insight into energy consumption is a prerequisite for saving energy, for example with Priva Energy Insight by ErbisOne or the Priva EBS tool. Good energy monitoring makes patterns and deviations visible. By responding to these, you save energy immediately. In addition, you can see where the biggest gains can be made with energy-saving measures.

2. Adjust systems to usage

For example, switch off lights when nobody is present and minimize heating, cooling and ventilation. Did you know that around three quarters of offices are simply 'on' at weekends and during holidays? A waste of money and energy.

3. Use space efficiently

Following on from the above, even when the building is in use, you can use the space and the climate system as efficiently as possible. For example, sensors measure whether a space is in use and adjust building management accordingly.

4. Make optimal use of sunlight and solar heat

The sun lights and heats a building without consuming energy, but on hot days a building can also heat up too much. Smart, automatic control of solar shading with sensors for e.g. temperature and light intensity saves a lot of energy.

5. Optimize the system with (historical) data

Use the information collected by sensors and systems to optimize building management and link systems to this data with APIs to make them more compatible.

6. Avoid peaks in energy consumption

By cleverly distributing energy use across the day and the different systems with a smart microgrid, you reduce peak loads. For instance, the part of the day with the lowest energy consumption is a good time to charge electric cars. This way, you get rid of the peaks, a lower connection capacity suffices and you pay less fixed charge.

7. Let your systems predict rather than react

Smart software can analyze data from your building automation and predict future consumption based on it. Controlling your air conditioning based on the weather forecast and expected usage saves a lot of energy.

Subsidies and financial benefits for sustainable buildings

Want to make your building or office more sustainable? The government has several subsidies and (tax) benefits that reduce the cost of making your premises more sustainable.

The UK government unveiled on March 22, 2023, its plan to allocate £1.8 billion toward enhancing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions in both residential and public infrastructures. This initiative aims to implement various measures including the installation of solar panels, heat pumps, upgraded windows, and insulation.

In addition to this national scheme, there are also European, provincial, regional and municipal schemes and subsidies. Can't see the wood for the trees? Subsidy consultancies can help you with your application, but you can also seek advice from subsidy providers and fellow entrepreneurs or appoint a subsidy coordinator in your company to look into the subject.

Your building sustainable with Priva

Would you like to know how we can help you make your building sustainable while creating an optimal indoor climate for your employees through optimal climate control in the office? Or how you can control your premises anytime, anywhere with Priva Digital Services so that it never uses energy unnecessarily and always performs optimally.

Get in touch with us. We will be happy to give you tailored advice on making your building more sustainable.

Want to learn more about sustainable buildings? Read more

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Want to know more? Lets have a chat!

Bill Whittaker

Business Development Manager

Bill Whittaker