Highlight heat loss – Thermography

Highlight heat loss – Thermography

by Steph Marshall | on Dec 05, 2013 | 4 Comments

Is your building leaking energy like a bucket full of holes?

Unlike a bucket a building does not show visible signs of where energy is escaping, the best tool for detecting this heat loss is thermography.

Now is the time to have your building assessed using infrared thermography.   It is essential that there is a 10 degree variation between internal and external temperatures for the equipment to perform at its best.

Some areas that can be highlighted with the use of a thermographic survey:

  • Missing or insufficient insulation
  • Damp and condensation
  • Doors and windows with poor seals
  • Leaking gutters
  • Underfloor heating problems
  • Leaking pipes
  • Heating under performing
  • Blockages in pipes
  • Mechanical or electrical overheating

Thermal imaging is developing at a rapid rate and is able to show a huge array of problems that could remain undetected.  The most important aspect of any thermal survey is to ensure the operator is fully trained and experienced in the use of the equipment.

Whilst thermography is a great tool it certainly does not negate the need for an Energy Audit. An energy audit covers a range of areas from processes to people.  Please do give us a call if you would like further information about thermography or our energy audit services.

Education the key to a Green Economy.

by Steph Marshall | on Nov 25, 2013 | No Comments

The best new technologies and innovations will always need people to be aware of how to get the best from them. Explaining how energy efficient technology works and inspiring people to take their own steps toward reducing the carbon footprint of the building they work in, is an essential feature of a sustainable business. It is also one of the hidden benefits of operating a green business and is proven to be a great way of motivating employees.

Simple energy saving initiatives like;

  • Switching lights off

  • Only boiling the amount of water needed

  • Printing in black and white only and on both sides of a piece of paper

These are all basic examples of how we can reduce the resources we consume on a daily basis. Of course, this will help save your business money as well as your expenditure on office supplies, utility bills and ink cartridges.

These simple steps although small, taken on their own, all have an incremental effect that can lead to large gains in both the micro and macro economic environment.  To learn more about what Retrostructure can do to help unlock the potential of your employees have a look at our Employee Engagement page

Research into the macro economic environment and “green issues” really started to gain ground as a scientific subject that evolved from economic literature after the 1973 oil crisis. The British Institute of Energy Economics website www.biee.org holds further information and resources relating to energy supply in the United Kingdom.

Their remit is to bring together a different discipline of academic research, industry experience, financial data and government policy to exchange ideas and information. Another term often used in relation to sustainability issues is the green economy.

This is a system that encourages the use of green initiatives to improve human well-being and society. The goals of green economics include working toward zero carbon emissions through a sustainable society and economy that uses new technologies and renewable energy sources.

To understand the changes that you could make to your working environment that make business sense and help move you towards being a more sustainable business, get in touch with us at Retrostructure to chat about your requirements (01273) 358 534 or email sayhello@nullretrostructure.com

 

When the Wind Blows…(and when it doesn’t…)

by Steph Marshall | on Nov 22, 2013 | No Comments

Right now the UK seems to have more windmills than a Delfte dinner set. Not that one could easily mistake today’s great turbines for the shortbread tin affairs of the past.

In fact chief among the many criticisms these huge ivory towers have been facing of late is their aesthetic appeal, but love or loathe them, and it seems that most folks are in one of those two camps, there is one question which can’t really be avoided:

What does happen when the wind stops blowing?

Traditionally this has always been the trouble in paradise, (and anywhere else that uses wind turbines) and traditionally the answer has been sordidly simple.

Without the wind, those who rely on wind towers have to turn back to the national grid, like the rest of us, but that might all be about to change for a small island community on the west coast of Scotland, as a new scheme begins piloting this month on the island of Ghia.

The plan is to create a massive store of underground batteries which will store the excess energy the turbines provide when conditions are good. This extra energy, which is currently redirected onto the mainland and fed into the national grid via a cable link, would instead be stored in the vast banks of batteries.

As it stands, when there is excess power, much of it is wasted as the cable link has a high power limit that can’t handle a good deal of the energy provided by the turbines.

The battery project, which will cost 2.5 million pounds , is backed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and should finally solve the problem of what to do with all that wasted energy.

If the project is a success it is likely we will see it rolled out across the country. We will be watching with baited breath.

If you would like to discuss with us any aspect of energy efficiency please call or email us….01273 358 534 info@nullretrostructure.com

Turn it off

by Steph Marshall | on Nov 19, 2013 | No Comments

Take the Power back…

No matter what way you look at it, 2014 will be an interesting year for the big utility providers. Ofwat, the water regulator, has just thrown sand in the face of its energy counterpart Ofgen by halting Thames Water’s 8% proposed price hike in its tracks, and just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, the National Grid is predicting the highest chances of winter black outs in a decade.

What can we do in the face of all this doom and gloom?

Well this old mantra springs to mind… ‘Turn up, tune in and opt out…’

The traditional barriers to alternative energy are coming down as fast as the price of oil is going up. (Not that it actually is, but that’s another story…)

You can pick up solar panels from Ikea now and the UK seems to have more windmills than Holland ever did.

So as the hedge-fund managers lick their wounds and before they catch a whiff of the solar powered gravy train, there really has never been a better time to get yourself an energy assessment. It’s time to shave a shoe size off your company’s carbon footprint.

But before you get the chequebook out, there’s always room for a little bit of housekeeping.

Here’s three ways of reducing energy for free…

  1. Turn it off – And we don’t mean put it on standby, devices with standby capabilities will do nothing more useful than a device which has been fully switched off and can cost you as much as 80% in energy as if were on… If in doubt switch it off at the plug. This applies equally to domestic and commercial energy bills.

 

  1. Turn it down – Every degree that your thermostat runs higher than is necessary costs up to 8% more on your fuel bills.

 

  1. Turn your hand to insulation. A professional solution will always be more effective, but there are simple ways to plug leaks and you wouldn’t believe how much heat you can lose through a single open window.

 

For a detailed assessment for your company give us a call…01273 358 534 or email info@nullretrostructure.com

 

Energy efficiency top 3 essentials.

by Steph Marshall | on Nov 11, 2013 | No Comments

energyefficiency

While the energy of the Universe is consistent, we always lose some when we are converting one source to another. We still have to pay for this energy, both financially and ecologically, even though it is effectively being wasted. The traditional light bulb is a good example of how energy can easily be wasted. When we turn a halogen light on, around 90% of the energy used makes heat energy rather than the light energy that we want. Energy efficiency savings can often be achieved through retrofitting existing building spaces to improve heat retention and energy use.

Common examples of improvements include:

  • Efficient Equipment

New technology is responsible for increasingly efficient equipment that operates using a much lower power supply.

Meanwhile pressure to reduce energy waste has resulted in devices that improve the conversion rate of fossil fuels – new condensing boilers that use up the latent heat produced before it is released back into the outside air, are a good example of this.

  • Thermal Insulation

In the UK building regulations define the standard that buildings should comply with in relation to thermal insulation. The external surfaces of a building are frequently the most vulnerable are in relation to heat loss. Increasing the efficiency of thermal layers by introducing cavity wall insulation, double-glazed windows and doors, carpets and wall cladding can have a significant impact on lowering heat loss and creating a more comfortable and consistent internal environment.

  • Ventilation

Ventilation is needed for removing old stale air from a building. However frequently the air contains valuable heat energy. Techniques such as fitting airtight seals around doorways and windows, sealing certain air spaces like lobbies and receptions as well as controlling ventilation systems can improve the airflow while retaining heat.

The more energy efficient your business is – the less money is wasted unnecessarily.

 

Often the efficiency of a building requires an initial outlay to improve existing structures or layouts. The results can be instant or they can provide a longer-term return on your investment. It is important to select the most appropriate systems for a specific building. If care is not taken to make an informed choice you could be wasting more energy (and spending more money) on systems that are unsuitable for your building and business needs. If in doubt consult the team at Retrostructure for a talk through your requirements (01273) 358 534.

 

Does Your Server Room Really Need Air Conditioning?

by Steph Marshall | on Nov 07, 2013 | 1 Comments

Your server room is the heart of your business so if anything happens to it, you’re at risk of losing all of your precious data. One of the biggest risks to your server room is excess heat, which can cause damage to the hardware, random reboots and overall poor performance. As every server is working 24 hours a day and constantly producing heat as it does so, it is a continual balancing act to keep your servers at an optimum temperature and prevent over-heating. Although some people recommend not allowing your server room to be warmer than 23 degrees Celsius, there are several companies who have reported temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius without any issues. One example of this is Facebook who have done away with the traditional method of air conditioning for their data centres in favour of alternative methods.

Although air conditioning has become a lot more energy and cost efficient over the past decade, it is still very costly to both your business and to the environment. The units contain ammonia, Freon and chlorofluorohydrocarbons (CFCs) which are harmful to people and the ozone layer. Switching from air conditioning units to simply fanning in fresh, outside air can reduce the cost of keeping your server room cool by around 85% which means a huge cut to your energy costs. They can be used throughout the night so there is no longer a need to leave air conditioners running 24/7 just because your servers are.

One of the methods used by Facebook to prevent their servers from over-heating whilst doing away with the air conditioners is to rearrange the equipment so that it almost keeps itself cool and helps to aid air flow. Similarly, these principles can be utilised throughout your office so you can decrease your energy bills even more and shrink your carbon footprint. An Energy Consultant can come up with innovative changes that can utilise strategies like these and save you money and energy both in your server room and throughout your office.

As well as the environmental impact of air conditioning, it can cause cold and flu symptoms and the sudden change in temperature can lower people’s immune symptoms, all of which can add up to a lot of extra sick days being taken. You will be surprised at how much money you will save without sacrificing comfort when you explore alternative cooling and ventilation options.

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