Windmills on water

Advanced building systems offer energy-saving opportunities

Actions taken over the next five years are critical to Ireland achieving its goals of halving greenhouse emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050, writes Kevin Devine, Sales Director at Xylem.

With the construction and built environment sectors accounting for 37% of Ireland’s carbon emissions, decisions made now about management of buildings will have a direct impact on net zero outcomes. The Irish Green Building Council (IGBC) roadmap, setting out plans to decarbonise Ireland’s built environment by 2050, says “transitioning to zero carbon construction with extreme urgency offers many environmental, social, and economic benefits”.

When it comes to solutions and systems for buildings, heating and cooling, water supply, pressure boosting and wastewater management all offer significant energy-saving opportunities, with cutting-edge technology powering the shift to decarbonisation.

Xylem’s advanced systems are designed to meet the requirements of modern buildings in the most efficient way, while reducing energy demands, carbon emissions, and operational spend.

HVAC

Around 40% of a building’s energy consumption is used for HVAC, with many existing solutions oversized and inefficient. Modern innovations offer intelligent and sustainable HVAC technologies to heavily reduce energy consumption and CO2 footprint. 

Xylem’s HVAC products are designed to meet and exceed the latest standards regarding energy efficiency and can communicate with modern building systems. Energy consumption can be reduced further by switching to variable speed technology for a range of pumped systems for both heating and cooling, as well as water supply. Upfront capital costs will be offset over time by expected savings on energy bills. In addition, maintenance costs of variable-speed pumps are generally lower, as they experience less wear and tear. 

Water supply and boosting

Water efficiency is directly connected to energy consumption, together contributing to a greener footprint of buildings, and supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Demand, pressure, temperature, control and monitoring, and regulatory compliance are all critical areas to consider when it comes to supplying a building with water. Xylem’s water supply and pressure-boosting technologies deliver reliable systems that meet these needs while maintaining the highest possible efficiencies.  

Wastewater management

Xylem’s waste and stormwater management technologies help create wastewater systems with a greener footprint, reducing CO2 emissions and energy costs by up to 70%. Advanced systems reduce the risk of blockages and maintenance visits, and ensure sites meet and exceed environmental standards and regulatory compliance.

Retrofitting 

With reuse among the central principles of sustainability, retrofitted solutions have a major role to play. The IGBC says to halve sector emissions by 2030, the delivery of Ireland’s national retrofit programme must be significantly accelerated.

The retrofit of ageing buildings with high-efficiency pumps and drives offers one of the biggest opportunities to achieve greener buildings, at a lower cost than a complete system overhaul. 

Data and digitalisation

Better quality data on energy consumption and performance is integral to decarbonisation. As such, the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive calls for digitalisation of energy systems for buildings. 

Xylem solutions for buildings include smart tools that deliver real-time, round-the-clock monitoring and powerful data analytics for insights that remove uncertainty from building systems, so they can always run at peak efficiency with added maintenance and service savings. 

First published in Building Services News, Ireland May/June 2024 edition

op Kevin Devine, Sales Director, Xylem Ireland