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How monitoring indoor air quality saves energy & other business costs

Marie Bannister

Marie Bannister

November 29, 2021

Monitoring indoor air quality isn’t just another added expense. It could be the key to saving energy and cutting costs across your business. 

Buildings and construction represent 40% of of energy related CO2 emissions

City illustration

Yes really, 40%, according to the Global Status Report. [1] With buildings creating the lion share of global emissions, it's important to make them as sustainable as possible. As we know, there is a vast amount of energy needed to not only construct a building, but to run it. Saving the unnecessary cost of energy wastage to both budgets and to the environmental impact is therefore a win-win.  After all, the majority of buildings are already built, and air quality monitoring will give you the data to make small changes and reduce unnecessary energy wastage.

Seize the advantage in a tough environment

In a competitive business environment, every advantage counts. Many organizations spend more than they need to on energy and other costs. For example, a study conducted in five UK cities found that companies were paying about £60 million ($85 million) in unnecessary energy bills every year.[1.5] 

This financial burden means some businesses are working at a constant disadvantage, which can become unsustainable, particularly in such a tough economic landscape.

We even saw this in the height of the pandemic. Back in April 2020, we saw Norwegian businesses temporarily closing, but the buildings still ran as normal. Generating an enormous amount of wasted energy. 

With this in mind, it might be easy to dismiss monitoring indoor air quality as simply another extra cost. But in fact, it could be the key to unlocking massive savings. Indoor air quality and energy efficiency are closely linked. 

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), how can you improve it?

Many office buildings still use preset timers or even manual controls to operate HVAC, lights, and other services that consume energy. As mentioned, the cost of these services could be 20-40% lower if energy consumption was matched with occupancy.[3] If the workplace is empty, no need to power f

At a shared office premises in Bergen, Norway, Airthings for Business indoor air quality monitors were linked to the building’s existing Building Management System (BMS). This allowed the automation of day, night, and weekend HVAC modes, resulting in an energy saving of 20%.[4] Plans are now in place to trigger heating and ventilation automatically, when the first person arrives in the morning.

The ‘Proptech’ project showed that new technology can work alongside legacy systems to create a ‘smart building’ that quickly produces savings.

temperature office

Lighting accounts for 17% of all energy consumption

In the US, to take one prominent example, lighting accounts for 17% of all electricity consumption in commercial buildings. It might seem like an obvious point, but it’s possible to save money in your office if the lights are turned off or dimmed when they are not being used.

The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (UK) suggests that proper lighting controls can reduce energy use by up to 60%.[5] This is a clear win when it comes to the smart use of occupancy data and releasing indoor air quality cost savings.AS - AT - How monitoring indoor air quality can save energy-insert-2

A healthier, more productive workforce

The statistics clearly show that employees are happier, healthier, and more productive when their employer monitors and improves indoor air quality. A study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that better air boosted decision-making scores by 101% and resulted in a $17,000 annual improvement in productivity per employee.[9]

In addition, enhanced indoor air quality means your staff take fewer sick days. The World Green Building Council estimated that a healthier work environment reduced sick leave by 58%, in a 2018 report.[10]

These statistics aren’t just theoretical either: there’s a measurable ROI. Spending US $40 per person per year on indoor air quality results in a $6,500 increase in employee productivity, according to research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.[11]

AS - AT - Better air, better care - Why indoor air quality in health care facilities is vital-insert-2

How has Airthings for Business helped reduce energy in buildings?

  • Frydenbø had a bold goal of reduced their energy consumption by 16% with Airthings for Business. Read the case study here. 

  • Proptech Bergenslashed energy costs by 20%, just by dropping the night-time and weekend temperatures by 4 degrees. Read the case study here.
  • $23,250 in Energy Savings realized by Morgan schools with the assistance of Airthings for Business solution. Read the case study here. 
Case studies


Find out how the Airthings for Business solution can help your business save energy and other business costs today. Contact us.

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Sources

[1 ]https://c2e2.unepdtu.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/11/gabc-global-status-report.pdf

1.5 https://www.energylivenews.com/2020/01/22/wasted-energy-costing-businesses-60m-a-year-in-unnecessary-bills/

[2] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325373834_Data-Driven_Models_for_Building_Occupancy_Estimation

[3] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325373834_Data-Driven_Models_for_Building_Occupancy_Estimation

[4] https://www.enova.no/privat/alle-energitiltak/redusere-eller-styre-stromforbruket/varmestyringssystem-/

[5] https://www.cibsejournal.com/cpd/modules/2010-11/

[6] https://hbr.org/1993/05/uncovering-your-hidden-occupancy-costs

[7] https://www.cityam.com/coming-or-going-aviva-the-latest-to-cut-office-space-as-rival-bosses-say-remote-working-cant-last/

[8] https://wrap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-10/WRAP-The%20True%20Cost%20of%20Food%20Waste%20within%20Hospitality%20and%20Food%20Service%20Sector%20FINAL.pdf

[9] https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1510037

[10] https://www.worldgbc.org/news-media/doing-right-planet-and-people-business-case-health-and-wellbeing-green-building

[11] https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/12/11/14709/htm

 

 

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