pwcAs modernized mandates are enacted that require new buildings to implement energy efficient standards, companies from throughout the world (and as close as Scottsdale) are showing that you definitely can teach an older building new tricks. In fact, the most energy efficient building in the world was built over 20 years ago.

The corporate headquarters for London, England-based PwC have been renovated to implement some of the greenest practices in the architectural community. The renovation is expected to increase the efficiency of the building so much that it will actually decrease the company’s energy bills by almost 200 percent.

So how did the UK-based company implement such impactful changes to a building that is more than two decades old? And how can it happen here in Scottsdale?

The most substantial structural changes to the PwC building stem from the installation of large panels that generate electricity to power the building. The panels are not powered by the energy grid, but create their own energy that reduces the net consumption of the building. Even though the structure is not brand new, it is now able to create 60 percent of its own energy. Less than half of the building’s energy is supplied from sources beyond the actual structure.

The decrease in outside energy consumption has provided the business with the highest ranking through the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEM. No other structure in the world has ever scored higher.

The renovations included a heating and cooling system that is powered by recycled vegetable oil rather than a traditional power source. Flooring has been changed out for greener options and typical HVAC systems for cooling are now replaced with high-tech chiller beams.

How does a building in the UK affect architecture in the United States? The green technology in the UK is also available for building renovations in Scottsdale. Even for those who aren’t running a multibillion dollar business, there are still substantial benefits from upgrading fixtures and appliances to more energy efficient options. A replacement HVAC unit could seem like a substantial out-of-pocket investment, but it could save thousands quickly by reducing overall energy consumption.

Similarly, retrofitting lights in your Scottsdale-based company can substantially reduce electricity bills and consumption.

Energy usage extends well beyond the buildings, however, and parking lots, streets and outdoor venues on the premises can also benefit from the type of improvement that come with new lighting options.

Up to 40 percent of energy consumption comes from lighting costs, and that 40 percent can be reduced by up to 80 percent with the correct fixtures. Imagine that a large company is paying $4,000 per month for electricity out of their $10,000 per month power bill. LED fixtures can reduce the monthly energy charges to as low as $800 per month and reduce the total power bill to $6,800 per month. Those reductions just represent one of the many changes that can be made.

Companies throughout Scottsdale may not have the ample resources to install options that will reduce their energy consumption to a net-zero level, but there are plenty of readily available options that will pay for themselves within two years due to the reduction in energy costs. As the out-of-pocket for installation of energy efficient options like retrofitted LED fixtures goes down regularly, companies throughout Scottsdale will soon be treating these options as the standard rather than a luxury.

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