In business, your employees are expected to perform certain tasks and bring value to your company within a specific realm of responsibility. In general, you would not choose to continue paying an employee if the tasks were not performed to an acceptable standard, or if they became increasingly expensive with no parallel increase in the value they bring to the company. That would simply be poor business sense, right?
Yet everyday we do this with our buildings. All those ‘employees’, from HVAC equipment to lighting systems to refrigerators, all work pretty well when they are fresh out of the box (unless of course you were unlucky enough to choose a dud that gives sub-par performance from the start). But after a few years, their productivity tends to decline. They often require more maintenance or perform to a lower standard while using the same or more energy. You end up paying more for less, often without even noticing.
Replacing employees, like replacing equipment, is often a very expensive endeavour. Incentive programs and extra training are options for getting more value out of existing employees. Retrofitting is the equivalent of an incentive program for existing equipment.
Retrofits provide an economical solution to the problem of ageing equipment that is becoming less and less energy efficient. By implementing proven retrofits, building owners can make tremendous improvements in the efficiency of their older equipment- frequently raising it above the bar set at the time of installation. Even for new equipment, retrofits can often still bring energy efficiency gains, since retrofits often apply advanced or ‘smarter’ technology above and beyond the basics included in the new equipment.
As long as your existing equipment is still functional, retrofitting is going to be your best bet for becoming more energy efficient and saving more money on your utility bill.
Next week, I’ll explore retrofits in more detail, highlighting areas of any building that can be easily retrofitted to solve the problem of paying more for less.