The price of electricity is rising and has reached an all-time high. The 5th of September, 2021 saw the most expensive Monday ever with the price reaching 132.65 Euros per megawatt hour (Mwh), a price that has quadrupled since this time last year, when a daily price of 31.67 Euros per Mwh was recorded, according to data from Europa Press. Your electricity bill is now very different to how it used to be, and therefore, as individuals we are aware of this and try to ensure that our invoice at the end of the month is not exorbitant and try to reduce our use where possible; we use low consumption lights, we buy efficient devices, we respect the time slots for using household appliances. However, what happens in our Communities and our buildings? What can we do to reduce the Community bill and save energy?
40 % of the total energy consumption of the European Union is for buildings, according to the European Parliament. Therefore, the Sustainable Development Objectives (SDO) which it has proposed to combat climate change until 2030, include an improvement of at least 30% in energy efficiency.
In this sense, the Communities of Property Owners have a lot to contribute. The energy efficiency of new buildings has become a priority due to regulations following the New Spanish Technical Building Code (TBC), approved in 2019. However, many of the buildings constructed between 1960 and 1980 do not have energy efficiency standards. They are old buildings that consume a great deal of energy because of bad insulation, old heating systems, inefficient lift mechanisms and inadequate electricity installations. If your building fits this description, don’t worry because there is a solution. If you carry out an energy rehabilitation of the building you will save energy, reduce the price of your electricity bill and help to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere… It has become necessary to save energy in all Communities of Property Owners.
In this article we offer you some ideas and action you can take to make savings for communities who wish to improve the efficiency of their common areas. Remember that the more savings measures are used, the less the community will spend on bills and the more money will then be available to carry out necessary work or refurbishment in your community.
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Energy-saving measures in Communities of Property Owners
If you install solar panels you can use the energy generated for common elements of the building like the lift, garage or lighting of the passageways. Or for common consumption of the community like hot water or heating. Another possibility is to use the energy produced for individual properties. This option is completely compatible with the previous option and requires the installation of individual meters in each home. At Mediterráneo we support encouraging the use of sustainable resources, believing they are a long-term investment and not just an expense.
Control over electricity use in common areas
- Changing conventional light bulbs for LEDs or low consumption bulbs, which leads to savings of up to 80%. Fluorescent tubes, putting LEDs in the garage lighting system.
- Creating lighting sections and installing presence sensors for the lighting of common areas.
- Tailoring the electric power contracted to the actual use of the community.
- Placing time switches and/or photoelectric cells for exterior lighting
Measures for heating, air conditioning and windows
- Thermal insulation of the façades. Insulating the façade with an internal thermal insulation, as well as having an air chamber, can result in energy savings in heating of up to 50%.
- Using centralised heating and hot water installations.
- Replacing old windows with new efficient windows.
PVC or aluminium with double glazing and thermal bridging. Our heating needs are caused by the loss of heat through windows.
First of all we need to know the current situation of the community. One good solution is to carry out an energy audit and pay for the services of an energy auditor. As with everything, this involves a cost, however, it’s not that large a cost compared with the huge amount of money this will save in your electricity bill.
This detailed study of the energy consumption of your property will allow you to implement a series of measures resulting in rational energy use and reduced energy consumption.
An energy manager or assessor is similar to an auditor, but they are not the same. Once we have a detailed study from the energy auditor, the energy manager is responsible for providing advice and proposing general savings measures such as: seeing if you can lower the amount of power contracted, installation of movement sensors…, following up on the project and the measures to be implemented, supervising the implementation and confirming that everything is working correctly. In a nutshell, this person is in charge of activating and executing the plan.
The most important thing when starting to save energy in communities is raising the awareness of the people in the community. You need to understand that energy efficiency does not happen without awareness raising. And it’s not easy. Communities have people living together who have very different mentalities and customs, and some of these habits are more deep-rooted than we realise. It is vital for families to be aware that how they use the communal facilities, day to day, has a direct effect on the energy costs of the community.
Ask your Mediterráneo Administrator how you can make your Community more energy efficient and become part of the change to Smart Communities.