Tag Archives: Energy

Hard results of green buildings in Colorado accelerate the adoption

Buildings are improving, becoming more comfortable but also more efficient in use of energy and water. How can this adoption of best technologies and designs be accelerated?

A panel of experts at the Rocky Mountain Green Conference held in Denver recently agreed that examples help. And Colorado has many examples.

“At the end of the day, hard results are the best education,” said Jeff Ackermann, director of the Colorado Energy Office. “If you create baselines of comparable buildings that are built to current high standards—if people can see the real benefits, that is where the conversation starts.”

While energy-efficiency has drawn much attention, he added, the conversation about sustainability should also encompass water use, indoor air quality, and proximity to mass transportation. All are criteria used in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED evaluation process.

The exterior of the NREL net-zero office building. Photo/Allen Best

Some of Colorado’s best examples are found at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, located just off I-70 in Golden. The campus has six buildings certified at the highest level of LEED certification, platinum. One of them is the world’s largest net-zero energy building. NREL uses techniques, such as maximizing use of existing daylight, to reduce need for artificial lights, and maximize solar collection. The parking spaces are covered with photovoltaics.

On hot summer afternoons, the building produces more electricity than it consumes. Other times, it must draw on the grid. As such, most net-zero buildings rely upon carbon energy for backup.

The interior of  the NREL net-zero energy office building uses judicious use of natural lighting to minimize artificial light. Photo/Allen Best

But it’s easier to hit such lofty goals in building performance when you start from scratch, pointed out Frank Rukavina, sustainability director at NREL. He noted that residential and commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of all energy use in the United States. As such, they represent a huge opportunity for potential savings.

Much is happening in Denver. Jerry Tinianow, chief sustainability officer for the city government, said that municipal buildings have become 20 percent less energy intense, with an additional goal of milking another 5.6 percent in savings as compared to the 2005 baseline.

Denver is also trying to help create other models. One is at the former Lowry Airfield, on the border with Aurora. There, a 70-acre enclave called Buckley Annex is being planned as a net-zero neighborhood, meaning the amount of electricity consumed on site in homes, businesses and other community infrastructure will be no greater than the amount that is produced there.

Another project aims for net-zero in commercial buildings downtown. It is moving forward under the auspices of Architecture 2030. “What we really like about it is it’s a voluntary association and not a city-mandated association of buildings, and it’s one in which the government plays a secondary role,” said Tinianow.

If buildings produce their own energy, they won’t rely upon utilities for outside generation, at least not in the same way. Such dispersed production is called distributed generation—and it’s worrisome to utilities whose business model for the last century has consisted of earning revenues based on the volume of electricity sold.

According to Mark Schwartz, representing Xcel Energy on the panel, “We are trying to find a way to embrace that,” he said of local, distributed energy generation.

“Through energy efficiency programs, we have been able to drive down the demand curve.” But net-zero buildings during the next 15 years “has to be something we look at from a utility perspective.”

New financial instruments that allow savings of energy efficiency to be financed will become more important moving forward, said speakers.

Ackermann noted legislation was passed last year to allow PACE programs for commercial buildings, giving building owners the ability to improve paybacks on investments to make buildings more green.

Tinianow pointed to residential energy efficiency programs that make inefficiency upgrades part of an employee benefits program, similar to a 401k benefit. When that happens, he said, “We will see massive expansion of energy efficiency improvements.”

Source: Mountain Town News 

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Detroit Airport Saves $1.2M Per Year with LEDs

Eaton-Energy-ManageEaton’s Cooper Lighting division’s LED luminaires are replacing 6,050 existing parking garage fixtures at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The conversion will result in a 66 percent reduction in power consumption with an anticipated overall energy and maintenance savings of about $1.2 million annually.

Consuming 60 watts, the McGraw-Edison Valet LED fixtures are replacing 1,200 existing 210-watt, metal halide fixtures in the Blue Deck parking garage and 4,800 fixtures in McNamara Terminal Parking Structure. The Ventus LED pole-mounted fixtures are being installed on the upper open decks.

The fixtures are estimated to reduce annual energy consumption by more than 7,345,000 kWh. In addition, the LED products incorporate Cooper Lighting’s LumaWatt Outdoor Wireless Control and Monitoring System, which manages the lighting levels according to pedestrian and traffic safety needs.

Learn more here: http://www.energymanagertoday.com

Let’s Connect. Collaborate. And Partner Together! info@setpointsystems.com

Energy, materials, health, resilience and the near future of architecture.

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These days, one of the definitions of the value of design relates to how architects are uniquely positioned to positively impact ways in which people can live more sustainably. Yet, despite notable individual and collective progress, the profession hasn’t fully leveraged its resources to advance enduring solutions for these global challenges.

Through the introduction of two linked design and practice action plans, the AIA is focusing its intellectual resources on the core issues of energy and materials, as well as the emerging issues of design’s impact on health and resilience, by connecting chapter and component support, offering new and revised continuing education products, encouraging practice-based research, pursuing strategic partnerships, and refining its advocacy of the profession both legislatively and publicly.

Both energy and health emerged as priority issues in the “Sustainability Leadership Opportunity Scan” (published in October), a report commissioned by the AIA and undertaken by AIA Resident Fellow Mary Ann Lazarus, FAIA, to identify unique areas where the Institute can most effectively strengthen the sustainable leadership and influence of architects.

“Energy and health are two very tangible areas that help clarify the bottom-line impacts of sustainability,” Lazarus says. “We’re talking about real issues that affect how people live, work, relate to their communities, and thrive.”

Although energy and health—as areas for architectural innovation—each face unique challenges and are at different places in their evolutions, both offer numerous opportunities to elevate architectural leadership.

“Architects can be the fulcrum for positive changes, and do so with purposefulness that comes out of the reason that many of us joined the profession,” says Rick Bell, FAIA, executive director of AIA New York (and a member of ARCHITECT’s editorial advisory committee).

Bell and others have observed that the continual growth of energy benchmarking regulations and performance-based codes has catalyzed a global industry shift from loose, aspirational sustainable goals to measured performance expectations and requirements. And the AIA Energy Action Plan will harness this important shift in order to set an agenda for the coming years.

“Optional rating systems, including LEED, helped set the stage for the recent transition to code-based and regulatory sustainable requirements like CalGreen and the International Green Construction Code, but requirements are quickly expanding to include actual performance and measured design outcomes,” Lazarus says.

The upgrade of existing buildings represents the greatest design need and opportunity, with 57 percent of existing U.S. building stock—more than 40 billion square feet—constructed after 1945 and commonly burdened by insufficient urban design, poorly performing envelopes and systems, and large floor plates.

“From a sustainability and energy standpoint, the most important challenge for architects is to improve the performance of the existing building stock,” says Carl Elefante, FAIA, principal of Quinn Evans Architects and a member of the AIA Board of Directors. “Our conundrum is that fascination with glossy photos on magazine covers of even the most innovative and imaginative new buildings misses the most important point: With only the rarest exceptions, new buildings add to the current carbon footprint. To reduce global warming potential, retrofitting existing structures offers the quickest, most reliable, and measurable opportunity. It is the best way for architects to have impact.”

Market forces have driven architects to do just that. The recent economic downturn has compelled some sole practitioners and firms to target existing buildings. According to the 2012 AIA Firm Survey, 42 percent of small projects today include renovation and rehabilitation work.

The AIA Health Action Plan recognizes perhaps the most important opportunities of our time: The built environment is a potential catalyst for addressing many of the nation’s most pressing health and wellness challenges, including rising healthcare costs, an aging Baby Boomer population, and climbing obesity rates.

“I do believe we’re in a collision of forces—a perfect storm of health issues,” says Dr. Richard Jackson, Hon. AIA, a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health and host of the recent PBS series Designing Healthy Communities.

“We’re looking at a 25-pound weight increase in adults since 1960 as well as a doubling of obesity rates and diabetes, not to mention an epidemic of depression.”

Jackson attributes much of these alarming U.S. health trends to the chaotic American lifestyle, a lifestyle that has been enabled by the built environment.

“We have excessively engineered physical activity out of our daily lives,” Jackson says. “I think architects need to create an America where the default option is the healthy option.”

Fully engaging the profession around issues of design and health is going to require a shift in mind-set, according to Joyce Lee, FAIA, architect fellow at the National Leadership Academy for the Public’s Health and co-author of Active Design Guidelines for the City of New York.

To illustrate the point, Lee compares the evolution of stairs and elevators in buildings to that of re-embracing natural ventilation in the age of air conditioning. “In many ways it’s about bringing back and celebrating age-old design techniques that the profession has taken thousands of years to perfect, yet have fallen away over the last 50 years,” she says.

Two Paths Forward

The AIA Health Action Plan

  • First, the AIA Leadership and the AIA Intern Development Program Advisory Committee have entered into discussions with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards to explore opportunities to integrate public health concepts into the Intern Development Program, beginning in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
  • Second, a new Design and Health website (aia.org/practicing/designhealth) has gone live under Practicing Architecture, replacing the Center for Value of Design. The site serves as a social aggregator for individuals to self-select public health issues according to their interests. Other features include a discussion board and resource library populated by members.
  • Third, with support from a $20,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the AIA and the AIA Foundation will host a summit on Design & Health in April 2014. The event will organize and advance research that concerns the intersection of design and health measurement, convening practitioners from design, policy, and public health as well as leaders in government agencies, non-government organizations, universities, and the private sector. In recognition of the efforts to measure health, the summit will seek to reconcile research and conversation around several focus areas.

The AIA Energy Action Plan

  • First, the AIA 2030 Commitment Database will house project-level energy data provided by AIA 2030 Commitment signatory firms, with the ultimate goal of migrating current Excel-based reporting into an easy-to-use online database that draws on aggregated data to provide real-time feedback and benchmarking. “There is so much value to this kind of information and it’s never existed before,” says Rand Ekman, AIA, director of sustainability at Cannon Design. “Having access to a robust database will be useful on the ground in establishing energy targets on projects, and will help firms better understand how well our energy models are guiding us.”
  • Second, AIA advocacy for energy legislation, which dates back to the energy crisis of the 1970s, has increased with the growing recognition that architects play a vital role in helping buildings use less energy. The Institute’s current advocacy efforts include supporting the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (commonly known as the Shaheen-Portman bill), a bipartisan Senate bill that promotes energy efficiency within commercial and residential buildings. At the same time, the AIA has rallied support from nearly 1,000 small businesses to oppose a potential amendment to the bill, an amendment that will propose the repeal of a 2007 law that applies the 2030 energy target to federal buildings. “We are more than 80,000 members strong, and that collective voice helps amplify our message to policymakers at all levels of government,” says Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA, the AIA’s managing director of government relations and outreach.
  • Third, momentum is building for the AIA Awards Task Force recommendations to require each AIA Honor Awards submission to include predicted energy- and water-performance metrics, and a basic sustainable design integration narrative. Proposed to take effect with the 2015 awards program, the recommendations have gained broad national support from past AIA Firm Award recipients, AIA Knowledge Communities, and prominent firms. “We are quickly entering a new era of evidence-based design where the resource and carbon emissions reduction capabilities of our buildings can be reasonably predicted,” says William Leddy, FAIA, chair of the AIA Committee on the Environment Advisory Group and a founding partner of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects. “We feel this information should become an important part of our discussion of design excellence in the 21st century.”
  • And finally, responding to member demand for additional energy educational resources, the AIA is planning to develop a curriculum that addresses a range of energy design and energy modeling topics. Coursework will combine in-person workshops and online learning tools as well as a new generation of written guides that provide a deeper understanding on topics such as how to effectively work with energy modeling consultants and how to identify financing opportunities within the energy retrofit market. Materials will be informed by existing energy educational programs, most of which were developed primarily for engineers.

More here: http://www.architectmagazine.com/high-performance-building/action-plans_o.aspx

Energy Efficiency Improvements Essential to Supermarkets’ Success

A division of Epec Engineered Technologies, EC Fans & Drives manufactures EC electric motors specifically for the HVAC and Refrigeration sectors.

 

With the introduction of new energy efficiency standards derived from the U.S. Department of Energy it is a very significant time to introduce our ECplus™ Motor. Anyone involved within the supermarket industry should be aware that profit margins are tight, typically between 1% and 3%. With the ECplus™ Motor you can expect up to 80% savings in energy consumption. The opportunity to save even a 1/8th of a cent would prove to be a drastic improvement in the refrigeration and HVAC industries.

Refrigeration alone accounts for over 35% of the energy consumed in a standard supermarket. Due to the increase in stringent legislation targeting energy savings, commercial refrigerators and freezers have become a main focus. This has resulted in Supermarket Procurement Departments specifying that all new and retrofitted commercial refrigerators and freezers are fitted with electronically commutated motors. Coca-Cola and other leading OEM’s in the commercial refrigeration sector have already begun implementing the cost saving benefits of the ECplus™ Motor and its energy efficient technology.

Simon Gidney, President of EC Fans & Drives, commented “Revised Energy Star efficiency requirements for 2014 have mandated a significant reduction in the power consumption of commercial refrigeration units and EC Fans & Drives are pleased to be working with several major OEM’s in the United States and overseas to provide state of the art electronically commutated motor solutions to help them meet and exceed these new energy requirements.”

The average American supermarket has approximately 400 shaded pole motors in commercial refrigerators and freezers which remain operational at all times.

The efficiency rate of these motors is in the order of 15%. This means that 85% of their energy consumption is transferred as waste heat into the environment, and has to be removed or cooled down again by the refrigeration and air conditioning system, causing additional consumption of energy.

With efficiency rates up to 70% the ECplus™ Motor will dramatically reduce direct energy consumption. Additional energy savings will incur by greatly reducing waste heat. The ECplus™ Motor will also allow supermarkets to significantly reduce their environmental impact.

Visit EC Fans & Drives website for more information about our Energy Saving ECplus™ Motor.
http://www.ecdrives.com/

About Epec Engineered Technologies

For over sixty years, Epec has had a reputation for reliability, on-time delivery, and financial stability. Our continuous investment in people, technology, and new ideas make it easy for our customers to do great work.

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

Setpoint Systems Corporation and Coppertree Analytics Announce New Strategic Partnership

Littleton, Colorado November 25, 2013

Since 1983, Setpoint Systems Corporation, an independent integrator of building control systems has been uniquely positioned to offer fully integrated system solutions on a common communications network. Their diverse and dynamic portfolio includes: 40+ story high-rise commercial office buildings, 1000+ room hotels, university campuses, K-12 school districts, hospitals, 40-megawatt data centers, top-secret military facilities, jails and prisons, and major league sports stadiums.

“Our customers are seeking to maximize every area of their buildings and facilities. We strive to provide optimal and collaborative solutions for their project. CopperTrees’ approach to analytics is focused on gaining insight into large and complex data sets in order to reach your building’s maximum potential.” – Aaron Nahale, CEO, Setpoint Systems Corporation

CopperTree Analytics’ approach was driven out of frustration with “smart” buildings not delivering on the promise of intelligent and efficient operation. From its inception, the team at CopperTree knew there must be better ways to operate buildings, and they made it their mission to make buildings easier to monitor, diagnose, improve, and manage.

About Coppertree Analytics:
For more than 30 years, Coppertree’s parent companies – Delta Controls (one of the largest independent building controls manufacturers) and ESC (Western Canada’s largest building systems integrator) – have been at the forefront of creating SMART buildings. Long before ‘sustainable’ was a buzz word, the founders were involved in energy audits and consulting; and so it was a natural extension to create Coppertree in response to the growing demand for building energy management services.

Our heritage means we combine an implicit understanding of the technology, which controls buildings with the practicalities of maintaining them – so you get a solution, which delivers genuine energy savings. Know your energy issues – Fix what is broken.

Put simply, Coppertree analytics provides energy management and fault detection diagnostics as software-as-a-service, which delivers you the power to optimize your building performance.

We were frustrated how SMART buildings aren’t delivering on the promise ‘intelligent’ buildings inspired and we know we can fix that. Our mission is to lessen the climate changing impact of buildings by making them easier to monitor and manage.

Based outside Vancouver, a city with a booming tech sector, we share a similar profile being young and multicultural. Our average age is 33, and diverse cultural backgrounds from Vietnam and India to Ireland and Russia. Learn more at coppertreeanalytics.com.

Contact Information
Setpoint Systems Corporation
Corporate Headquarter
8167 Southpark Circle
Littleton, CO 80120

+1.303.733.2300

Info.setpointsystems.com

Coppertree Analytics
100 – 5265 185A Street
Surrey, BC V3s 7A4

+1.604.575.5943

info.coppertreeanalytics.com

No cookie-cutter formula for improving energy efficiency at health facilities

Deanna Fourt, Director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Island Health

Deanna Fourt, Director of Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Island Health, enjoys the new ER in Nanaimo where they have implemented Solar shades, a dispersement ventilation vent, B.C. wood first ceilings, low density lighting, and a natural light courtyard.
Photograph by: Lance Sullivan , Special to The vancouver sun

In most facilities, changing a lightbulb is a pretty simple task. But in a hospital, even minor tasks can be complicated.

“Trying to change a light bulb in a hospital is not trivial when you’re talking about infection control challenges and patient impact,” Jeff Whitson says. “In a simple office building, you don’t have the same challenges. That’s what I love about what I do. In a hospital setting, improving energy efficiency isn’t as simple as you might think.”

Whitson is the Key Account Manager for the health sector in B.C. It’s his job to help provincial health authorities who are part of the BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program maximize the energy efficiency of their facilities.

“Every authority and facility is different and unique,” he says. “There’s no cookie-cutter formula.”

Through their partnership with BC Hydro, health authorities commit to devising a long-range Strategic Energy Management Plan. An Energy Manager helps the organization meet its goals.

Whitson talks to his energy managers “every single day,” he says, as part of ongoing collaborations on existing projects and identify new opportunities.

“We always have a running project list of good ideas in each health authority,” Whitson says.

Those ideas might come from the Energy Manager, the nurses, or any member of the employee base. “We have a good methodology to get those good ideas on paper. Then we strategize which ones we’re going to move forward with and those we’re going to park for a while.” At any given time, he might have anywhere from 50-75 projects going across the province. “There’s lots of project management involved in what I do, and lots of follow-up discussions on project status.”

Whitson estimates that more than 50 percent of those projects are based around upgrades or changes to lighting (infrastructure and controls) and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning).

“They can be small lighting retrofits to more complicated equipment replacements,” he says.

Many of the hospitals in the province are decades-old, and face the problem of aging infrastructure. A Strategic Energy Management Plan can help.

“A lot of these hospitals have been around a very long time,” Whitson says. “Equipment breaks down and they have to upgrade. And budgets are challenging – there’s lots of pressure on balancing the budget. Most hospitals don’t get a lot of capital to improve existing infrastructure.”

Which is where he comes in. “The partnership with BC Hydro works really well. If I can work with the health authorities to provide part of the funding, it makes those projects a lot easier to implement.”

BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program incentives aren’t restricted to older facilities. New builds, like the recently opened pediatric emergency department at Surrey Memorial Hospital, can go through the BC Hydro New Construction program.

“We’ll do detailed energy modeling, just to make sure we encouraged the developers and the authorities to make the building as energy efficient as possible,” Whitson says. “We try to squeeze as much energy out of the building before it’s even built.”

As part of its overall Power Smart Partner Program, BC Hydro highlights organizations that are leaders in their sectors. To reach this level, “executive support and engagement from the senior levels down” is vital, he says.

“If you don’t have that you don’t get very far.”

A Strategic Energy Management Plan that outlines a strategy and implements elements every year needs to be in place as well. And “you have to have employee engagement, with all the employees going in the same direction,” Whitson says.

The Leadership in the BC Health Authorities continues to support BC Hydro’s Workplace Conservation Awareness program. This program engages and encourages all employees to share energy saving ideas that help to reduce unnecessary electrical consumption in Healthcare. “It is a critical component to our overall strategy for energy savings and often low cost or no cost to implement.”

We have had some amazing success by engaging staff in and it continues to build momentum across all different environments.”

The BC Hydro Power Smart Partner Program helps large businesses across British Columbia make energy efficient changes to their organizations that will create financial savings and change behaviors towards energy use. “The end objective of the partnership is to embed energy efficiency as part of the organization’s ongoing culture,” says Power Smart Partner Program Manager Paul Seo. 

In this series, we’ll look at how the Power Smart Partner Program is teaming up with these sectors to make a difference in their approach towards energy conservation.