The industry is increasingly emphasizing how occupants should be included in an organization’s long-term building efficiency goals. The U.S. Department of Energy has found that commercial buildings account for nearly 36% of all energy used in the U.S. With building occupants accounting for nearly 80% of energy used within a building, it could be said that building occupants account for nearly 30% of all energy consumed in the U.S. This is a large opportunity for reducing energy usage!
Last month QA Graphics participated as part of a panel presentation for an Occupant-Led Building Energy Efficiency Workshop put on by Energy Efficient Buildings Hub in Philadelphia. We spoke with real estate and property managers on ways in which organizations can use creative technology and building performance data to engage occupants to participate for a more efficient building. We introduced our Energy Efficiency Education Dashboard solution and shared how energy dashboards can engage building occupants to help reduce the resource consumption. It’s not just about short term energy reduction, it’s about long-term plans for reducing energy usage. Occupants must be included in sustainability efforts to ensure successful execution of energy reduction goals. Occupant energy use can be direct usage such as phones, tablets, lamps, computers, heaters, fans, and other such personal items in their office or at their cubicle. This is primarily through plug loads and is typically around 30% of a building’s energy use.
Typically utilized in a lobby or common area, energy dashboard solutions are very social, engaging viewers as they pass by. Real-time building performance information (such as electricity usage or water usage) can provide viewers insight on how their actions directly impact the building. Comparing your data to other similar facilities or to energy model data helps occupants visualize how their efforts are working. It gives them real-time feedback. Competitions, between departments, buildings, floors, can also be very effective in engaging occupants. Studies have found that a potential savings of around 12% can be obtained by involving occupants with sustainability efforts. Using this assumption, you can calculate the potential ROI on your occupant awareness initiatives.