Most companies want to decrease their energy consumption, either for financial reasons, or to be active in reducing their carbon footprint, or both — but some of them aren’t sure where to begin. When the only measure of a facility’s energy usage is the bill customers receive at the end of the month, they may feel their facility is more like the proverbial black hole: power goes in, business happens inside, but it’s not clear exactly how much energy is used where and when.
How many energy-efficient or certified buildings are not living up to the label? Very, very many, if this Ohio commissioning/auditing firm’s experience is close to typical. They report on common weaknesses in efficiency strategies and on real-life patterns of upgrades gone wrong across an array of equipment types. While flaws in well-intentioned processes remain, a more careful investment of human energy can still yield the desired reduction in building energy.
Achieving deep energy savings is especially challenging when you’re faced with an existing structure with poor orientation, historic preservation requirements, and little space for renewables. The Byron Rogers Federal Office Building’s retrofit is scheduled to be completed in 2013; the post-renovation building is projected to consume less than half the energy it did before.
Identifying motor retrofit opportunities in cooling towers, air handlers, exhaust fans, and
circulating pumps reflects the no-stone-unturned strategy Rutgers employs in energy management.For those motors, boiler upgrades, and future projects, the university regularly seizes on multiple incentives opportunities — ranging from utility offers to good old-fashioned intraschool competition — to teach efficiency in action.
To help owners reduce their energy costs, a new building labeling program has been developed by ASRHAE that not only rates buildings according to the in-operation energy use but also provides owners with suggested measures that can improve energy efficiency.
What does a full-scale modernization on a 90-yr-old federal building and courthouse look like when it aims for federal energy goals and LEED status? Chiller plant and hot water/boiler overhauls are just the start. Aggressive lighting and water treatment/conservation strategies also contribute to the GSA’s effort to throw the book at this Alabama retrofit.
Energy efficiency and historic preservation are rarely synonymous. More often than not, one must be compromised for the sake of the other. Fortunately, the University of Arkansas found a way around such compromises when it came to the restoration and mechanical renovation of the school’s beloved Peabody Hall.
Many engineers tend to avoid or delegate the nitty gritty of a ground source heat pump system, from soil moisture effects to building system (im) balance. It's time for designers to get in the loop. Learn more about Grounded In Reality in the December issue. Other topics in the December issue include health care HVAC, Boilders, check out the Back2Basics, and more.