Greening Existing Operations
It is possible to improve the environmental “footprint” of existing buildings—a practice known as “greening.” The greening of existing buildings requires different approaches and technologies than with new buildings. In most cases, the building structure and systems must remain as is, and sustainability options must fit within these constraints. On the other hand, existing buildings present opportunities for improvement in building operations and occupant behaviour to minimize environmental impact.
Greening existing operations begins with an energy audit to reduce energy consumption and a green audit to identify opportunities to reduce operational waste, improve the indoor environment and reduce building environmental impacts. Often, the most cost-effective option is to re-commission the building systems. As buildings age and maintenance staff change, the building systems no longer function as originally intended, and this can result in high energy use, poor air quality and increased maintenance costs. Re-commissioning corrects these problems and ensures that current maintenance staff understand how the building should be operated and maintained.
More comprehensive measures can be implemented during building renovation. As part of the renovations, improvements in the building envelope and mechanical and electrical systems can be easily and cost-effectively implemented. The choice of renovation materials can have a large impact on indoor air quality, durability and maintenance. Enermodal maintains an extensive list of suitable renovation materials with assessments based on first-hand experience. Finally, Enermodal develops and implements construction and operational waste management plans to achieve over 90% waste diversion.
Enermodal assisted St Mary’s Hospital to green their operations. The hospital was being renovated as part of an expansion process. Enermodal conducted an audit of the operation and assisted in the implementation of a wide range of measures to improve the indoor environment and reduce operating costs. Measures included design and construction management of new energy efficient windows, re-commissioning of HVAC systems, ventilation heat recovery and lighting upgrades. Currently, Enermodal is the sustainability consultant for the renovation of the 700,000 ft2 former Nortel offices in Ottawa. Enermodal is developing operational and construction waste management plans, selecting low off-gassing materials and identifying opportunities for energy and water savings.