5 Energy-Efficient Upgrades To Decarbonise Your Facility

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So you know your company needs to decarbonise its facility and you understand the steps involved in doing it.  But before you start, you want to know which energy-efficient upgrades will impact your carbon footprint the most.

At Centropi we are all about accelerating facilities to net-zero. Whether you choose to look at our lighting and water systems we always want to provide the most easily understood and unbiased information so that you can make informed decisions.

Help Me Decarbonise!

What is Decarbonisation?

Before we go any further, it is worth making sure we understand decarbonisation.

Decarbonisation is reducing or removing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions generated by various activities and processes in your business.

Example - Logistics lighting

If you run a large logistics facility, you will likely have a lot of lighting. That lighting is powered by electricity, and in Singapore, that electricity is created (for the most part) by burning gas. When that gas is burned, it creates CO2. Gas does produce roughly 30% less CO2 than burning oil and 45% less than coal, but it still creates CO2.

So how do you reduce the carbon footprint of your lighting? In this instance, there are two things you can do.

  1. You still need the electricity to power the lights, but we do have the ability to change how that electricity is generated. Could it be generated by solar panels on your facility, or could you switch to a provider who supplies certified green energy?
  2. Use less energy. It is not mitigation, but it is reduction. By upgrading the lights in your facility, you could use 70% less energy. Couple this with smart lighting to reduce the time used, and the savings are huge.

Both these upgrades/actions will reduce the carbon footprint of your lighting and, therefore, your facility.

So clearly energy-efficient upgrades are a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of your facility and decarbonise.

Energy Breakdown

It is useful to start with a high-level look at overall energy usage in buildings in Singapore. The chart below gives us a high-level and more detailed breakdown of HVAC systems. It will come as no surprise that the biggest energy consumers appear in the top 5 list below!

Source

#1 - Energy Audit and Assessment

Undertaking an energy audit is the first of three steps to decarbonise your facility. It is the only way to get an understanding of how you are using your energy.

Some might argue this is not an energy-efficient upgrade. But to undertake an effective audit you will need to install various monitoring systems at your facility for both electricity and water. This is the upgrade. You are actively taking the first steps to decarbonise by monitoring your energy and water usage.

#2 - Energy-Efficient Lighting

Lighting is the second largest contributor to energy consumption in buildings and is low-hanging fruit for those looking for quick decarbonisation wins.

There are two elements to consider.

  1. The lights themselves. We have come a long way since burning whale oil to create light in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since Thomas Edison developed the practical electric light bulb in 1879, we have seen various iterations. Each proves more efficient than the last. We now have investment-grade LED lighting. The latest iteration has an L70 of 100,000 hours and requires 30% less energy than typical commercial-grade LED lamps.
  2. How the lights are used: No matter the efficiency of light, the longer it is left on, the more energy (read electricity) it uses. Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the occupants to have good lighting habits; instead, we rely on technology. By implementing technology such as sensors and timers, lighting usage can be significantly reduced.

So, if you are using non-LED, lower-grade commercial lighting and do not have smart systems in place, then lighting is low-hanging fruit for quick decarbonisation gains.

#3 - HVAC System Enhancements

As the graph above shows, HVAC systems typically account for 40-60% of a building's energy use. This will come as no surprise to anyone walking in and out of any building in Singapore!

Given this large consumption, HVAC has a big target on its back for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint. So what should you look for?

  1. Efficient equipment: Energy-efficient HVAC systems in energy-saving buildings typically use high-efficiency components, such as high-efficiency air conditioners, heat pumps, energy recovery ventilators, advanced thermostats, and high-efficiency ductwork. These components work together to provide comfortable indoor temperatures while reducing energy consumption and minimising the building's environmental impact.
  2. Usage: Do your occupants need the cooling to be set to 16 degrees? Probably not, and they will thank you for not having to bring jackets into the office, too. One way to avoid over-usage is to consider smart thermostats and monitoring.
  • These monitoring systems can be linked to external temperature or to maintain a specific temperature. In addition, Energy-Efficient HVAC systems in energy-efficient buildings may also include zoning systems that allow different building areas to be heated or cooled independently, reducing energy waste and providing greater comfort and control for building occupants.
  • You will never be able to please everyone with the temperature, but it will save you a lot of energy.
  1. Maintenance: Have you done 1 & 2, and now your savings are dwindling? This may be because your systems need a good clean. Implementing a strict maintenance schedule will help you protect your investment.  

#4 - Water Efficiency Monitoring

Carbon footprint is not the first thing that springs to mind when you turn on the tap. But every year, Singapore uses 200 million cubic metres of non-domestic water.

1 cubic metre = 0.08kg CO2
200 million cubic metres = 16,000,000 kg CO2 = Weight of 1 cruise ship!

The savings will not be as significant as the other items on this list, but monitoring your water usage can go beyond carbon footprint savings to also protect your facilities from damage and catastrophic events.

#5 - Renewable Energy Integration

So even if you have implemented items 1 through 4, there are still huge carbon footprint savings to be made by integrating renewable energy supply.

Why? Because everything in your building is powered by either grid electricity - which, as mentioned above, is predominantly produced by burning gas - or gas.

According to the IPCC. the carbon footprint of solar energy is roughly 12 times less than that of gas. This should be a good enough reason to switch to electricity generated by solar PV or other renewable sources.

However, many companies are scared of implementing solar due to high costs. But there are many ways to fund these projects and Solar PPA is readily available in Singapore, which will cost you nothing to implement!

Decarbonise Now Singapore!

With carbon taxes on the rise, and an abundance of ways to fund these upgrades, there has been no better time to make energy-efficient upgrades, and we hope this information puts you on course to a Net Zero future.

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Industrial and manufacturing facilities
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