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Energy data helps making old buildings more energy efficient

To increase the energy efficiency of older buildings often sounds expensive and complicated. But it doesn't have to be. At Galleri Oslo, they reduced energy consumption by 50 percent - by studying and adjusting their own consumption patterns.

The vast majority of buildings today are far from energy efficient. While old technical systems and poor insulation are responsible for much of it, a lot of energy is also wasted due to poor routines and wasteful usage.

Read more about how new technology can help extend the life of older buildings.


Challenging and surpassing industry standards

Galleri Oslo, built in 1988, houses both Oslo's bus terminal – one of the Norway's largest transport hubs – several office spaces, kiosks, and cafes.

– Galleri Oslo is a bit like the ugly duckling, says André Ibenholt. He is the technical manager and advisor at Galleri Oslo. – If you can succeed here, you can succeed anywhere.

By replacing all technical systems, they were able to reduce the building's energy use from 11 GWh to 7. According to standards and calculations, this is the level the building should be at, and most were satisfied with that. Ibenholt, however, noticed that the consumption was high - especially in periods he would have expected it to be lower.

– Everyone told us that we were on par and that it wouldn’t be possible to reduce the consumption further. But by delving into the data, we extracted another 50 percent reduction, bringing us down to 3.5 GWh, he says smiling.

Read more about what's been done at Galleri Oslo.


– There are many Fridays in one year!

To achieve savings at this level, several factors must be in place, according to Ibenholt.

Galleri Oslo has owners that have been willing to invest in and test new solutions, and operators with high expertise who have adopted new technology and actively used data.

The building now has an extensive digital twin of its energy consumption, with several hundred measurement points and data with a resolution down to milliseconds.

– Everyone thought it was crazy; what did we need so many meters for? But it gives us a lot of insight into how the systems perform.

In all technical systems, and especially in older buildings, there are parts that wear out, automation that is incorrectly set, and things that simply do not work as they should. Most of these sources of waste go completely unnoticed. With good data, you can identify the errors and do something about it – often with great savings.

In addition, Ibenholt and his team have actively worked on trimming operating times. He highlights a simple example as Fridays, when many employees work from home and offices empty earlier than other days.

– There are many Fridays in one year, he points out and finishes with one final advice for those who are at the start of an energy efficiency process. – Adjust usage according to when you actually need it. There is no reason to operate the system at full capacity when no one is using it. There is a lot of money to be saved by making such adjustments!


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