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The race is on to reduce carbon emissions from commercial buildings

Topics: District Heating

From skyscrapers to corner shops, commercial buildings have a huge part to play in delivering the UK’s pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

According to current figures, buildings account for 37% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, split approximately 60/40 between domestic and non-domestic buildings. Most of these emissions come from the use of heating, cooling and electricity.

Buildings contribute between 30%-40% of global carbon emissions, and for 74% of emissions from major cities, such as London.

The Carbon Trust predicts that around 60% of the buildings that will be in use in 2050 have already been built, so the process of refurbishing our current buildings will make a massive contribution towards meeting the carbon emissions reduction target.

Carbon Trust research found that a 35% CO2 reduction in non-domestic buildings could be achieved in the short term through cost-effective means. Furthermore, CO2 reductions of up to 75% could be achieved by 2050 at no net cost to the UK economy.

It is possible to deliver annual carbon savings in 100 commercial buildings, which is equivalent to running 5,000 homes for a year.

Here at ista, we believe that there is a huge opportunity for today’s building and facilities managers to reduce carbon emissions and to lower energy and utility costs.

So how can you reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced by commercial buildings?

Energy efficiency measures

The simplest and most cost-effective way to lower carbon emissions in commercial buildings is to optimise its systems and operations. Occupancy sensors and LED lighting can reduce electricity usage, while power management software can switch off equipment overnight and at weekends.

Accurate metering

Introducing an accurate metering regime will provide precise consumption data, ending the uncertainty of estimated bills. For property managers, tenants will be happier as they will be billed regularly and accurately, causing less confusion and uncertainty.

With more accurate and reliable data, both tenants and facility managers can monitor consumption and begin to implement changes in usage to lower energy costs. Even if a company operates multiple sites or small branches, the combined savings produced by good metering can add up to a significant sum.


Many large commercial office buildings have a communal heating system which provides heating and hot water to each floor and tenant.
Sub-metering is a cost-effective way to measure usage for each tenant, and the system can be monitored remotely for billing and management. The live and accurate data can then be used to understand why and where energy performance can be improved.

District heating

District heating is where a single heat source serves more than one property, such as a commercial complex. A heat interface unit (HIU) in each unit or building provides all of the control and functionality of a traditional boiler.

Combined heat and power (CHP) plants generate heat as a by-product of generating electricity by burning coal, oil, gas or biomass. By placing CHP plants in large building complexes or housing developments, the heat can be circulated in district heating pipes to each building or dwelling.

Another system is a heat sharing network, when a communal ground array can be accessed by each building which uses its own heat pump for heating and hot water. Buildings with excess heat can reject heat to the network, which is more efficient than venting heat as hot air.

Here at ista, we aim to remove the guesswork from your energy billing by providing you with accurate data about the energy usage in your building or organisation. We can then help you turn this data into clear actions to help you make energy savings. If you would like more information on how we can work with you to achieve this please email or alternatively contact us here.


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