Here are some selections from the Air Advice Building Blog on commercial buildings and energy savings:
Lighting controls, like any control system has the power to realize a significant amount of savings because you can control specific times when the lights can and cannot be used. Lighting systems in buildings are typically designed to provide to much light for today’s needs, they usually do not take into account the use of natural daylight, and they are left on when no one is using them. Lighting controls can address all of these wasteful issues and with reliable paybacks of less than 2 years in many cases.
The top 5 use of lighting controls are:
- Scheduling automatically turns lights off or to dimmed levels based on the time of day.
- Occupancy sensors turn the lights off when a room or space is vacant.
- Daylight harvesting dims or shuts off lights when enough daylight is present to satisfy light levels.
- Demand response/load shedding reduces light loads at peak electricity price times.
- Personal light controls allows users to dim lights their preferred levels.
How do we get there?
How do we do that?
- Strengthen building codes and energy labeling for increased transparency.
- Use subsidies and price signals to incentivize energy-efficient investments.
- Encourage integrated design approaches and innovations.
- Develop and use advanced technology to enable energy-saving behavior.
- Develop workforce capacity for energy saving.
- Mobilize for an energy-aware culture.
Worldwide buildings are the single greatest consumer of energy at 38% compared to Industry (33%) and Transportation (26%). We cannot affect climate change until a coordinated worldwide effort to institute these six principles occurs.
A prototype of ASHRAE’s building energy label, called Building EQ or Building Energy Quotient, was released at the annual ASHRAE conference in Louisville. What do you think?
We agree that information is a necessary first step when it comes to making energy efficiency improvements in buildings, so the concept of a label is great. I also like that there will be both an “asset rating” and and “operational rating.” The asset rating is based on the design specifications and an energy model, while the operational rating is based on actual energy use after the building has been operational for at least a year.
One thing missing from the prototype, however, is information that relates the ratings to percentages of energy efficiency relative to peers, an average, or some other kind of baseline. As it is with the colored bars, it sort of reminds me of the terrorist threat level ratings that people have a hard time understanding. The top level in the Building EQ label actually does this by identifying an A+ as net zero energy. So, maybe that’s the baseline - one level below that could be 85% efficienct, two levels below is 70% efficienct, and so on. That might help users (building owners, managers, building service providers, potential building buyers) get a better idea of how much worse, say, a building rated “Fair” is than one rated “Very good.”
A lot of progress has been made though, and it is great to see it come to fruition with the release of the prototype. The launch of the full program is scheduled for 2010.
What do you think of the label? And another question for those of you who own, manage, or service commercial buildings…are you ready?
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