Decarbonize for a greener future

By: Leann Whalen, Building Products Marketing Director, Siemens Smart Infrastructure USA

April is known as “Earth Month” and provides an opportunity to reflect on how everyone plays an important role to preserve the planet by addressing climate change concerns.


Buildings are responsible for about 36% of global energy consumption and almost 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions over their lifecycle*.   Decarbonization is a journey. One of the levers to successful decarbonization includes energy efficiency in both existing buildings and new construction. Even small improvements in building operations and energy consumption make a difference.


Here are some ways to reduce a building’s carbon footprint: 

  • Upgrade HVAC controls – no matter the building size, there are opportunities to optimize HVAC equipment with better control.  There are millions of aging rooftop units in the United States not operating efficiently that can be addressed with a retrofit control solution that is budget-friendly for the building owner and easy for contractors to install and manage to improve performance.  For larger building systems, newer controllers available have more processing power and flexibility to adapt to new system configurations.  Connected lighting and shade control also delivers efficiency gains. Read how Bull Valley Country Club and Bangor Savings Bank are seeing green with new approaches to RTU equipment and room optimization.     

  • Adopt standardized HVAC control sequences – Uniform sequences of operation help maximize energy efficiency and performance in a building's HVAC system. ASHRAE published Guideline 36 to help engineers deliver better project specifications for building systems. This enables manufacturers to develop and test applications to deliver proven solutions that deliver optimized HVAC efficiency.  

  • Improve building performance visibility – monitoring electrical power combined with building automation helps to balance energy consumption while ensuring occupant comfort.  Fully- integrated building management systems provide easy visualization of energy consumption trends and mitigate costly problems. It doesn’t have to be daunting project to improve managing building data from old or new systems. With the right insights, the Renasant Convention Center was able to reduce chilled water usage while adding square footage and thermal load. 

  • Use the right valves for precise control in hydronic systems – Hydronic flow optimization is a prime way to reduce HVAC energy consumption up to 30%, while increasing building efficiency, operational performance and overall comfort. Pressure independent control valves have greater control accuracy and simplify regulating flow, which prevents over-and under-supply of heating or cooling energy.  

With systematic approaches adapted to a building’s lifecycle supported by reliable HVAC devices, automation controls and software solutions, you can turn your building into a green machine that is energy efficient without compromising on comfort or occupant satisfaction. 



*Source: IEA (2019), Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction 2019, IEA, Paris .