Tag Archives: Energy Star

How To Realize Actual Savings From Green Renovation Projects

Here’s how to realize actual savings from green renovation projects.

You’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on a renovation with the goal of raising a building’s Energy Star score from 60 to 75 because your CFO wants an Energy Starcertification. Will it work? How will you know? Was the initial goal a real-world possibility based on experience, or just wishful thinking?

The idea of bridging the gap between a goal (or design intent) and actual efficient operation (i.e., achieving that goal) is just as critical to keep in mind for green renovation projects as it is for new construction. Setting realistic goals, commissioning all work (and recommissioning it down the road), and measuring and verifying that the work is meeting the goals on a long-term basis are three steps facility managers should take to ensure success with green renovation projects.

Defining the scope of the renovation — whether a relatively simple lighting retrofit or a full gut rehab — is the first step to setting realistic goals once the renovation is complete. According to Peter Strazdas, associate vice president, facilities management, Western Michigan University, this is often the most difficult part. Setting the scope, and thus the goals, is akin to setting the project program on new construction. But with renovations, it’s often more difficult to keep the intended focus.

“The program tends to get diluted, so we concentrate a lot on staying the course with renovations,” he says. “We carefully document the program for the renovation at the beginning, and more importantly, we document why we are employing certain strategies.” Strazdas says the reason for careful documentation is to show both his customers — the faculty and students who use the buildings — as well as his facility managers and technicians precisely why decisions were made at the front end. This limits changes and keeps the scope manageable. It also helps with ongoing efficient operations as the technicians know and understand why decisions were made.

“They may understand the technical stuff, but they don’t understand why, for instance, we chose LEDs or occupancy sensors. It’s terribly important to start this explanation at the beginning with the project program.”

Strazdas says Western Michigan currently has more than 300 renovation projects in the works, so it’s easy to see why it’s important to keep each project on target — in terms of both facility management goals and what the customer wants. At the end of the day, those are the two most critical factors that define whether a project is successful or not.

But how do you set realistic goals, then ensure that they‘re followed through to success? With new construction, an energy model is the go-to strategy for setting efficiency goals — and that strategy could work for renovations, as well. If the project is big enough, says Strazdas, the few extra bucks up front to model is worth it. “The model helps identify strategies that we could not have come up with on our own,” he says. “You can’t just work on the back of a napkin anymore.”

But a full-scale energy model for most renovation projects isn’t realistic. Jim Cooke, national facilities operations manager for Toyota Motor Sales North America, says his organization sets goals for renovations by comparing expected results with new construction. He says the first question is: “How close can we come with a renovation project to how efficient we are with new construction? Our goals for renovations definitely revolve around being able to apply lessons learned from new construction.”

Source: facilitiesnet

Better Data Can Make LEED-EBOM An Easier Sell To Tenants, Owners

There are countless ways to tell a tenant or an owner that a LEED project is a good idea and should be high on their priority list, but it’s more effective to show them. Such projects are gradually becoming an easier sell; not only are the benefits becoming more well-known outside the facility management industry, but there’s also better data available to make the argument.

Transwestern’s Allan Skodowski says that, five years ago, if he suggested a green roof to an owner, “they looked at me like I’d grown a third eye.” Now, he can prove how the roof interacts with the rest of the building.

“Today, I say, ‘Well, if I put this green roof on, guess what? I’m going to reduce your sewage conveyance costs by 75 percent, and that equals X, and your payback is Y,’ and I have real data to show that,” he says. “Five years ago, seven years ago, I didn’t have that. It was just a gut, ‘Hey, I can do this, this is what I think it will be.’ Today, I have real, substantive data that shows that a building with a green label certification — LEED, Energy Star, even — generally has higher occupancy and generally is maintaining a bit of an edge relative to rental rates.”

Going hand-in-hand with better data is better equipment, which is often tested in a pilot installation to see if it delivers the expected combination of performance and savings. If it meets those goals, then it is expanded to the rest of the enterprise. And, with so many building systems seeing efficiency improvements, energy savings can be easily achieved, says Sheehy.

“Ninety-five percent of the buildings I go into still have 32-watt T8 bulbs,” he says. “I tell them, ‘Go throw a 28 (watt) right next to it, right now and tell me if you can see a difference.’ The eye can’t perceive the difference, and I tell them, ‘You just saved 12 ½ percent on lighting by making that switch.'”

Getting Easier

LEED-EBOM projects offer a variety of challenges regardless of facility type or occupancy type. But they offer a lot of benefits, too, and not just in terms of dollars and cents. While it’s up to the building owner to decide on a project and up to the tenants to decide whether they want to cooperate if needed, it’s becoming easier every day to make the argument.

“If you can do things in a building that are better for the inhabitants, better for the vendors servicing the building, and, as an added bonus, better for the environment — why not do them if they are free and easy to implement?” Molotsky says. “Is it better to have paint with high-VOC content or low-VOC content if the paint is the same color and there is no cost difference? Well, the answer’s kind of easy: Of course low-VOC.

“Is it better to have ceiling tile with recycled content, wall-board that does not off-gas, paper supplies and bathroom supplies with local delivery and recycled content, chemicals that are less problematic in an interior environment, trash diverted from the landfill and recycled, electronic waste that is recycled instead of thrown out, etc.? If all of these items can be done for no cost, which they all can, then why not execute and do them?”

Article By Casey Laughman, Managing Editor- http://www.facilitiesnet.com/

BOMI’s High Performance Program Can Help Ensure High-Performance Operations

To learn more about high-performance operations, it is often useful to examine existing programs. One such program is BOMI’s High Performance program.

Such initiatives come with benefits for tenants and management alike. Electricity costs are generally passed through to tenants, so lower costs mean lower rent. Improved energy performance can lead to increased occupancy and rents because of the premium ascribed to high-performance buildings. “Many tenants attribute material value to buildings with greater efficiency levels,” note Henderson and Waltner. In fact, certain tenants with sustainability commitments may consider only buildings with high-efficiency ratings. For example, the U.S. General Services Administration, the largest tenant in the country, requires new leased space to be Energy Star rated. What’s more, improved energy performance is expected to reduce maintenance expenses and increase the life of major building systems.

However, to be successful, such initiatives require a committed, collaborative effort on the part of a diverse collection of professionals — with the right skills and knowledge. As the Tower case study showed, communication is critical to success. Meetings were held monthly to review recommendations, track progress, and identify challenges. All building engineers were apprised of the progress and reminded that improving energy efficiency was an important company goal. And through a quarterly meeting, the message was reinforced to the entire team.

Such a level of leadership is an important ingredient. And for professionals who participate in BOMI International’s High Performance program, the understanding imparted can help them take a lead role in sustainable initiatives. As the Tower study observed, recommendations were implemented in part because they were validated and prioritized through discussions with trusted energy management experts.

David Borchardt (david.borchardt@towercompanies.com) is chief sustainability officer at The Tower Companies and an instructor at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.

BOMI’s High-Performance Buildings Program

Organizations need staff with the skills to address the issues of sustainability and energy efficiency that are confronted every day in the real world. Toward that end, BOMI International has created the new High-Performance (HP) Program, designed by industry experts to further enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of professionals who are responsible for implementing sustainable initiatives.

“For high-performance professionals, we’ve crafted a three-course comprehensive program — an integrated and practical curriculum that encompasses virtually every aspect of a sustainable built environment,” says Holly Bentley, senior director of learning and development at BOMI International.

Among the courses, the first, High-Performance Sustainable Building Principles, provides a comprehensive overview of high-performance sustainable buildings and exposes learners to the components of the sustainable ecosystem. Industry professionals will gain insight on how to meet the imperative for sustainable initiatives, stay abreast of new trends in greening, and effectively communicate the value of pursuing sustainable building initiatives.

The second course, High-Performance Sustainable Building Practices, identifies no- and low-cost sustainable initiatives that every building professional can start implementing now. Throughout this course, building professionals will learn how to effectively optimize and apply sustainable best practices that cover every aspect of the built environment to drive operational efficiencies for a high-performance building.

The third course, High-Performance Sustainable Building Investments, delivers the strategies needed to envision, plan, and manage large-scale sustainable projects that maximize return on investment. Learners will gain an in-depth understanding of how to address efficiency challenges through the use of cutting-edge approaches that have a positive effect on an organization’s financial, social, and environmental bottom line.

The curriculum is offered alone or as part of BOMI International’s Real Property Administrator (RPA) or Facilities Management Administrator (FMA) designation programs. Professionals may complete the new BOMI International HP courses to earn the HP Certificate. Professionals who hold a BOMI International RPA or FMA may add HP to their designation to earn the RPA|HP or FMA|HP. Those who earn an RPA|HP or FMA|HP designation will have an in-depth understanding of how to define, initiate, pay for, complete, and obtain a return on investment for sustainable initiatives within all segments of a building or portfolio.

The knowledge that BOMI International graduates attain filters through all that they do. Says Garrett Chang, RPA, “The education I received from BOMI International encompassed key concepts in commercial real estate and has allowed me to speak and advise intelligently on related topics. As a result, my career has advanced as a true real estate professional.” — David Borchardt

Article by: David Borchard- Read More: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/

Federal Buildings Add Requirements

2012-12-07_11-09-43-300x1782Federal agencies are now required to install building energy meters and sub-meters, as well as water meters at agency buildings where cost-effective and appropriate, according to a memo reported in FEDweek.

The agencies now must ensure that any agency buildings metered for energy and water performance must have that data entered into the EPA Energy Star Portfolio Manager to improve performance and allow benchmarking.

The memo encourages the use of a “Green Button” standard as part of agency energy management practices. The Green Button system was developed by the North American Energy Standards Board for providing online access to energy bill accounts, usage and energy consumption data to customers to help with business and usage management.

December 19, 2013 by William Opalka | Energy Management News

Incorporate lighting controls with BAS to save energy- Part 1

Incorporating daylighting and lighting controls with a building automation system can result in energy savings.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the benefits of incorporating lighting, daylighting, and building automation systems.
  2. Know the codes and standards that govern lighting and daylighting.
  3. Learn to gather and analyze data from an automation system.

Continue reading

Why Smart Building Technology Is a ‘No-Brainer’

Why Smart Building Technology Is a ‘No-Brainer’ An Article by: environmentalleader.com

Pressure to manage costs, risks and energy consumption is pushing commercial building Smart Building Management owners and investors to explore how smart building technologies can help a company’s triple bottom line — people, planet, profits — according to Jones Lang LaSalle’s latest report.

The Changing Face of Smart Buildings: The Op-Ex Advantage, says five key trends are making smart buildings a “no-brainer” for commercial property owners and investors. Smart building technology boosts operational efficiency, helps buildings save water and energy, and reduces their carbon footprints, says Dan Probst, chairman of energy and sustainability services at Jones Lang LaSalle. These advantages give owners and investors a competitive edge.

The report, which details the landscape for smart building technology, identifies five major trends:

  1. Rapid return on investment (ROI). Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves within one or two years by delivering energy savings and other operational efficiencies. Also driving the fast payback is the low cost of automated building technology, which has fallen as adaptation has increased. For example, intelligent lighting components that cost $120 four years ago today sell for $50. Procter & Gamble’s building management pilot program,  for example, generated a positive return on investment in just three months.
  2. Operating-expense (op-ex) advantage. Relative to other energy-related building upgrades, smart building technology requires little upfront capital expenditure (cap-ex), while delivering significantly reduced operational expenditures (op-ex). Using automated systems, smart buildings generally cost less to operate than buildings operating solely on legacy systems, therefore offering a long-term op-ex advantage. By combining smart building systems and data analytics with facilities management, a smart building management system can detect and resolve building issues before equipment failures and capital expenditures ensue. Additionally, operational and energy savings begin shortly after the smart building management system is implemented.
  3. Marketing mileage. As reported in JLL’s October 2012 Global Sustainability Perspective, numerous studies and surveys have demonstrated that tenants and their advisors increasingly expect smart building features such as zoned HVAC, sophisticated equipment maintenance alert systems, advanced security systems and green buildings. Like a new lobby or elevator bank, an improvement in sustainability makes an office building more desirable to tenants. These benefits can justify collecting higher rent, and can increase competitive advantage and occupancy rates. And when the building is sold, sustainable investments can be recouped in an increased sales price. A 2011 study by Eichholtz, Kok and Quigley indicated the premium for LEED certified or Energy Star labeled buildings is about 13 percent.
  4. Energy savings. Smart building technology can generate energy savings of 8 to 15 percent annually almost immediately after deployment, with the potential for incremental improvements over time. JLL cites a 2012 report that estimates that $289 billion in building efficiency investment would produce savings in excess of $1 trillion in the US alone, with every dollar invested in energy efficiency producing three dollars of operational savings.
  5. Improved corporate social responsibility profile. Redirecting energy spend to building efficiency has allowed some corporate decision-makers to gain the reputational advantages of doing the right thing by the environment while also gaining significant performance and productivity improvements. Another benefit is a smart building system’s ability to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions. Some owners feed building emissions data to multiple benchmarking organizations, such as Greenprint and GRESB, as well as to Ceres and similar third-party reporting organizations, and smart systems can roll up the information from across a portfolio.

Property owners may understand the benefits of smart buildings, but often have misconceptions that they are a lot more expensive, are the same as green buildings, or that only new buildings can become smart and industrial facilities cannot be made smart buildings. In an Energy Manager Today article,Jones Lang LaSalle’s smart building experts debunk these myths in an effort to explain that their benefits far outweigh their costs and smart buildings are applicable across all categories of buildings.

Managing Building Operations And Improving Energy Efficiency Are Key Components Of LEED V4

Two of the key components of LEED v4 are managing building operations and improving energy efficiency.

Metering is just one aspect of a new emphasis on performance-based evaluation in LEED v4. The updates are structured to help users better understand how to manage building performance and ensure that every building can reach its full potential. Measuring a building’s performance is a dynamic and ongoing process that is accomplished through surveys, audits, testing, and tracking of various building processes and functions. Performance evaluations also provide multiple avenues to earn credits that older buildings may find difficult to achieve due to design limitations.

Demand Response is a new credit that emphasizes LEED v4’s increased focus on integrated building performance. Automated demand response systems dynamically shift and reduce energy use in a building in response to congestion and stress signals from the power grid. To earn this credit, a project must demonstrate that it can reduce or shift energy peak load by 10 percent during a peaking event or provide permanent shifting of electrical loads. Because demand response programs are in the early stages of availability, projects can also earn the credit by putting the infrastructure in place to participate in demand response programs anticipated in the future.

Location and Transportation is now a separate category, with opportunities for projects in densely populated areas to earn credits for access to multiple forms of alternative transportation. Points can be earned for occupant incentive and education programs that encourage occupants to take advantage of less carbon-intensive transportation options.

4. Improved Energy Efficiency

It seems like every week there’s another advance in alternative energy sources or energy-efficient building systems. The standards for leadership in energy efficiency have to rise accordingly, and in LEED v4, the minimum Energy Star score for participation in EBOM has been raised to 75 from 69 — a jump that ensures that LEED-certified buildings really are on the cutting edge of efficiency.

While this may sound discouraging for some older buildings seeking certification, it doesn’t have to be. As a part of EBOM’s focus on performance, there is an alternate path to compliance with the minimum energy performance prerequisite: Energy Jumpstart, a pilot credit. By making substantial improvements to their energy efficiency through alternative measures, buildings with an Energy Star score less than 75 can still qualify for EBOM certification.

In lieu of the Energy Star score, facilities must achieve an energy improvement of 20 percent over a 12-month period, which qualifies them for initial certification at the LEED Certified level. This alternative compliance path helps motivate significantly more projects and creates the potential for higher energy savings across the vast stock of existing buildings. With recertification required every five years under EBOM, the Energy Jumpstart option provides further incentive for improvements down the line, as well as higher levels of certification.

Colorado Springs Makes List of Top 25 Cities With The Most Energy Star Buildings In The United States

DENVER (April 11, 2012) – For the first time, Colorado Springs made the list of top 25 cities with the most Energy Star buildings in the country – ranking 24th. In 2011, the nearly 16,500 Energy Star certified buildings across America have helped save nearly $2.3 billion in annual utility bills and have prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to emissions from the annual energy use of more than 1.5 million homes.

“More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Energy Star program, and today Energy Star certified buildings in cities across America are helping to strengthen local economies and protect the planet for decades to come.”

Colorado Springs school districts participate in the Colorado Association of School District Energy Managers (CASDEM), which is an organization that focuses on energy issues in school districts in Colorado. This organization is why Colorado ranks 6th in the nation for Energy Star certified schools. Forty-five schools in Colorado Springs have earned the Energy Star label. CASDEM was formed to provide a network for public school district employees responsible for energy management.
Energy use in commercial buildings accounts for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions at a cost of more than $100 billion per year. Commercial buildings that earn EPA’s Energy Star must perform in the top 25 percent of similar buildings nationwide and must be independently verified by a licensed professional engineer or a registered architect. Energy Star certified buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy and are responsible for 35 percent less carbon dioxide emissions than typical buildings. Fifteen types of commercial buildings can earn the Energy Star, including office buildings, K-12 schools, and retail stores.

Launched in 1992 by EPA, Energy Star is a market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. This year marks Energy Star’s 20th anniversary. Over the past 20 years, with help from Energy Star, American families and businesses have saved about $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon pollution. Today, the Energy Star label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products and more than 1.3 million new homes.


Molly Hooven | Hooven.Molly@epa.gov | 202-564-2313

More on CASDEM: http://www.casdem.org/

More on the 2011 top cities: http://www.energystar.gov/TopCities
More on Energy Star certified buildings: http://energystar.gov/buildinglist
More about earning the Energy Star for commercial buildings: http://energystar.gov/labeledbuildings

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