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Building Energy Efficiency: A View From Industry

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Buildings account for a total of about a third of total energy usage worldwide and also contribute to about 30% of energy-related carbon emissions. But are companies aware of the realities of energy efficiency? To investigate this topic, the GBPN commissioned the Economic Intelligence Unit to carry out a global survey of 423 real estate and construction executives in North America, Europe, India and China. This article explores its findings and highlights the opportunities for computational fluid dynamics tools.

Building Energy Efficiency & Climate Change

The GBPN is on a mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector through its Deep Path - an initiative that would result in 80% less energy demand from buildings globally.

The survey showed there was a large consensus among executives worldwide on the issue of climate change. In Europe, China and India, over 84% of respondents considered their carbon emissions associated with their business to be their responsibilities. In the US, 60% are likely to prioritize carbon emissions. 

This article explores how CFD simulation can play a role in helping businesses to better understand their energy efficiency realities through better HVAC analysis.

Are Companies Aware Of Their Building Energy Efficiency Levels?

The report showed that many companies are ill informed of their energy realities. Providing heating and cooling represents between 20 and 60% of a building's total energy use, however, one third of the respondents think this represents less than 20% of their building's energy budget and hence, underestimate the associated costs and potential for saving money with efficiency measures.

Many are also unclear about the cost of constructing energy efficiency buildings. 66% of respondents over estimate the cost, saying that energy efficient buildings cost more than 15% to build, compared to a standard building. The actual cost only varies between 5% to 15%.

75% of respondents welcome energy efficiency regulations. According to 34% of respondents, better enforcement of existing legislation could boost investments in energy efficiency. 68% of respondents think carbon taxes are helpful to drive investment into efficiency buildings. The same proportion believe that global agreements limiting carbon emissions would help to create a level playing field for businesses. 

Mitigation Potential for Energy Use

The global mitigation potential for energy use

With no or moderate action taken, there is a significant risk of locking in inefficiency and losing opportunities for carbon reductions from buildings for decades as highlighted below:

Graph of the LockIn Effect

Is Building Energy Efficiency Good For Business?

There is a clear message in the report that this message is gaining momentum across the built environment. 63% of respondents say that energy efficiency influences their investment decisions and this is true across all regions. Half of respondents are taking a long term view of investment. More than 50% of respondents are happy to tolerate payback terms of 5 years. In Europe, 30% of respondents are happy to tolerate payback terms of up to 10 years.

What Are Current Building Energy Efficiency Practices In Business?

4 in 10 respondents say that their company is currently going beyond equipment upgrades. Half of respondents are adding building insulation. Almost the same proportion are adopting more efficient HVAC systems and are replacing inefficient lighting. However, to move to the DEEP path, more needs to be done to encourage business to invest in DEEP retrofitting of existing buildings and net zero energy building. Many businesses are turning to technology such as CFD simulation, and cloud-hosted tools are making this technology more readily available than ever before. Learn more about CFD here or speak directly with Envenio today:

Discover The Benefits Of Simulation

Using CFD Simulation Tools For Building Energy Efficiency

CFD simulation tools like EXN/Aero have the potential to add further to a company's cost savings and to also contribute to a greater level of energy efficiency. This is particularly the case when early CFD analysis is carried out. Simulation tools enable designers to better understand their building and HVAC systems, prolong the lifespan of HVAC systems, and create the most energy efficient building possible through digital modelling and testing.

By simulating internal spaces in buildings, an in-depth understanding can be acquired relating to the distribution of temperature, solar radiation and airflows. In addition, both mechanical and natural ventilation systems can be effectively simulated to demonstrate heat transfer and air flow, helping to aid decisions around window ventilation and mechanical design. We recently explored air conditioning system design and optimisation with CFD simulation.

Real estate sectors and construction industries are at the forefront when it comes to designing, developing, constructing and managing the built environment so are central in shaping energy use. For this reason, more accessible and affordable simulation tools like EXN/Aero are becoming widely recognised as offering a greater level of building insight, informing more effective design and optimising HVAC systems to offer a higher level of energy efficiency. 

Try EXN/Aero: CFD Simulation In The Cloud

    Our general purpose, cost-effective CFD, cloud solver (EXN/Aero) reduces simulation times by up to 20x, and the platform includes a meshing tool, the solver, and a post-processing tool, as well as plenty of storage for your files. Hosted in the cloud, the pay-as-you-go model fits seamlessly into the workflow of engineering freelancers and consultancies alike.

There's no excuse to not being able to take advantage of simulation. Envenio has created the Onboarding Program to further assist those without CFD experience. Experienced engineers will help you to mesh, set up, simulate, and post-process to achieve and evaluate the best results of an active project, so you'll still be able to exceed expectations of clients and stakeholders. Alternatively, outsource your project with Envenio's Discovery Project.

Explore Onboarding

CFD Simulation in the Cloud

2018-10-2 | Categories: HVAC, architecture, BIM, energy efficiency

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