(While you can read our Green Intelligent Buildings supplement quarterly and visit its website at www.greenintelligentbuildings.com, we will occasionally print some additional news from the world of sustainable and smartly integrated buildings here.)


ASHRAE to provide design guidance for green health care facilities

Working to make advanced energy efficiency guidance mainstream, ASHRAE is developing a code-intended baseline sustainability standard for health care facilities. Proposed Standard 189.2, “Design, Construction and Operation of High-Performance Green Health Care Facilities,” will prescribe the procedures, methods, and documentation requirements related to high performance green health care facilities.

“ASHRAE has long understood the unique qualities that define the health care facility,” said Rick Hermans, a member of ASHRAE’s technical committee related to health care design. “High-performance green design, construction, and operation must recognize those unique qualities in order to be effective in the context of the health care environment. This standard will carefully comply with the requirements of health care givers while implementing the necessities of sustainability.”

It will apply to patient care areas and related support areas, including hospitals, nursing facilities and outpatient facilities. The standard will also apply to new buildings, additions to existing buildings and alterations to existing buildings.

For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/publicreviews.


DOE launches round three for industrial energy assessments

A program from the DOE that performed energy assessments at 253 industrial plants throughout the U.S. is accepting applications for its third round of energy assessments.

“Save Energy Now” assessments focus on energy-intensive components and systems, such as fans, pumps, and systems for process heating, steam, and compressed air. To date, the assessments have resulted in annual energy savings of nearly $63 million, and planned projects are expected to yield another $263 million in annual energy savings.

If all of the measures identified by the energy assessments were implemented, they would yield an annual cost savings of more than $574 million per year. In other words, each assessment has identified, on average, roughly $2.27 million in energy savings. The DOE will make its initial selections of industrial plants for energy assessments starting in mid-September, and additional selections will be announced periodically until the target of 250 assessments is reached for the calendar year 2008. For more information, visit www1.eere.energy.gov/industry/saveenergynow/assessments.html.


LEED® awards points for carbon neutral materials and products in projects

The USGBC announced that projects seeking certification under the LEED® Green Building Rating System™ can now earn an “Innovation in De-sign” point by using building products and materials that have been certified as “carbon neutral” by a reputable, independent third-party certifier, and that the product’s entire line of supply and manufacture is climate neutral.

“Awarding a LEED innovation point for carbon neutral products is yet another example of how LEED helps advance environmental building practices,” said Tom Hicks, vice president of LEED, USGBC. “Products that deliver climate benefits that go above and beyond the standard version of key building materials support USGBC’s desire to move towards a more life cycle based approach throughout the LEED rating system.”

Innovation in Design points are awarded to LEED projects that develop new solutions, employ new technologies, educate, or realize exemplary performance in another area. USGBC is cataloging all Innovation in Design points that have been awarded to LEED certified projects and will publish them online at www.usgbc.org

“Reducing and off-setting the greenhouse gas emissions created by the manufacture and use of building materials is critical,” noted Scot Horst, chair of the LEED Steering Committee.  This Innovation and Design point rewards proactive suppliers who take a climate leadership position with their products and ensure that climate benefits can be delivered on a credible, measurable, and transparent basis.”

Products and materials are climate neutral when there are zero net greenhouse gases (GHG), such as CO2, from the entire life cycle of the product.  The manufacturer calculates the total GHG impact utilizing life cycle analysis and then obtains carbon emission reduction credits (ERCs), such as through green power offset purchases or carbon sequestration projects.  The offsets must equal or exceed the GHG produced during extraction, processing, manufacture, transport, and end use of a product, and be certified by a recognized third party using sound scientific and accounting principles.




Uptime Institute chief comments on EPA data center report

Data center power consumption has caught the attention of Washington. Now the EPA intends to do for servers what it has already done for PCs and other electrical appliances. With its newest research study, the agency makes clear that it will apply the considerable weight of its successful Energy Star stamp to drive improvement in server energy efficiency.

A just-released EPA report, titled Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency, cites that, at 1.5% of national electric power consumption, data centers are now second only to heavy manufacturing as the largest industrial user of electric power from the grid. By extension, that suggests data centers are responsible for a significant carbon emissions footprint resulting from coal-fired electricity generating turbine plants.

An independent data center industry organization consisting of 100 large global users, the Uptime Institute hailed the report as an important first and necessary step in a national movement toward the development of green data center design and specifications. The institute’s whole-system recommendations, including the four performance factors of a green data center, are made in a formal Opinion of the Institute, also published earlier this month. The Opinion of the Institute identifies IT as controlling three of the four green performance factors with data center energy savings of 50% to 60% possible and represents 10-yr financial savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The Opinion of the Institute supports and significantly extends the findings in the EPA report.

“The EPA’s report is extensive and thorough,” said Ken Brill, founder and executive director of the institute. “We think its findings are strong and that it can and should be used as a corporate roadmap for developing both short- and long-term energy efficiency improvements in data centers.” The institute contributed to the study and commented on pre-publication drafts.

Simultaneously, the institute has published its latest white paper, The Invisible Crisis in the Data Center: The Economic Meltdown of Moore’s Law - the primary output of the institute’s spring symposium where nearly 400 industry stakeholders examined rising data center site infrastructure (power and cooling) costs resulting from increasing IT performance.

The paper analyzes how facilities’ costs have grown from the historic one to 3% of IT’s total budget to now become five to 15% and outlines necessary changes to restore the economic productivity of IT. Overall, the institute recommends the industry re-direct its R&D efforts to increase energy efficiency at a faster rate than computational performance, so there is a net reduction in IT energy consumption.

“The EPA report should be taken as a call to all stakeholders to the data center industry to now seriously take on the greening of the data center,” said Brill. “This issue has both economic productivity considerations and environmental consequences that can no longer be ignored.”

Brill said that the still largely unseen economic problems (hidden from view by historical organizational barriers and perverse incentives) will only grow as the rate of increase in computer performance continues to outpace the rate of improvement in the energy efficiency of computers.

“Environmental sustainability and profitability go hand-in-hand,” he said. “The savings are so large that companies that fail to take action will be at an increasing economic disadvantage. Regulation may not be needed, if the profit motivation of increased drives the right behavior. Once senior executives fully understand how the inefficient use of energy is undermining IT’s productivity, we trust that they will have the right response.”

(For more information about the Uptime Institute’s upcoming Charrette, “Data Center Energy Efficiency By Design,” please see this month’s Issues & Events section.)




Green building education at USGBC's annual Greenbuild Conference

The USGBC’s annual Greenbuild conference and exhibition, which will be held from November 7-9, 2007 in Chicago, is the world’s largest conference and exhibit hall dedicated to green building.

The Greenbuild conference presents the opportunity to learn more about the green building industry including the LEED® green building rating system. It brings the entire industry together from the commercial to the residential sector: architects, home builders, real estate professionals, code officials, contractors, educators, financial service providers, government agencies, green power providers, interior designers, schools, universities, students, and urban planners - all will be at the conference to share ideas and promote green building. To learn more, visit www.greenbuildexpo.org/.