Selecting green office tenancies
In Australia all sellers or lessors of office space of 2,000 square metres or more are required to obtain and disclose a current Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) which includes an energy star rating and lighting assessment. Heating and cooling efficiency is a major determinant of the base building’s rating. When tenants require green office space it drives up the priority for facilities managers to provide high performing base building services.
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Many efficiency actions that tenants identify and implement through a planning process will cut waste heat from their equipment. Any reductions in heat load on the floor will take pressure off the heating and cooling systems – for example, after-hours lighting timers, computer shut-downs, and photocopier sleep modes.
Lighting energy efficiency >>
Equipment energy efficiency >>
Working with building management
By engaging with the facilities manager, tenants can be more active in helping to optimise their heating and cooling effectiveness. Some key measures to reduce HVAC and energy waste are:
- Check that staff are familiar with the contents of the Building User Guide or request one from the facilities manager.
- Make staff aware of how to operate advanced features of the HVAC and lighting system.
- Ensure that staff do not operate personal heaters and other appliances which could significantly increase energy consumption of the tenancy and also affect the operation of the base building HVAC systems.
- Understand and discuss building set-points with the facilities manager.
- Where possible, encourage staff working after-hours and on weekends to use areas that are served by supplementary HVAC systems. Often, meeting rooms have such systems installed, which are more economical and efficient to operate, rather than using the base building HVAC systems – which is expensive and inefficient if only needed for small areas.
- Ensure windows and doors are kept closed when the building is unoccupied during the heating or cooling seasons. Report any gaps in sealing which cause air leakage and draughts to the facilities manager.
- During summer close window shading devices to reduce air conditioning loads. During winter when it is dark outside, close window shading devices to reduce heat losses through radiation.
- Check that HVAC systems are switched off after-hours and that cleaning staff do not have access to operate HVAC systems wastefully.
- Encourage staff to dress for the season to accommodate small increases in internal temperature range.
Considerations for fit-out
The guiding principle for fit out is to not work against or undo any optimisation strategies that the building manager is carrying out. Some examples are:
- Ensure that tenancy fit-out guidelines issued by the building owner are observed during renovations and upgrade.
- When installing space partitioning during office fit-outs, ensure the use of natural lighting is not obstructed and the operation of HVAC systems is not affected.
- When carrying out tenancy fit-outs, ensure that the lighting power density does not exceed BCA Section J requirements and complies with the tenancy fit-out guidelines. Lighting produces heat, which must be removed by air conditioning systems, which wastes energy.