Collaborating for Energy Efficiency: How Owner-Tenant Partnerships Can Reduce Costs and Carbon Emissions?
Achieving building energy efficiency is crucial for reducing carbon emissions and lowering energy costs. While building owners and tenants share a common goal of minimizing energy consumption, they often work in isolation, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. By fostering owner-tenant partnerships and implementing energy efficiency requirements in lease agreements, both parties can work together to achieve energy efficiency goals and reduce energy waste. One key factor in achieving building energy efficiency is data sharing. Building owners and occupants should share energy consumption data to understand how much energy is being used and where it is being wasted. As a minimum, annual consumption data should be shared, but collecting data more frequently allows for more meaningful insights. An industry-accepted methodology or framework, such as Display Energy Certificates (DECs), GPA Common Sustainability Metrics, or LES-TER, should be used to ensure consistency of data. Metering is another important aspect of building energy efficiency. Separate metering facilities should be installed for individual utilities, occupants in multi-let buildings, and special uses such as data centers. Advanced metering technology that can automatically send data on a half-hourly basis to both owners and occupants should be considered. Conducting an energy audit is also crucial for identifying areas where energy waste can be reduced. The scope of the audit should be agreed upon by the owner and occupier(s). Energy consumption should be periodically reviewed to identify changes in operational performance, address reduction strategies, identify problems, and set future objectives. Third-party specialist support and advice should be considered when in-house expertise is lacking. Owners should develop a building energy strategy for multi-let buildings, including the use of green energy tariffs. Control times schedules and settings should align with the working hours of the occupiers to avoid unnecessary use of plant and equipment. A program of regular reviews should be introduced to ensure timely adjustments. Building occupancy should be recorded and reviewed against actual energy usage and Building Management System (BMS) settings where a BMS exists. Lighting also plays a crucial role in building energy efficiency. Owners and occupants should install motion and daylight sensors as part of any lighting control system. Energy-efficient bulbs/luminaires such as T5 lamps and LEDs should be installed throughout the premises or building. Equipment should be well maintained and serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations to ensure optimum performance. The selection of replacement equipment should also take into account energy efficiency considerations. Finally, owners and occupants should consider introducing renewable energy and low-carbon technology where appropriate. Requests by occupants for the installation of renewable energy and low-carbon technology should be considered favorably, provided they do not adversely affect the value of the building. Owners and occupants should also consider participating in, or initiating, local and/or communal energy schemes such as district heating/cooling networks with neighboring buildings and individual building Combined Cooling Heat and Power (CCHP) where practicable. In conclusion, building energy efficiency can be achieved through owner-tenant partnerships and implementing energy efficiency requirements in lease agreements. By working together and adopting best practices such as data sharing, metering, energy audits, energy management, lighting, maintenance, and on-site renewables and low-carbon technologies, building owners and occupants can significantly reduce energy consumption and costs while contributing to the fight against climate change.