Non-Domestic Services

"18% of UK emissions come from non-domestic buildings..."
At the heart of commerce in the UK is our places of work. These buildings offer a secure, comfortable environment for educating the youth, governing the country and keeping the economy afloat. It stands to reason then that the better our buildings perform, the better we perform and the more productive we are.

The commercial sector represents about 66% of existing building stock, with vast improvements necessary in order to meet EU energy efficiency targets. With 80% of the buildings in 2050 already built, retrofit represents a massive area of potential in achieving the UK's overall emissions targets (80% reduction by 2050). Additionally, with financial incentives offered under the Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive schemes, installation of renewable technologies presents a worthwhile investment with good returns.

Services for Commercial Buildings:
  • Mechanical Building Services Design
  • Renewable Energy Feasibility Studies
  • Energy Performance Certificates
  • Energy Audits
  • Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

The buzzword in recent times has been Solar PV, however this is not the only option for those looking to generate income by installing a renewable energy system. A host of technologies have been placed on the Feed-in Tariff list, as well as the recent Renewable Heat Incentive list.

Generous cash-back rates are offered as part of this self-funding scheme. Technologies which have higher annual hours of operation, such as wind or hydro power, tend to receive a reduced tariff relative to the expected annual energy yield. Thus the payback period of systems across the range of technologies remains relatively constant - typically less than 10 years. The key challenge is to determine which type of technology is most appropriate for a particular building. Sometimes this will be largely intuitive, however often a feasibility study is required to compare a number of options.

Sustainable refurbishment must progress hand-in-hand with sustainable development, if the UK is to meet it's emissions reduction commitments. Indeed, the majority of buildings standing today will still be around in 2050, and thus their energy performance must be upgraded to meet the requirements of a low carbon UK. The UK government will introduce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for all leased buildings from April 2018.

Numerous approaches can be taken to upgrade a poor-performing building, such as replacement of equipment, installation of renewable energy systems and changes to building fabric. By refurbishing your building you will not only be establishing a platform from which your business can operate going forward, but also comply with upcoming regulations and reduce annual energy bills. Keeping Blue can advise on the most cost effective course of action for commercial building refurbishment, as well as upgrading of building services.

Most existing building stock is not designed to cope with the intensive heat gains from modern-day office applications, such as server rooms and VDU rooms which generate excess internal heat gains throughout the year. Additionally, much of the equipment installed in the 1980's and 1990's is nearing end of life and requiring replacement. The solution could be replacement of existing A/C equipment with high efficiency systems.

Whether your equipment is at the stage of de-commissioning, or you simply wish to upgrade your equipment and reduce your energy bills, Keeping Blue can offer professional advice on the best route to take.

A recent survey has shown that the actual energy performance of buildings, including those which are recently constructed, can be more than double the design value. This can be attributed to a number of factors, one of which could be poor understanding and inappropriate use of A/C equipment and Building Management Systems. Offices are quite often leased rather than owned, thus tenants tend to have a limited understanding on optimal usage of A/C equipment, such as in relation to layout of desks and furniture.

For this reason, flexibility is highly desirable for A/C terminal units in rented premises. Partitioning of open plan office space (pictured) can lead to a poor balance of air flow and temperature control in divided areas. This could be due to poor positioning of thermostats, or uneven air distribution. Ideally, there should be some level of mobility for ceiling ductwork and outlet grilles, however this is usually limited. Additionally, a common sense approach should be taken with thermostat positioning, to ensure that measurement is accurate and a feedback loop is avoided.

It is important that tenants are educated regarding the optimal layout of the floor space regarding A/C equipment. As part of a Keeping Blue Energy Audit, advice would be given to the building manager regarding suitable floor plan layouts, and in turn the tenants should consult the building manager before any alterations are made. A Keeping Blue Energy Audit will aim to bring a building's actual performance in line with it's potential, with minimal capital expenditure.