Why Retrofitting Your Building is a Smart Investment
By Greg Hermanowycz | November 30, 2021
Read Time: 4 Minutes
An investment-grade audit is the first step toward answering that question. An audit gathers information about all aspects of your facility, including the age of current systems and what components or procedures are lacking. A comprehensive audit lays the groundwork for an improvement plan and identifies retrofit opportunities to save money and energy and improve efficiencies.
Here’s why an audit-driven retrofit should be on the top of your to-do list this year.
Building systems and equipment are some of the biggest energy consumers, which is why retrofitting them can result in huge efficiency gains.
Some buildings can be retrofitted to reach net-zero status or close to it, which is good for the bottom line and helps achieve sustainability goals. Net-zero buildings create as much energy as they consume, bringing lasting savings and sustainability benefits.
Even if creating a net-zero building is not your immediate goal, you can improve efficiency and save money in smaller, yet still significant, ways.
A retrofit can reduce energy use, reduce maintenance costs and improve operations.
It does not have to cost a bundle. In many instances, a positive cash flow transaction is possible due to the energy savings and reduction in maintenance expense. A report from The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) estimates that installing smart building technologies can translate to serious energy savings, including 18% in HVAC costs, 28% in plug load (think: computer workstations) and 33% in lighting energy.
Energy Conservation Measures and Technology Work Together
On the most basic level, smart building technology and energy conservation measures enhance the indoor environment. They also improve the well-being and productivity of your staff and can do much more than that.
Comprehensive energy-efficient retrofits may include smart meters, water conservation systems, LED lighting, heating and cooling system enhancements, peak demand avoidance systems, disinfection systems, compressed air optimization, rooftop coatings, solar panels, and EV chargers among other things.
Smart meters capture detailed data from these systems and relay it to networked building controls that make the information actionable. Facility managers can remotely monitor and adjust conditions such as temperature, airflow, humidity, lighting and electricity usage, water usage and physical disposition, such as open doors or windows.
Energy-efficient systems managed by smart building controls provide many benefits, including:
- Energy optimization: Reduced energy consumption will make your operations more sustainable. For example, advanced lighting controls can reduce your lighting load by 60% or more.
- Improved site safety: A retrofit can improve conditions in high-hazard areas while saving energy. For example, lighting controls can automatically set appropriate brightness at the right times in places like shop floors and parking lots.
- Increase productivity: Ensuring optimal conditions such as temperature and lighting in work environments can improve employee comfort, satisfaction and productivity.
- Lower maintenance costs: Today’s products last longer and require less maintenance. In addition, when smart meter sensors relay real-time data about energy use, facility managers can act on that information, leading to improved processes and reduced costs.
- Financial incentives: Installing energy-efficiency upgrades such as LED lighting can qualify a company for rebates from utility companies, states and municipalities. There are also state and federal tax-incentive programs to encourage energy optimization.
Texas-based H-E-B grocery chain entrusted Wesco's energy solutions team to retrofit more than 300 locations, the latest success story in a 25-year partnership. The most recent phase included 30 stores resulting in outstanding energy savings. "An average size store reduced energy use by more than 1.3M kWh annually, lowering maintenance expenses and allowing H-E-B to benefit from utility rebates," says Dave Alpert, Western US Sales Manager, Wesco Energy Solutions. H-E-B is committed to sustainability and vows to improve the chain’s operational efficiency, financial performance, and environmental footprint.
Experts in Financial Management and Executing Multi-facility Upgrades
Wesco's energy solutions team serves many multi-facility clients in various market verticals such as education, corporate, and federal government. Completing more than 4,232 sites annually around the globe, we successfully meet the challenges of multi-facility clients with industry-leading programs, expertise and service models.
One of our clients is a large global industrial real estate company. In recent years, they have made it a priority to establish LED as a standard across all their facilities. We have been working with them across multiple sites and states simultaneously to provide site surveys, customer design, product specification, photometric and energy calculations, and installation. Their average energy savings per site typically exceeds 40-50%.
Our team excels in project management, communication and customer service. We also have a dedicated rebate team that supports our clients by applying for all available rebates and incentives in order to achieve the highest overall savings. We want to help our clients reduce energy and maintenance costs and see the benefits of their smart investment.
In addition to rebates, there are no-cash-upfront options, such as a capital lease, an operating lease or an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) that finance improvements through the energy cost savings achieved over time.
Wesco is your partner in making the retrofit run smoothly. That includes helping you navigate the process of paying for it.
An increased focus on sustainability worldwide means there will likely be new initiatives and incentives in the coming years. Wesco is the experienced partner who will make your energy upgrade a great success. Our outstanding team looks forward to serving you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Hermanowycz is the Director of Technology and Project Development for Wesco's energy solutions team. He brings more than 30 years of experience in international and domestic business leadership, sales, operations/post-sales support, architecture/lighting design, and project management. Greg received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the New York Institute of Technology and holds certifications from NCQLP, LEED AP, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the IES. He is dedicated to innovative and energy-efficient solutions with a customer focus.