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Time for action on building energy use in a cost and climate crisis

Indoor air quality monitoring can save money, save energy and reduce carbon emissions

Indoor air quality monitoring offers a simple, scientific and cost-effective way to control building energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions now

There is hardly a news programme today that doesn’t feature the cost of building energy – whether it’s the financial impact on businesses, households and the economy, or the damage it’s doing to the planet we live on.

Geopolitical turmoil and high carbon-based resource demand impact the energy crisis and climate change. And buildings are among the top contributors. Buildings and construction in the EU were estimated to consume some 40% of the bloc’s energy and contribute some 36% of CO2 emissions in 2020, according to the European Commission.

The figures were lower due to lockdowns in 2020, but still impressive compared to previous years. Furthermore, much of this is wasted energy – the European Commission estimates that some 75% of buildings in the EU are energy inefficient.

Making buildings smarter

The drive to use technology and innovation makes smarter buildings, reducing energy consumption and achieving Net Zero targets. Ventilation and temperature control systems are a great place to start, and indoor air quality monitoring services can help.

Most large modern workplaces have extensive ventilation systems, to remove CO2 and other airborne pollutants. And rightly so. Elevated CO2 levels have well-documented effects on human health. Referred to as ‘sick building syndrome,’ these elevated levels can cause headaches, dizziness, restlessness, difficulty breathing, tiredness, and an increased heart rate. All of these symptoms can significantly impact productivity and well-being.

The fans reduce CO2 and airborne contaminants like PM 2.5 and Volatile Organic Compounds by circulating air in the building. But running these powerful systems unnecessarily wastes both energy and money.

Companies save energy by scheduling ventilation runs, turning them off overnight and powering them up before occupants return. ZiggyTec’s indoor air quality monitoring services help them do this with scientific precision.

Data-Driven Insights for Energy Savings

Take the following example. Let’s say a building manager powers up the ventilation system at 6 am, to make sure that CO2 levels and VOC levels have been reduced accordingly by the time staff start arriving at 9 am.

The data insights provided through ZiggyTec’s intelligent platform can display the levels through hourly, daily, weekly and monthly reports. By analysing this data, and scheduling insights-based tests, building managers could find that the system actually brings about safe levels of CO2 and VOCs within just an hour.

They can then set the fans to power on at, say, 7.30 am, ensuring a safe environment by 8.30 am, and saving 1.5 hours of power every working day. That all adds up to significant savings over time.

Similarly, our smart sensors send data on temperature and humidity to the cloud. Reports can be pulled on a real-time basis, allowing facilities managers to optimize heating and cooling systems.

Growing calls for legislation on indoor air quality

Governments, too, are starting to look at the impact of indoor air quality factors, as they face mounting pressure to act on climate change, and amid lingering concerns over Covid-19.

Recently, Spain issued a decree targeting public buildings, shopping centres, cinemas, theatres, rail stations, and airports. The decree states that heating systems should not exceed 19 degrees Celsius, while air conditioning systems should not go below 27 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, the US Government is exploring tax credits for indoor air quality assessments and air-filtration / HVAC system upgrades as more people return to work in the post-pandemic environment.

In New York, the local law, 96 PACE is a very significant financing programme established to fund qualifying energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to help buildings comply with the Climate Mobilisation Act.

And in New Zealand, experts are urging the government to introduce regulations on indoor air quality. They say that reducing CO2 levels within offices increases cognitive function and productivity, among many other benefits.

Simple steps to bring costs and emissions down now

Many commentators predict Ukraine’s war and energy crisis will shake the world, ending its carbon power fixation. With the Net Zero journey underway, grants and innovation give hope to engineer our way out of existential threat. We can reduce building emissions and energy consumption cost-effectively through smart building technology.

Get in touch with ZiggyTec with us today to find out more.

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