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How smart water solutions can cut energy consumption in the buildings of tomorrow

How smart water solutions can cut energy consumption in the buildings of tomorrow

Sector: Building services

Challenge: Reducing energy consumption

In the UK and Europe, commercial and residential buildings are responsible for around 40% of total energy consumption and 36% of CO2 emissions. Within our buildings, almost 40% of energy is used by heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, making them a prime target for smart digital solutions which offer savings from the outset.

As forward-thinking developments strive to improve sustainability credentials, while achieving associated operational and cost benefits, reducing energy use and boosting water efficiency is key. With the right technology extensive savings can be achieved across the Building Services spectrum from water supply and pressure systems, HVAC, wastewater and storm water solutions.

As a company focused solely on protecting, optimising and managing water, sustainability is fundamental to Xylem as we strive to build a healthier and more water-secure world while creating social and economic value.

For the buildings of tomorrow, efficient and sustainable systems are key to decarbonising our cities and the planet.

Solutions in play for new buildings as well as old

Building regulations on energy efficiency are increasingly strict in the UK, with a long-term goal under the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to move towards nearly-zero energy buildings.

But the reality, here and in Europe, is that around one in three buildings are older than 50 years and almost 75% of building stock is deemed energy-inefficient. This means renovation of existing buildings has the potential to lead to significant energy savings, potentially cutting total energy consumption by 5-6%.

At Xylem, we offer state-of-the-art technology to suit new buildings along with easy plug-and-play solutions to retrofit existing installations to create the most effective water systems that offer the lowest energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

Xylem is here to help developers, specifiers, facility managers and building owners save energy and costs to create smart buildings for smart cities. The first step in existing buildings is determining each facility’s baseline energy use, for which our third-party energy audits can provide valuable insights in how to reduce carbon footprint.

For new and old developments alike, by taking a holistic approach to look at the building as a whole, we can help to optimise each system for the maximum efficiency – and the lowest possible power bills.

Is your HVAC system operating at capacity?

A good HVAC system aims to provide thermal control and indoor comfort at the lowest energy cost for the entire life cycle of the building. As 40% of the energy consumed in buildings is used for HVAC, efficient and sustainable systems are key to helping reduce environmental impact and reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Oversizing heating systems is a core cause of inefficient operation: an oversized HVAC system can use 50% more energy than necessary. Xylem is able to work with consultants and engineers to consider the size of the system and the relevant efficient products. Subsequent monitoring, control and protection of the system is also important to weigh up along with how to maximise efficiency over its lifetime.

Our tailored smart solutions include high-efficiency circulators and pumps for heating, cooling and hot water applications. Thermal energy metering can provide continuous insights and control of the thermal network in conjunction with thermal energy flow sensors.

Heat and cooling water treatment can help protect consumers and maintain the highest HVAC system efficiency by keeping it free of bacteria, legionella and microbiological growth. And connecting building automation systems offers the potential for energy optimisation through digital control, monitoring and protection of the system and all pumps.

Optimising water supply and pressure

With the UK’s population projected to grow from 67 million now to 77 million by 2050, pressures on existing water systems could spell shortages if nothing is done to conserve and reduce water usage. The average person, for example, consumes around 140 litres of water per day, with almost two-thirds of water used at home for bathing, running taps or flushing the toilet.

Effective management of water in buildings requires a comprehensive understanding of how to ensure stable water supply and pressure throughout with the lowest possible carbon footprint – and that is where we can help. By supplying water within buildings based on consumer demand, system control measures can help to reduce energy use by up to 70%.

Horizontal and vertical multi-stage pumps and booster sets can guarantee a stable water pressure during demand peaks, extending the life of water systems and reducing maintenance needs.

Cutting energy use for wastewater and storm water

Wastewater disposal can be a real challenge for building owners and operators, especially in hotels, shopping malls and other publicly accessible buildings, as well as in the home.

Tackling blockages and inefficient pumping can mean higher energy costs than necessary, which is where smart solutions have a role to play. Xylem’s goal is to provide market-leading solutions with integrated intelligence for trouble-free wastewater disposal at the lowest operational costs, based on our decades of expertise.

Smart pump technology that adapts according to demand, combined with drives, controllers and built-in application intelligence, can reduce energy usage by up to 70% – for both new wastewater systems as well as refurbishment or replacement of existing inefficient systems.

Creating buildings that are fit for the future

At Xylem, we know that smart buildings need smart solutions to manage water in the right way, cutting energy consumption by up to 70% in some areas while reducing CO2 emissions and saving costs.

Our team can use their diverse knowledge to take a holistic look at the whole building and determine where savings can be made, both now and long into the future, with digital solutions that guarantee less maintenance over the lifetime of our products.

The most effective water systems will mean the lowest energy consumption and CO2 footprint, creating buildings that are fit for the future now.

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by Paul Winnett, General Manager – Building Services & OEM