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Retrofitting for beginners

Little changes to your place of business can have a big impact on sustainability and your bottomline.
By Inna Abinuman |

To retrofit—or to replace or modify equipment or parts of an existing building to improve or update it—can be done with the specific aim of making your office or place of business sustainable. While this sounds desirable, the initial cash outlay may be intimidating, hence few business people embark on it.

 

Members of the Green Architects Advocacy Philippines (GreenAP), however, beg to disagree. GreenAP chairman Architect Mike Guerrero says retrofitting is in fact a way to save on operational costs. GreenAP, founded in 2000 by Architect Edgar Reformado, is a civic organization that promotes green architecture and sustainability, holding programs like monthly lectures on “green-ovation” and a yearly Green Forum to raise awareness among its members and the general public about green strategies, practices, available eco-friendly materials and technology.

 

Integrating green principles into retrofitting can benefit your business by lowering your electricity costs and water bills and improving the health of your employees, resulting in less downtime and greater productivity, says GreenAP.

 

However, before going full-blast into retrofitting your establishment, assess how far you should go, based on these four components GreenAP recommends:

 

Acquire a complete set of the “as-built plan,” or the plan of the building as it was built; this is your basic source of information whether to retrofit or not. If the building is too old, retrofitting might not be worth it. Total reconstruction might be the better option for you.

 

The building audit should let you know your regular (monthly or yearly) electricity consumption in terms of kilowatt-hours and amount paid, as well as your water consumption. The international benchmark for energy-efficient office buildings pegs the median at about 200kWh per square meter per year. If you’re way above that, then it’s time to retrofit.

 

The building survey includes checking if there are cracks in the beams, if windows are falling off, and if there are other structural damages.

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