Tips for saving energy in buildings

Tips for saving energy in buildings

We live on a planet with finite resources and all activities aimed at recycling and saving are welcome, including any to recycle and save energy.

Ramón Elul Pérez-Castejón, deputy chairman of the Spanish Energy Consumers Association (Asociación de los Consumidores de Energía, ANAE), says: “Most home-based energy efficiency measures require not investment but instead a change in habits: if we do it properly, we will manage to save quite a lot of money every year”.

Energy costs can be reduced in the home, and in large public and private buildings too, by changing our habits and installing energy-saving equipment and gadgets. To combat wasting energy, institutions such as the Andalusian Energy Agency and the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (Instituto para la Diversificación y el Ahorro de la Energía, IDEA) have proposed a series of measures covering lighting, domotics and insulation:

1.- Installing or replacing energy saving devices such as co-generation equipment, high-efficiency boilers, domotics systems and lighting systems, reduces a very high percentage of energy costs.

2.- Using LED (Lighting Emitting Diode) light bulbs, which are the most efficient lighting system. They consume between 80 and 85% less than conventional incandescent light bulbs. If they are good quality, they have a useful life of 50,000 hours and can work for up to 50 years.

3.- In the common areas of buildings, energy savings can be achieved by organising the lighting by sector, that is to say, by making only the lights near the buzzer light up at one time, and using automatic on/off lighting systems for transit areas.

4.- Another determining factor is taking advantage of natural light by installing and using systems to control and regulate the lighting in areas where natural light allows this.

Energy efficiency in electrical material affects, in addition, cables, meters, panels and cladding, small transformers, switches, etc. According to the Association of Manufacturers of Electrical Material (Asociación de Fabricantes de Material Eléctrico, AFME), choosing and installing the right electrical material can reduce energy losses within the electricity system by more than 75%.

5.- Domotics or home automation and control enables greater quality of life, reduces work and also rationalises energy consumption. In particular, according to IDEA it makes it possible to “manage lighting, air conditioning, hot water for sanitary use, watering, etc., intelligently, by leveraging natural resources and using lower cost tariffs to manage to reduce energy bills while gaining in comfort and safety”.

6.- A well-insulated building consumes less energy by maintaining the temperature inside better. For any building over 20 years old or which is not sufficiently insulated, thermal refurbishment can achieve savings of 50% of the energy consumed in heating and/or cooling the building. The insulation should include roofing, facades, hot water pipes, double-glazed windows and thermally broken frames, etc.

Planning and developing energy-saving measures in buildings improves comfort and wellbeing, reduces bills and benefits the environment directly by reducing energy consumption and, therefore, the emission of greenhouse gases.

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