Energy efficiency falls short

Construction News

Building owners not aware of legal issues

energy efficiency falls shortThe new headquarters for the SET — the 6-billion-baht Thai Capital Market Centre planned for Ratchadaphisek Road, will feature high energy efficiency and apply for gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system (pictured).

Though the Energy Conservation Promotion Act that requires buildings to inspect their energy management was enacted nearly a year ago, many building owners have no idea it exists or that they must prepare an energy management report each March.

One of the major problems is a delay in related laws and regulations. Required qualifications of energy management auditors who will be accredited to inspect and certify the report are still awaiting approval from the Council of State.

The Act requires buildings to have energy management inspections and certification for factories and buildings that have one or more transformers over 1,175 kilowatts. These include office buildings, hotels, banks, hospitals, shopping centres, department stores, universities, schools, residential buildings, entertainment sites and government buildings.

After operators submit an energy management report, buildings need to be inspected and certified by an energy auditor, with the audit submitted to the Energy Ministry. Building owners failing to submit the report by March each year will face a maximum fine of 200,000 baht.

The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency lists 3,647 factories and around 2,000 buildings nationwide that require an energy management inspection. In Greater Bangkok, there are 1,600 facilities – 40% factories and 60% buildings.

For factories, energy management will be based on the assessment of energy consumption compared with productivity. For buildings, it is calculated from energy consumption relative to gross ares. The system that uses the most energy in a typical building is air-conditioning.

The delay in issuing qualifications of energy management auditors means the effective date is being postponed to March 2012.

Chan Sirirat, executive director of the property consultant Touch Property Co, said most factory owners were aware they needed energy management reports because they always complied with related laws, but many building owners are not.

“Only a handful of owners acknowledge they need to inspect the energy management at their buildings,” he noted. “If the law wasn’t postponed, they would have to start preparing a report now or it would be too late.”

The company started providing energy management reports in November and has completed over 10 while it is in talks with another 40-50 buildings.

Building owners can check the registration of their electricity account to see whether they are required to file a report, he said.

Complying with the Energy Conservation Promotion Act seems to be easier than the Building Inspection Act, of which many building owners are still unaware. Owners required to have an inspection cannot easily check this requirement, so they just ignore it.

Of the 2,000 to 3,000 affected buildings in Bangkok, only 100 received a building inspection certificate. Touch Property inspected 60-70 buildings this year, up from 50 last year. Of the inspected buildings, 80% receive certification, said Mr Chan.

“We haven’t see anyone punished for not having their buildings inspected. The problem is owners do not see how important inspection is for themselves and building users,” he said.

Step by Step

Preparing an energy inspection report and carrying out improvements:

1. Establish working committee for energy management.

2. Preliminary assessment of energy management conditions.

3. Draft energy conservation policy and announce it publicly.

4. Undertake an assessment of energy conservation potential.

5. Set goal and plans for energy conservation and training.

6. Implement plan, examine and analyse implementation process.

7. Follow-up and assess energy management system.

8. Review, analyse and improve the system.


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