TM Consulting uses energy efficiency to save on build cost and construction time
Energy efficiency can deliver spectacular and unexpected wins for commercial building developers that want to keep capital costs down, minimise build time, and make their building attractive to tenants.
A Christchurch property developer initially turned down the offer to model energy usage on the new office block he was building in the city – he did not see the benefit to himself in spending more capital on construction to lower the tenants’ electricity bills.
Plus, he was concerned that every week spent redesigning a project that was already under construction to achieve a more efficient development, was a week of lost rent.
But what if energy efficiency changes could be integrated that actually saved him some serious dollars on his upfront construction costs? And what if he didn’t lose any time on the build?
TM Consultants Ltd knew they could show significant savings on both the construction costs and the operational energy costs that would change his mind.
Using sophisticated energy modelling software, TM Consultants demonstrated how heating and cooling (HVAC) needs for the building could be reduced by more than half, from 120 Watts/m2, to 55 Watts/m2.
With HVAC equipment required now half the size, the installed cost of $300/m2 could be reduced to $180/m2 reflecting a saving of approximately $300,000. It’s hardly a surprise that the property developer went ahead with the revised design.
What’s more, the HVAC system took up less room, providing valuable extra space that could be rented out, and the smaller build reduced the construction time by two weeks – meaning tenants could be in the building that much sooner.
The capital cost savings were used to cover the costs of automated lighting systems and heat recovery on the fresh air supplies. The tenants would gain annual energy savings of $3,200 for automated lighting, $3,400 for heat recovery, and $4,400 for changing the system from single-split heat pumps to multi-split type $4,400 for changing the system from single-split heat pumps to multi-split type.
The developer then saw the prospect of a good NABERSNZ energy performance rating. He saw this as lowering his vacancy risk because tenants are attracted to efficiently performing buildings.
There are significant energy saving opportunities in commercial building construction and this example shows that decisions made during design and construction can benefit both developers and tenants.