Here are six top tips to help you choose site accommodation that will deliver the energy and carbon savings required to achieve the construction industry’s environmental targets.
1. Look for proven energy-saving performance
Building suppliers claiming to offer cabins that deliver reduced energy consumption should be able to back up their claims with real, verifiable figures on energy use and carbon emissions compared with standard site cabins. Reputable suppliers should be able to provide this information and to make clear the assumptions on which these comparisons are based. Some companies can even provide site cabins with A-rated Energy Performance Certificates – which is the highest, independently verified rating possible. Remember to always ask to see the EPC certificate as proof of this claim.
A good energy-saving building should offer reductions in energy consumption of at least 30% over a standard, non-energy-efficient cabin. Even greater energy savings are achievable with more advanced buildings incorporating more energy-saving features. However, make sure that any claims about the buildings you choose are backed up by technical evidence from your supplier.
Look for technical information such as U-values, which indicate the energy efficiency of a building– the lower the number the better. Reputable suppliers should be able to provide these values for their buildings, enabling you to make direct comparisons between building specifications.
Energy-saving figures can be extrapolated to weekly, monthly or annual savings to provide easy to- digest information on what the savings will mean for your business.
As well as savings in energy, it’s helpful to find out the environmental benefits of your chosen energy-saving buildings. For example, how many tonnes of CO2 will you save over a year? These figures can help you to measure your environmental impact more effectively, calculate your carbon footprint and report accurately on your performance.
2. Check the building specification for energy-efficient features
The best energy-saving site cabins combine a host of proven features that contribute to the energy efficiency of the building. Some features to look out for include:
• Upgraded insulation in walls, floors and roofs to reduce heat loss. For minimal environmental impact, insulation materials should be CFC-free and ozone friendly, with an ozone depleting potential of zero
• Double-glazed windows to reduce heat loss and prevent draughts
• High-frequency energy-efficient lighting with passive infrared (PIR) motion detectors, which ensure lights are only switched on when needed
• Intelligent, thermostatically controlled heating systems, to optimise energy use and minimise waste
• Time-clock regulated heating to ensure heaters are not left on when buildings are unoccupied
The best site accommodation suppliers will be able to provide a full list of energy-saving features and technology installed in their buildings. They will also be able to provide detailed technical information on request. Don’t rely on vague marketing claims – ask for evidence of proven energy-saving performance.
3. Look for water-saving building features
Choosing environmentally friendly site buildings is not just about reducing energy use and carbon emissions. Water is another precious resource that needs to be preserved, and choosing a building with water-saving features will enhance your sustainability credentials.
Any energy-saving building that incorporates toilets, showers, washbasins and any other running water should feature water-saving technology. As with energy savings, ask your building supplier for information on water-saving performance compared with a standard building specification.
Some of the water-saving features to look out for include:
• Low-volume dual-flush WC systems – to minimise water used for flushing
• Passive infrared (PIR) controlled urinal cisterns – so that urinals are only swilled when necessary
• Push-button taps on washbasins – so that water is never left running
4. Ask your supplier for proof of cost savings
As well as delivering energy, water and carbon savings, energy-efficient buildings will also help you to save money. Simply by consuming less electricity and water, these buildings will enable you to reduce your running costs. An intelligently designed, good-quality energy-saving building should reduce your running costs by at least 30%, which can equate to hundreds of pounds in savings over a year.
Your building supplier should be able to provide indicative cost savings for its energy-efficient buildings. It should also make it clear what these calculations are based on, so you can make accurate comparisons between buildings.
5. Ensure your buildings meet recognised environmental standards
Find out if the energy-saving buildings offered by your supplier meet any internationally recognised standards for energy performance and environmental protection. In particular, look out for:
• ISO 14001 accreditation for control of environmental impact. This proves that your supplier has an effective environmental management system and policy in place, demonstrating compliance with environmental laws and regulations.
• Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), which provide independent verification that a building delivers the stated energy savings. Like refrigerators and other white goods, buildings are given an EPC rating from A to G for energy efficiency. Buildings rated ‘C’ or above will provide good energy savings. The highest rating is ‘A’, which is awarded to the most energy-efficient buildings, delivering the greatest savings.
Any building that has been assessed and awarded an Energy Performance Certificate will have been allocated a unique certificate number. Any supplier claiming that their buildings have an EPC rating should be able to provide you with the certificate and unique number to authenticate their claims.
You can check certificate numbers on www.ndepcregister.com/searchReport.html
Finally, find out if the buildings or building supplier have won or been shortlisted for any energy efficiency or sustainability industry awards. These independently judged awards are a good indication of the relative success of your supplier in delivering proven environmental benefits to customers.
6. Maintain your high quality standards
When you are focusing on choosing site buildings for their energy-saving performance, make sure you don’t neglect other essential building-quality requirements that you would normally consider. You shouldn’t have to compromise on quality standards when choosing energy efficient buildings, so make sure your chosen cabins provide everything you would normally expect from good-quality site accommodation, such as:
• Robust, anti-vandal steel construction
• High-security doors and window shutters
• Low-maintenance design with wipe-clean internal walls and hard-wearing floors
Maintaining a high-quality standard improves the life of your buildings and reduces the cost and inconvenience of service and maintenance requirements
Click here to read the full article and discover the key benefits of energy-saving buildings.
To find out how Portakabin Site Accommodation can precisely meet your requirements for energy-efficient site accommodation, call us today on 0845 355 3443