How to save energy in offices and businesses

Published on Thursday, 11 July 2019

“The actions with the greatest impact for energy sustainability in the services sector are the replacement of air conditioning equipment with heat pumps, the improvement of lighting and, depending on the building and the city, self-consumption”

The comparative advantages of energy efficiency in the tertiary sector

In the services sector, energy sustainability actions have, in general, lower barriers to implementation than in the residential sector:

  • In general, buildings in the services sector are usually owned or managed by a single company or owner. Therefore, investment decisions do not require a large number of stakeholders, as residents' associations do in the residential sector. This facilitates and streamlines the process of implementing the necessary actions and measures.
  • Investment decisions are made on the basis of economic criteria, which helps decision-making with regard to initiatives that require high investment but will be profitable in the short or medium term.
  • Buildings in this sector consume more energy per unit of area, therefore the time to return on investment is shorter than in other infrastructures.
  • The renovation of equipment and buildings on the grounds of aesthetics or functionality occurs more frequently than in the residential sector. This is an opportunity to introduce energy sustainability criteria into these renovations.


How can energy efficiency be increased in the services sector?

As in the residential sector, energy efficiency in the tertiary sector requires the introduction of sustainability and energy efficiency criteria into construction in order to improve the conditions of the existing infrastructure stock.

Some recommendations for city councils and municipal administrations include:

  • Defining action plans at the municipal level that require consumption and emissions reductions and air quality improvements to be achieved.
  • Setting a target for 100% of buildings to have energy certificates by 2030.
  • Launching campaigns to inform the owners of the buildings about the measures introduced in the building action plans.
  • Establishing a schedule for restricting the marketing of inefficient equipment.
  • Promoting the incorporation of energy sustainability criteria into refurbishments that are carried out in buildings as a matter of course..
  • Supplementing the Technical Building Code for new buildings to establish restrictive limits on energy consumption, depending on the climate zone.
  • Encouraging the changing of current electrical tariffs so that they act as an effective price signal that does not penalise the adoption of electrical equipment over other, less sustainable options.