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The magic ratio for long-term energy savings

The UK’s building industry has been criticised at times for having a ‘cost first’ culture, meaning that contractors focus largely on keeping initial construction costs to a minimum rather than considering the structure’s lifetime cost.

Long-term expenditure includes ownership, occupation and maintenance costs, but these elements tend to be overlooked in favour of saving on materials, labour and fees during construction.

The 10-80-10 ratio is something we hear a lot about, and it highlights the substantial gap between the two sets of costs:

  • 10 per cent - construction
  • 80 per cent – operation and maintenance
  • 10 per cent – disposal

So just one tenth of a building’s entire cost is accounted for by building materials, labour, while almost all the rest is taken up by running the and maintaining services such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting.

By focusing on trying to reduce these long-term costs, building owners and managers can minimise energy bills and extend the life of vital services such as air-handling equipment. For example, by adding variable-speed drives to HVAC systems, savings of as much as 60 per cent may be achieved. In many cases the equipment pays for itself in energy reductions within 12 months.

Gibbons Engineering Group boasts both a dedicated HVAC Services team along with its ABB Variable-Speed Drives division. Combining our expertise in these two areas means we can supply clients with the ultimate energy-saving solution for their air handling equipment.

Find out more by calling Gibbons HVAC Services Manager Andrew Knight on 07850 204915 or email

HVAC Services, Variable-Speed Drives

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