How To Decarbonise Your Facilities In 3 Steps

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Decarbonisation in Singapore is now in full swing. With the Singaporean Green Plan 2030 firmly in place and carbon taxes set to rise in 2024 if you have not started thinking about how to decarbonise your business and your facility, the time is now.

However, we understand that half the battle of decarbonising your facility is knowing where to start and how to do it.

At Centropi we design and manufacture investment-grade LED lighting and water monitoring systems. Even if you have upgraded your lighting and have water monitoring in place we want to provide you with easily understood and helpful information to accelerate your decarbonisation journey and help the planet move towards net zero.

Help Me Decarbonise!

Step 1: Assess

Reducing energy is like reducing your spending

If you have no idea of where or how your energy is being used in your facility how can you know where to focus your attention? It is the same as looking at your bank account at the end of the month and thinking “Where did it all go?” then blindly suggesting you’re spending too much on delicious food panda deliveries without looking at your bank statement and breaking out a spreadsheet.

And that is the first step here. Assess your energy usage.

How Do I Assess My Energy Usage?

Before you start buying fancy tech that promises the world to decarbonise your facility, it's essential to understand your starting point. Assessing your current carbon footprint and energy usage is the first crucial step in making your building more energy-efficient.

Begin by conducting a thorough energy audit. Identify the key sources of carbon emissions, such as:

  • heating
  • cooling
  • water (yes it has a carbon footprint!)
  • lighting, and
  • equipment

What Is An Energy Audit?

An energy audit is a systematic process of evaluating and analysing the energy usage and efficiency of a building, facility, or industrial process. The primary purpose of an energy audit is to identify areas where energy is being wasted and to suggest improvements that can lead to energy savings and reduced operational costs. Energy professionals or consultants often conduct energy audits which can be performed on residential, commercial, or industrial properties.

The key components of an energy audit:

  1. Data Collection: The first step in an energy audit involves collecting data related to energy consumption, building or process characteristics, and operational schedules. This may include reviewing utility bills, inspecting the building's physical structure, and understanding how energy is used.
  2. On-Site Inspection: Energy auditors typically conduct a physical inspection of the property to identify areas where energy is being wasted. This can include checking for insulation levels, the condition of heating and cooling systems, lighting efficiency, and more.
  3. Analysis: After collecting data and conducting on-site inspections, energy auditors use specialised software and tools to analyse the information. They may use energy modelling software to simulate the building's energy performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

Where Can I Find An Energy Auditor?

There are 69 BCA registered energy auditors in Singapore. Look for opportunities to improve efficiency and reduce waste. Consider investing in advanced monitoring systems and sensors to gather real-time data about your facility's energy consumption.

Can I Do An Energy Audit Myself?

Maybe yes. If your building was recently constructed it may have a modern Building Management System (BMS). You can understand a lot about your energy usage and consumption by digging into this system. If you do not have a BMS then you may need to purchase a system that will allow you to assess your energy usage by type (lighting, heating, cooling, water, and equipment). You can also talk to your facilities teams to understand things like;

  • when was the lighting last upgraded or serviced?
  • when was the HVAC installed and last serviced
  • do we monitor for water leaks?

Did You Know Energy Audits Are Mandatory In Singapore?

In 2014 the Building Construction Authority in Singapore made energy auditing mandatory. This means that all facilities are required to submit their annual energy consumption. This is done so that the government clearly understands energy usage in the country by sector.

Beyond The Numbers

It's not just about the numbers, though. Engage with your team and stakeholders to gain a comprehensive understanding of your facility's operations and their environmental impact. Encourage discussions on sustainability goals and aspirations.

This initial assessment will serve as the foundation for your decarbonisation strategy.

Step 2: Adapt

Once you have a clear picture of your facility's carbon footprint, you can plan your adaptation.

There are four main areas that you can look to aim at. From your audit, you will be able to see which area dominates your carbon footprint. You will also need to see which area gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of $ spent/carbon reduction.

1. How You Use Energy - Energy Efficiency Upgrades

For most companies, this or #2 will be the largest area of carbon consumption. If your audit included a physical check of your facilities' services, then it should be straightforward to Identify areas where energy-efficient technologies can be implemented. This may include;

  • LED lighting
  • high-efficiency HVAC systems, and
  • smart building controls.
  • investment in building envelope improvements to enhance insulation and reduce cooling loss.

It is worth checking which upgrades can be partially covered through government funding. These upgrades will not be quick to implement - depending on the size of your facility - but you will see the benefits almost immediately

2. How Your Energy Is Supplied - Renewable Energy Transition

There are two sides to this;

  1. Is the energy from your supplier low or carbon-neutral?
  2. Do you have the opportunity to generate your own energy?

So firstly, you can explore if your energy supplier has specific price plans which guarantee that a specific percentage of the energy they supply comes from renewable sources.

Secondly, you can also explore whether it is feasible for you to generate your own renewable energy sources. In Singapore, this is predominantly rooftop solar panels. Some energy companies run PPA models, which means at no additional cost to you, they will install and manage rooftop solar and any energy generated is offset against your usage at a specific tariff.

Transitioning to clean energy sources will significantly reduce your facility's reliance on fossil fuels and carbon footprint.

3. How Your Facility Is Built/Upgraded - Sustainable Materials

This is specifically targeting facilities that are in the process of being built or upgraded.  There are two types of carbon usage: embodied and operational. Operational carbon is covered under #1, 2 & 4, but #3 is embodied carbon.

Embodied carbon is the amount of carbon used in manufacturing any and all materials used in construction works.

We have a choice of what materials are used, so look to companies who can provide EPD assessments of their products so you can make an informed choice about which products to use.

In addition, easy wins include opting for eco-friendly insulation, low VOC paints, and recycled building materials to minimise environmental impact.

4. How Your Team Behave: Engage your staff and occupants in sustainable practices. Encourage energy conservation, waste reduction, and responsible water usage through education and incentives.

Although adaptation is not free, there are numerous ways to reduce the burden with little or no Capex.

Step 3: Analyse

Carbon reduction is an ongoing process, not a case of set and forget.

Continuous monitoring, optimisation, and maintenance are essential to ensure the success of your decarbonisation efforts.

1. Real-time Monitoring: As a part of your adaptation, it is essential to Implement monitoring systems to track energy usage, carbon emissions, and indoor air quality. As we set out in the beginning, you need to know how and where your energy is being used. All your adaptation efforts are wasted if you do not track their performance.

2. Performance Metrics: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your progress. Regularly review and update these metrics to align with your evolving decarbonisation goals.

3. Feedback Loops: Create a feedback loop with your team and occupants. Encourage open communication to identify opportunities for improvement and address any issues that may arise.

4. Regular Audits: Conduct periodic energy audits and sustainability assessments to ensure your facility remains on track. Adjust your strategies as needed to meet your decarbonisation targets.

By following these three steps - Assess, Adapt, and Analyse - you can do your part in meeting the goals of Singapore and the world.

Decarbonising your facility not only reduces your carbon footprint but also demonstrates your commitment to a better future. Embrace the challenge and be a leader in the transition to a carbon-neutral world.

Want more info on how we can help? Message Ivan.

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