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From managing hot water more efficiently to cloud-based software solutions gaining traction in building technologies, commercial buildings are becoming more energy efficient.
With restaurants using almost three times as much energy as an average commercial building, food businesses are taking notice of these trends in energy efficiency. In fact, by making efficiency upgrades and taking simple actions to reduce energy consumption by 20%, restaurants and other food businesses can increase profits by 30% according to the EPA.
Here are three ways in which we'll see commercial foodservice buildings become more energy efficient in 2015:
Manage Hot Water More Efficiently
There are a number of ways commercial service providers can reduce water consumption for greater operational efficiency and cost savings. Installing energy-efficient water heaters is one popular way to dramatically reduce energy consumption.
Because restaurant kitchen equipment uses a great amount of hot water, reducing water usage directly helps decrease water heating costs. Equipment that require continuous water flow, such as dishwashing equipment and food preparation sinks can be made more efficient by upgrading components to include water distribution pipes, more efficient low-flow pre-rinse spray valves, thermal efficient faucets and other appliances with a higher Energy Factor (EF).
Additionally, ENERGY STAR-certified commercial water heaters include tankless units and gas storage technology that utilize 25% less energy than a traditional commercial water heating unit.
Participate in a Demand Response Program
Foodservice accounts for 8% of total commercial building energy consumption in the United States, and electricity accounts for nearly half of foodservice energy consumption.
Demand Response Programs offer financial incentives for restaurants and other food businesses to temporarily reduce energy consumption upon request during periods of high energy demand. The most common example is rewarding energy reduction during high seasonal temperatures, but there are also innovative new Demand Bidding Programs (DBP) that operate year-round. Demand Bidding Programs are low-risk and pay restaurant owners an incentive to reduce electric load during peak days and times. This day-ahead program requires submission of load reduction bids on an hourly basis, requiring a minimum load reduction bid of 10 kW for two consecutive hours with an incentive payment of $0.50/kWh for qualifying load reduction. There is no penalty for failure to reduce energy during the period.
Manage data in the cloud
The software-as-a-service (SaaS) model of technology implementation, already widely adopted in industries around the world, has finally penetrated the restaurant industry as well.
Asset-level submetering is now more efficiently tracked via cloud-based technologies because unlike traditional metering solutions, which only measure total energy usage, submetering allows business owners to more specifically understand the energy usage in specific areas within the business, allowing them to optimize equipment performance accordingly.
The cloud is also gaining traction among foodservice companies that are looking for easier ways to streamline systems and facilitate corporate communications and data sharing. Particularly for larger companies who may have a dispersed workforce, new cloud-based technologies are filling a void as new products on the market facilitate collaboration between employees, allowing them to quickly share information and ideas online. Additionally, employees can host e-meetings without being in the same physical building, which can cut transportation costs while increasing innovation.
Finally, several cloud-based tools are increasingly helping foodservice businesses run more efficiently by making it easier to access real-time data about their supply chain. New cloud-based systems help facilitate communication and synergies between a business and its supplier community. These apps help suppliers to access the rate at which a business runs through its inventory so they can meet any changes in demand before issues arise. This improves operational efficiencies for both organizations. Easier to maintain and quick to update, cloud-based technologies are able to easily scale with a growing organization
Ross McAllister is Director of the catering and food technology sales company Fridgeland.
Building professionals throughout the U.S. are faced with meeting increasingly stringent energy codes in new construction and retrofits. As of March 2015, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted standards that are equivalent to or more efficient than the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). An additional 21 states have adopted the 2009 IECC or higher standards, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE).
One of the country’s most demanding energy codes is California’s Title 24, which requires commercial buildings to be net zero energy by 2030. As carbon emission concerns increase and the U.S. pushes for energy independence, more states are likely to follow California’s lead.
Because space heating and cooling consume about one-third of the energy used in commercial buildings, and “much of this energy is wasted,” DOE reports, creating tight, well-insulated building envelopes is crucial for energy efficiency.
To this end, more commercial buildings are being constructed with energy-efficient structural insulated panels (SIPs).
SIPs have been used in a host of commercial and institutional buildings, including K-12 schools; college dormitories, classroom buildings and gymnasiums; retail; museums; worship facilities and others, in all parts of North America.
The engineered panels are made of a rigid insulating foam core (often of expanded polystyrene – EPS) with laminated skins (often oriented strand board – OSB). SIPs combine structural support, insulation and air barrier within one product.
In extensive testing of different structural assemblies, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) found that SIP structures are up to 15 times more airtight than stick framed walls insulated with fiberglass batts. SIPs had an air leakage rate of only 8 cu. ft. per minute at 50 pascals of pressure versus stick framing which leaked air at 121 cu. ft. per minute. The reason for this difference is that SIP-built walls and roofs have far fewer gaps to be sealed.
Additionally, SIPs provide continuous insulation, and have fewer thermal bridges than other building methods. As a result, SIPs can help lower energy costs for space heating and cooling by up to 60% above standards set forth in the 2006 IECC.
The panels help building owners and occupants save energy costs year-after-year from the time the building opens throughout its service life. As a tight, well-insulated envelope reduces the size of HVAC equipment needed, equipment run time and cycling on and off, the panels also save upfront capital costs by allowing for smaller size equipment, along with lower equipment maintenance and replacement costs.
Additional SIP benefits
In addition to dramatic energy savings, SIPs offer another key green benefit by reducing jobsite construction scrap. The reason for this is SIPs can be planned and custom made to size in a controlled factory setting that makes efficient use of all materials. By comparison, stick framing and other structural methods entail using standard size components that crews must trim in the field, resulting in numerous unusable cut-offs.
Many building owners and contractors also value the fact that SIPs install quickly. Fast construction helps reduce interest costs under construction loans and can help meet difficult project schedules. By reducing structural and insulation work from months to weeks or even days, building crews can meet tight seasonal deadlines, such as the need to dry-in a building in northern climates before winter sets in, or to finish a school before the start of fall classes.
Tips for choosing a SIP manufacturer
Joe Pasma is the technical manager for Premier SIPs, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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