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Energy-saving retrofits, not “green bling”

Delegates at Ebm-Papst's February retrofit seminar
Delegates at Ebm-Papst’s February retrofit seminar

UK: In order to meet emissions targets and save money, businesses must look at retrofitting to energy-saving equipment instead of chasing “green bling” buildings.

This was the serious and urgent call from facilities management leaders speaking at an industry-wide conference at the end of February.

The event, hosted by fan and motor manufacturer Ebm-Papst UK at its Chelmsford headquarters, was entitled “Energy Efficient Buildings and Commercial Retrofit and Refurbishment”.

Leading FM’s and energy managers and engineers were invited to discuss the future of buildings’ management and priorities for the industry.

Mike Malina, director of consultancy Energy Solutions Associates, argued companies needed to be doing more to review energy use profiles of existing builds if they want to help the Government meet its EU target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.

“Everybody goes for green bling, they don’t look at the real fundamental need for retrofit in a building – they want to be seen to be green but forget the basics,” he said.

He added: “If only officials would give existing buildings the resources and improvements they need – 90% of the buildings we’re going to have in 2050 are already here, so we need to be looking at retrofit.”

Underlining the long-term benefits for retrofitted equipment, Mr Malina concluded: “The cheapest kilowatt is the one you never use, this goes for everyone – saving

Mike Malina: “Everybody goes for green bling, they don’t look at the real fundamental need for retrofit in a building"
Mike Malina: “Everybody goes for green bling, they don’t look at the real fundamental need for retrofit in a building”

energy is a business and financial investment, whether it’s fitting EC fans or using good filters. By doing this you will get massive savings over years, rather than by just sticking a PV on your roof.”

His comments were supported by Siemens’ marketing manager Ian Ellis, who referred back to last year’s “big six” energy hike controversy, saying: “There was nothing discussed during that debate about what could be done to make sure energy runs more efficiently once it gets in your building. To get the Government interested here, we in building services need to get people thinking about the demand side.”

He added: “We can’t just think that in order to meet Government targets we will build a load of new buildings and mitigate carbon emissions as they come in – you have to be looking at existing building structure and what you can do with what you’ve got.”

Ebm-Papst estimates that European industries could save at least 30% on their cooling energy costs simply by switching to electronically commutated fan technology.

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