Tag Archives: smart buildings

Quick Reads on LEED

1. Challenges Seeking LEED Status in Older Buildings

Pursuing certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system can create major challenges for maintenance and engineering managers. The task is even greater when the institutional and commercial facilities date back to the days of Thomas Jefferson.

“It certainly presents a challenge for us to access the HVAC and lighting systems to repair and replace them without causing any further damage to the building,” says Ryan Taylor, zone maintenance superintendent for central grounds at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, whose responsibilities include many of the original buildings designed by Jefferson. “We have to work closely with our historic preservation team to make sure we’re following the appropriate procedures and using proper materials for the repairs. We work closely with them to identify major problems that we need to focus on and make sure we’re taking the right steps to prepare them properly so those buildings can be preserved.”

The university has 23 LEED-certified buildings — including one building at the platinum, four at the gold, and 12 at the silver levels — and infuses sustainability and LEED into its capital development process, from pre-planning to post-occupancy. The maintenance department plays a central role in the LEED-certification process from the development stage.

“On the maintenance side, we are involved in the design review process and work with the architects and engineers to make sure the systems being installed are maintenance-friendly,” Taylor says. “It’s a combination of looking at LEED and looking at maintenance-friendly systems that we can continue to maintain once the building is constructed or renovated.”

2.  Is LEED Broken?

Today’s tip of the day is about what we can learn from LEED’s critics.

Oftentimes, the natural response to criticism is to get defensive, dig in your heels, and then counterattack. But that is usually less productive and more polarizing. To avoid such a reaction and instead open a dialogue is the key finding common ground and moving forward.

With that in mind, one of the more fascinating sessions at Greenbuild 2013 was titled “What We Can Learn From LEED’s Critics.” The session, presented by Tristan Roberts of BuildingGreen, Rob Watson of ECON Group (and who carries the “Father of LEED” moniker), and Pamela Lippe of E4 Inc., broke LEED criticisms into three main categories, and then examined the validity of each, and how USGBC has responded.

The first criticism is that the LEED process is broken — this covered both the rating system development process, as well as the certification process. To address the first, USGBC says it has maintained an open, iterative process to the rating system development process, as evidenced by the more than 20,000 public comments over six comment periods, and then the 86 percent approval when LEED v4 was put to a vote. They‘ve also drastically cut down on the time between submission and certification — 85 percent of projects are ruled on within 25 days of submission. That’s a vast improvement.

The second criticism is that LEED is not vigorous enough. You hear this one a lot from the vocal critics who say a LEED certified building isn’t any better than a traditional. USGBC is working diligently to compile more LEED data — now requiring all LEED registered projects to submit five years of water and energy data — to show that LEED buildings are, indeed, more environmentally responsible than traditional. During this discussion, Rob Watson unleashed the quote of the conference: “If your building isn’t performing, it’s your fault. Not LEED’s.” How true.

The third criticism is that LEED is too complex and too expensive. You commonly hear this from folks who think LEED certification is simply “buying a plaque” and that the constant updates to LEED make it impossible to keep up. No one would deny that LEEDv4 is a giant step forward in terms of rigor, but that’s what is needed to move the market, says USGBC. And as for “buying a plaque,” reasonable minds can disagree on the value of certification itself, but USGBC has always said that a third-party review is what really motivates projects teams to stay the course and follow through.

3.  LEED Dynamic Plaque May Lead To Better LEED Performance

Today’s tip of the day is about the performance of LEED certified buildings, and the new LEED Dynamic Plaque.

One of the hallmarks of a high-performance building is one that performs, highly. If that sounds to you like some sort of Jedi Mind Trick of circular reasoning, you’re not totally wrong. But there’s still much to unpack there — especially when you consider the long-standing snipe about supposedly high-performance, LEED-certified buildings that they were more about the checklist, and less about the actual performance.

Last year, at Greenbuild, concurrent with its roll-out of the new LEEDv4 system, which emphasizes performance and human health, U.S. Green Building Council also re-introduced its new vision for how buildings will be scored and monitored in the future: the LEED Dynamic Plaque. (Video of USGBC’s Scot Horst’s presentation is here.)

The LEED Dynamic Plaque — the concept was first introduced at Greenbuild 2012, but now, there is actually a real, live plaque being piloted in USGBC’s own Platinum space — gives users a real-time display of how the building is doing in the areas of water, waste, energy, transportation, and human experience. So now longer will LEED be a set-it-and-forget-it proposition – every user of the building from Day 1 forward will be able to see how the building is performing. And therefore, everyone will know whether or not it truly is a high-performance building as a LEED certification seemingly promises.

While transparency of data for all seems like a great idea in theory, the idea of the LEED Dynamic Plaque may make more than a few facility managers nervous. What if the building isn’t actually performing as intended? Who gets the blame?

But progressive facility managers see any data as an opportunity, especially when that data specifically shows opportunity. The LEED Dynamic Plaque will show occupants and upper managers alike — far outside the confines of a budget-request power point or an energy data spreadsheet — that the organization has a building it can be proud of.

4.  What Is High-Performance Building?

Today’s tip of the day is about the meaning of the term “high-performance building.” “High-performance” is actually a much more encompassing, and frankly, more accurate, term than “green” when it comes to describing the buildings facility managers own, manage, and maintain. But what does “high-performance” actually mean? Does it mean LEED-certified buildings that are energy and water efficient? Facilities that are people-friendly and get high marks from occupants for creature comforts? Highly automated, integrated buildings that turn big data into big efficiency gains with smart analytics? The answer, of course, is yes. A high-performance building is all of those things and more. The key to a high-performance building is optimization and integration of all things — whether fan speeds or fire safety, whether landscaping or lighting efficiency. It means thinking on both a micro and macro level about how building systems interact, and how building occupants interact with those systems. Yes, “high-performance” does tend to have a bit more to it than the traditional definition of green (a building that is environmentally responsible). Thinking about making a building “high-performance” means considering aspects of the building— fire/life-safety, ADA compliance, communication plans, even art work or other occupant-focused “bonuses” — that were certainly also considered in a green building, but may not have been emphasized. “High-performance” is how those in the industry will think about and define successful buildings in the future.

Source: Facilitiesnet

Budding Success with Green Roof Incentives


The silver city townhomes in Milwaukee, WI, earned a $172,278 grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District toward its green roof project.
PHOTO CREDIT: XERO FLOR AMERICA LLC

If you want your next roofing project to come up roses, you might consider growing some up there – and if you really want to gild the lily, plant some incentive funding into the plot.

“There is a lot of curiosity and apprehension about green roofs. Building owners have heard about them and only just begun investigating costs and support packages,” says Clayton Rugh, general manager and technical director of system supplier Xero Flor America. “Suppliers can help in the financial argument, but it’s important to go to your local utility to see what’s available.”

Where there was once little local, state, or federal funding for green roof projects, many incentives are sprouting up across the country.

“During negotiation, have a dialogue about what can be done for you in order to get the project approved. Municipalities recognize that these projects cost developers money, and in their quest to attract new development, they’re willing to play ball,” explains Dick Hayden, garden roof department manager at system supplier American Hydrotech. “Green roofs have real value, so utilities use incentives as part of the financing puzzle.”

Knowing what is available and what works will make your project a lush undertaking.

MUNICIPAL INCENTIVES AT A GLANCE
Below is a crash course on types of incentives available in different regions, according to the non-profit organization Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. If these aren’t advertised or available in your neck of the woods, do some digging or lobbying.

“Incentives come in various forms, but a lot of entities don’t advertise them,” Hayden says. “They want to promote the green component, but the dollars are based on stormwater management. Replacing sewer infrastructure can cost billions.”

Even if you can’t collect monetary motivation, lowering the amount of impervious space on your property can give you an added floor on your building or extra parking space in your lot. Consider the possibilities:

  • Chicago, IL: Green Roof Permit Program – In addition to monetary incentives for stormwater and reducing the urban heat island effect, another bonus is an expedited building permit program.
  • Milwaukee, WI: Regional Green Roof Incentive – Earn $5 per square foot of approved green roof space.
  • Minneapolis, MN: Regional Green Roof Initiative – A discount of up to 100% on stormwater utility fees rewards properties that manage their stormwater quality and quantity with strategies including green roofs.
  • Nashville, TN: Green Roof Credit – Earn a $10 rebate for each square foot of green roof space.
  • New York, NY: Green Roof Tax Abatement – Earn a $5.23 rebate per square foot of green roof space, capped at $200,000 per project.
  • Philadelphia, PA: Green Roof Tax Credit – Earn a credit of up to 25% of all costs incurred to construct a green roof, with a maximum of $100,000 per project.
  • Portland, OR: Floor Area Ratio Bonus – Earn extra space based on the percentage of green roof area: 10-30% earns 1 extra square foot of floor area, 30-60% earns 2, and 60%+ earns 3.
  • Syracuse, NY: Green Improvement Fund – Moneys are available for projects utilizing green infrastructure. Nearly $4 million has already been awarded to 37 projects.
  • Toronto, ON: Green Roof Bylaw/Procurement – Earn $7 per square foot of green roof space.
  • Washington, D.C.: Green Roof Rebate Program – There is base funding ranging from $7-10 per square foot of green roof area depending on the project’s sewage shed area.

LEARN FROM SUCCESS STORIES
The World Wide Fund for Nature remodeled its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The facility added a green roof with the primary goal of reducing the first flush and/or peak flow of water during major storm activity. The project also coincided with an aggressive renovation to earn LEED-EB 2009 Platinum.

Its 28,000-square-foot green roof treats and retains about 416,250 gallons of stormwater annually, meeting both municipal and LEED guidelines. As a result of the reduced stress on the city sewer infrastructure, the project earned tax abatement of almost $200,000.

The Silver City Townhomes in Milwaukee, WI, are five structures housing 20 rent-to-own three- and four-bedroom units. Each building has a green roof, with the area totaling 11,577 square feet. They were funded with a $172,278 grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District.

Sources like these can be earned for your project, even if funding doesn’t appear readily available. The onus is on you to pursue and advocate for them.

“Push for policy in your area. Lobby and get representatives on board with green roofs and infrastructure,” suggests Andy Creath, owner and founder of Green Roofs of Colorado, a green roof designer and installer. “Just get involved.”

Source: buildings.com

10 Smart Building Myths Busted

Smart buildings are a no-brainer and more affordable than most building owners and investors realize.

Smart buildings have been proven to save energy, streamline facilities management and prevent expensive equipment failures. Yet, to many property owners and investors, the value of smart buildings remains a mystery. The fact is, in most buildings, we can demonstrate a strong business case for strategic investments in smart building systems and management technologies.

Not everyone is aware that the tremendous advantages of today’s affordable smart building management technologies easily justify the cost. The following are 10 myths about smart buildings, along with the facts:

Myth #10: Smart Building Technologies Are Expensive.

Myth Debunked: Smart building technology investments typically pay for themselves within one or two years by delivering energy savings and other operational efficiencies. One smart building management pilot program we worked on, for example, generated a positive return on investment within several months.

Myth #9: Smart Buildings are Only About Energy.

Myth Debunked: A smart building management system often can detect when a piece of equipment is close to failure and alert facilities personnel to fix the problem. Knowing the right time to repair or replace equipment extends machinery life, and reduces facility staff, operations and replacement costs. More dramatically, smart building management systems can prevent full-scale building system failures—potentially embarrassing to a Superbowl stadium host, but life-threatening in a hospital or laboratory.

Myth #8: Smart Buildings and Green Buildings are the Same Thing. Myth Debunked: Smart buildings maximize energy efficiency from building systems and ensure air quality, while a complete “green” sustainability program includes strategies beyond building automation systems. So, while “smart” and “green” features may overlap, they are not identical concepts. The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) explains the difference in Bright Green Buildings: Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings, a comprehensive report authored with Frost and Sullivan.

Myth #7: Industrial Facilities or Laboratories Can’t Become Smart Buildings.

Myth Debunked:  All types of buildings—whether residential or commercial—can be built or retrofitted to become highly automated and smart. Even highly specialized facilities such as laboratories can be outfitted with smart building technologies.

Myth #6: Smart Buildings Can Only Be New Buildings.

Myth Debunked: Some of the smartest buildings in the world are not new at all, but have demonstrated the return on investment in smart technologies. The Empire State Building, for example, has exceeded projected energy savings for the second consecutive year following an extensive phased retrofit begun in 2009.

Myth #5: Smart Building Technologies are Not Interoperable.

Myth Debunked: In the past, building automation equipment and controls were designed as proprietary systems. However, affordable new technologies, such as wireless sensors, now make it possible to gather data from disparate systems produced by any manufacturer.

Myth #4: Smart Systems Don’t Make a Building More Attractive to Tenants.

Myth Debunked:  Anything that improves energy efficiency, reduces occupancy cost and improves productivity is valuable to tenants, as numerous studies and surveys attest. Tenants and their advisors increasingly expect smart building features such as zoned HVAC, sophisticated equipment maintenance alert systems, and advanced security systems. As reported in JLL’s October 2012 Global Sustainability Perspective, smart systems provide benefits for tenants—and tenants recognize the benefits.

Myth #3: Without a Municipal Smart Grid, a Building Can’t Really Be Smart.

Myth Debunked:  It’s true that smart buildings gain functionality when supported by advanced electrical grids installed by municipalities and their utility company partners. But even without a smart grid, owners and investors can draw a wide range of benefits from smart buildings and a smart building management system that can monitor entire property portfolios.

Myth #2: Smart Buildings Are Complicated to Operate.

Myth Debunked: Combined with a smart building management system, a smart building is often easier to operate and maintain than a building that lacks automated systems. A smart building management system can integrate work-order management applications; pull equipment repair and maintenance data into performance analytics; and pinpoint equipment issues to a degree not humanly possible. For example, a smart building management system can diagnose a programming problem that has been undetected for 15 years, enabling facility managers to resolve a recurring equipment malfunction.

Myth #1: Smart Buildings Are a No-Brainer.

Myth NOT Debunked: This myth isn’t a myth at all — it’s actually true. As affordable new technologies are adopted, tenants are beginning to expect smart building features—and owners and investors are beginning to realize the return on investment in smart systems.

Leo O’Loughlin is senior vice president of Energy and Sustainability Services at JLL, the global professional services and investment management firm offering specialized services to clients that own, occupy and invest in commercial real estate. With 20 years of energy and sustainability management expertise, Leo helps clients incorporate energy and sustainability concepts into operations and project management, reducing energy consumption, utility expense and carbon emissions. He specializes in creating and analyzing project structures for energy efficiency, central utility plant and energy services outsourcing programs, managing the multi-disciplinary development of energy infrastructure assets and retrofit projects. He also manages business development, commercial structuring, financial and technical analyses and implementation of energy-related projects. Previously, Leo was an executive at several leading California energy companies. He holds an MBA from San Diego State University and a BS in mechanical engineering from Purdue University. 

Source: http://www.energymanagertoday.com/10-smart-building-myths-busted-0100847/

BUILDING AUTOMATION AND MANAGING THE CORPORATE FACILITY

Today’s facility and IT managers are facing multiple challenges in managing corporate facilities. The corporate facility includes various areas such as the commercial building, manufacturing floor, warehouse, remote sites, and data center. All of these corporate facilities require different attention from the managers to meet the corporate sustainability goals set forth by the executive team. Goals that mainly revolve around reducing CapEx and OpEx costs by performing energy reduction, capacity planning, equipment life-cycle-management, and provide a productive and collaborative work environment that the manager has to deal with on a continuous basis.

These top-of-mind issues require accurate data collection, and are converted into useable information to enable smart decision-making. At the same time, the manager is asked to perform all of his or her daily activities with less staff to reduce overhead cost. This “do more with less” phenomena requires the manager to utilize the latest Information Technology to gain insights into areas that need improvement through the use of Building Automation Systems and benchmarking against industry metrics. A good Building Automation System empowers organizations to reduce operational and capital expenses, improve visibility of key operational data, and enable sustainable, energy efficient facilities.

Building Automation System describes the system of controls that has the advanced functionality to monitor, manage and control building equipment.  Types of equipment include water, gas, electricity metering, heating, ventilation, air conditioning equipment, lighting, surveillance, access control, digital signage, and fire life safety monitoring. In most cases, each system operates in silo with little or no communication to each other. Each of the systems gathers data individually and stores the data with its own format, thus requires the facility manager to compile all the data manually from several locations to gain visibility to the condition and usage of the facility. This introduces many problems with facility management in wasted resource and time, questionable accuracy of energy accounting, and inconsistency in the reporting metrics.

Source:

7 Sustainability Strategies for Commercial Buildings

The office building industry accounts for nearly 20% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International.

A key part to curbing emissions is working with local and city officials, tenants, and other groups to help make entire communities more sustainable. BOMA International shares the following strategies for greening your facility and community.

  1. Get Connected. Local utility companies often offer demand response and other energyefficiency incentive programs for both residential and commercial buildings. Reach out to local utility companies to find out what incentives and programs are offered in your city and how your building can benefit.
  2. Make a Presentation. Does your building implement great energy management strategies? Contact your local chamber of commerce and offer to share your leadership insight with the business community in your city.
  3. Benchmark Energy Performance. Measuring performance is the first step toward improving performance. Benchmark your building’s energy and water consumption through EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Managerbenchmarking tool and encourage the rest of the buildings in your company’s portfolio and throughout the city to do the same. Make it a team competition to be the city with the most benchmarked buildings.
  4. Support Incentive-Based Energy Legislation. In cities and states across the country there is incentive-based energy legislation that make it more affordable for building owners to implement energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. Find out if this type of legislation has passed in your city/state, and be sure to support it if it has. If it doesn’t exist, lobby your elected officials to create legislation to incentivize energy efficiency.
  5. Host a Recycling Event. Host a community recycling day where tenants and community residents can drop off hard to recycle items such as batteries and LED light bulbs. Don’t stop at your building; make it a citywide campaign.
  6. Teach Your Tenants Well. Your building management team is well versed in the latest energy management strategies. Terrific. But what about your tenants? Institute a Tenant Energy Awareness Program – use your company newsletter and/or building announcements to keep tenants informed about energy management goals and offer training, education, and tips on low and no-cost energy efficiency strategies.
  7. “Green” the Commute. Fewer cars equals greener cities. Get your city on the road to green by offering bicycle storage facilities in your building.

Source: Buildings.com

Commercial And Retail Buildings To Be The Fastest Adopters Of Remote Monitoring Services In Intelligent Buildings

London — Commercial and retail end users will drive the growth of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings, accounting for more than 80 percent of the $400 million market in 2016, according to a new study by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).

Remote monitoring in intelligent buildings is a service offered by third-party companies that audit and report on the operational performance of a building. The services have two key selling points. First, auditors can make recommendations to save energy costs by determining, for instance, a more efficient schedule for the building automation system. Second, the building owner can reduce internal staffing costs for the facility by using a third-party service provider.

The figure below presents the forecast growth for remote monitoring services used in commercial and retail buildings from 2012 to 2016, with a snapshot of what the market will look like by 2021.

“Remote monitoring services are gaining increased traction as building owners find significant savings to be made, in terms of both decreasing energy bills and reducing staffing costs,” said Sam Grinter, market analyst for building technologies at IHS.  “The drive to reduce overheads has been reinforced over the last five years by tough economic conditions.”

“Commercial and retail end users have been the fastest to take advantage of remote monitoring services in intelligent buildings”, Grinter noted, “Because the slashing of operational expenses has been a higher priority for them than for government or institutional end users”.

Remote monitoring service providers have found success with commercial and retail end users by demonstrating the effectiveness of the systems in trial deployments. Then, once the return on investment is demonstrated, services are rolled out throughout the wider building portfolio. The services in intelligent buildings are looked upon as a competitive advantage, which explains why adoption has spread relatively quickly.

As the market develops further, other end-user industries such as education, government, data centers and hospitality will increasingly take advantage of the services, IHS believes. The systems are expected to not only improve building efficiency but also reduce internal staffing costs for monitoring and maintaining buildings.

Read more: http://www.facilitiesnet.com/

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.