It was very interesting to follow the news on Riau Pos (20/7/2010) about the ground breaking ceremony of Bank Riau’s Dang Merdu Tower. This prestigious building project of over 20 thousand square meters area is a proof of supremacy of the Riau Government-owned enterprise in the banking sector. According to the Director of Bank Riau, Ir. Erzon, MM., the tower design “involves three elements combining Malay culture, Islam and modern architecture together.”
But He did not mention one important thing, which is the energy aspects of the building (especially electricity), which should become the fourth element of the 15 floors tower. This article is intended to encourgage any party who construct large buildings to consider efficient use of energy for the sake of a better future. Let us hope Bank Riau is becoming a pioneer.
Why Energy Efficient Building?
In the midst of this global energy crisis, where energy supply is increasingly scarce and expensive, adding big buildings means consumption more energy in a large quantity. The limited energy ‘cake’ must be divided wisely, through the implementation of the principles of energy-efficient buildings.
A building is considered energy efficient if it uses less energy to provide the same energy services. According to the International Energy Agency (2007), approximately 45% of Indonesia’s primary energy was consumed in buildings, which means that the building sector is responsible for a significant proportions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission. Through the implementation of energy saving (on the design and operation of buildings), the building management has potential to gain financial benefit, help in reducing GHG emissions, and would actively involved in securing electricity supply in Riau Province.
There are many examples of successful energy saving movement in buildings. In California for example, East End Capitol complex saves up to IDR 300 million per month through its energy efficiency programs. Also, a hospital in Jakarta that initially paid approximately IDR 320 million for electricity bill per month, reduces by about IDR 60 million per month for electricity after implementing energy saving programs.
Another example as an illustration, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) office building in Manila which covers about 6.5 times prospective Bank Riau Tower saved electricity bill of USD 730 thousand in 1999 alone after implementing energy saving programs. Accordingly, by assuming the same pattern of electricity consumption and extrapolate based on their sizes, the Bank Riau Tower could avoid electric bill of about IDR 1 billion per year by implementing an energy saving program in its new building. In general, according to the textbook, a well-planned and consistent energy saving programs is potential to save between 20-70% of energy consumption in buildings.
From the environment aspect, save energy means burning less fossil fuels, therefore reduce GHG emissions. Following the above example, the ADB office building and the hospital were successfully eliminate 18 thousand tons and 1,600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, respectively, compared to previous situation. This is a new potential for cash income for the Bank Riau through the clean development mechanism (CDM) scheme. Hospital in Jakarta, for example, was able to gain more than Rp. 100 million per year through CER-CDM scheme.
Recommendation for Bank Riau
Four factors that make up the electricity bills in a building include: the design and construction of the building, electrical applicances used, and the behavior of building users. Since the design of the building has been completed, the Bank still have options to consider the second through the third factors.
First, use high efficient electrical appliances. For example, a lighting system that consumes about 20 percent of electricity in office buildings can be made efficient through an optimum lamp selection and layout, followed by an appropriate choice of interior color. Similarly, the air conditioning system (AC), which usually dominates electricity consumption in office buildings, should be adjusted with building characteristics to allow it consume less energy. The same principles can be applied to electric motors (on escalators and elevators), and other electrical equipments such as computers.
Second, no matter how efficient the electrical equipments used are, they will not be much useful without being followed by supporting the behavior of building accupants, such as the television remains on unwatched, or an empty room is left with air conditioning and lights on, and so forth. This issue requires awareness of building occupants, or can be assisted by installing occupancy control systems to turn the equipment automatically off and on when the room was emptied and reoccupied. The Ministry for Energy and Mineral Resources regulation number 31/2005 for example, suggests that the room temperature should be set at 25o Celsius, air conditioning and escalators not operated before the working hours begin and turned off one hour before office hours ended.
Both strategies are implemented under an Energy Management Program (EMP) which is now popular; a continuous movement of energy saving in buildings. Because the EMP involves a complex process, a company usually chooses an Energy Manager who responsibles for the implementation of the EMP directly to top management.
Recommendation for the Government
As a natural resource-rich region with long experienced managing energy, the governments of provinces and regencies/cities in Riau can also be a pioneer in energy-saving movement as consciousness that oil reserve in Riau is running out. Beside implementing the PME in their buildings, the government through relevant agencies are expected to begin energy efficiency movement. There have been many successful examples in various countries. The United States for example, has Energy Star program which requires each electrical equipment to be starred showing its energy consumption level; the more stars the more energy efficient. While in Australia and many other nations, the government subsidizes the installation of photovoltaic systems to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
This short article however, just contains a small piece of information about energy efficient buildings and EMP. The principle of EMP relies on principle that energy efficient does not mean sacrificing comfortness. Energy efficient behaviour has to be started from today, leaded by the government and business then followed by all people. With our current energy-hungry lifestyle, petroleum, coal, and natural gas are running out in near future. Let’s slow them down with an energy wiser lifestyle while saving money, gain benefit, and help conservating the environment.
Congratulation Bank Riau!
Kunaifi, PgDipEnSt., M.Sc.
Lecturer in Energy at the Faculty of Science and Technology
UIN Suska Riau, Indonesia