Add Boston to the list of cities that have approved energy benchmarking. The city ordinance will require larger commercial and residential buildings to report annual energy and water usage to the city, making the information available for the public.
Seven other cities have enacted energy benchmarking including New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. California and Washington are the only two states that have reporting requirements aimed at reducing carbon emissions by cutting energy consumption.
The Boston ordinance requires only the reporting of data and energy audits for less-efficient buildings. It is hoped that “creating transparency around energy use will result in market forces driving a reduction of greenhouse gases as owners take steps to improve efficiencies and remain competitive among tenants focused on operating costs and sustainable workplaces.”
Transparency in commercial buildings is sure to stick around, and will undoubtly lead to improvements in energy performance and increased building values.
By Gaylen Davenport
Located in Seattle, the Bullitt Center opened on Earth Day as the world’s greenest building. It features state-of-the-art engineering and sustainable systems.
Timed perfectly with Earth Day, the Bullitt Center opened its doors yesterday as the world’s greenest building. Located in Seattle, the six-story, 50,000 square foot office building features a variety of sustainable projects, including composting toilets.
The Bullitt Foundation “hopes that the new center will demonstrate that carbon-neutral office space can be ‘commercially viable and aesthetically stunning.'”
Part of the Living Building Challenge, the Bullitt Center features a rain water collection system, aerobic composters, and rooftop photovoltaic panels that produce around 230,000 kilowatt-hours a year.
The mechanical and electrical rooms of the Center will have large glass windows to display the state-of-the-art engineering and innovative systems. The building’s indoor air quality, energy consumption, and solar power production will all be closely monitored and updated in real time for visitors.
Read more about the innovative Bullitt Center at the Arch Daily.
By Gaylen Davenport
A new report questions the value of energy benchmarking laws, especially in terms of what they are meant to achieve.
Robert Stavins, an environmental economist at Harvard University, examined “whether mandatory benchmarking and auditing rules can achieve what they’re meant to do.”
Energy benchmarking has worked its way to the Midwest as a way to garner more data on buildings and disclose energy information from commercial buildings.
The study was funded by opponents of the recent ruling in Minneapolis, and found that while benchmarking rules “do not necessarily come with a pile of money to help inefficient buildings, the data coming from the disclosure could help utilities or other market players design more effective energy-efficiency programs to target the lowest-performing buildings.”
While Stavins does not discredit benchmarking rules, he does question how much they can accomplish. Energy benchmarking is still in its early stages in the U.S. But from what we can see, from larger cities like New York, and Washington, D.C., “benchmarking has already allowed them to identify problematic sections of the municipal building sections of the municipal building stock and take actions – whether that’s a full-fledged energy audit or simply changing the rules for how building managers monitor equipment.”
And while benchmarking rules are not perfect, they do have an effect on market and behavior shifts that will put energy efficiency front and center.
Source: Green Tech Media
By Gaylen Davenport
Researchers found that the New York Times building is seeing some impressive gains in efficiency since new benchmarking laws have been in place.
Last year, New York City required its commercial buildings to disclose their energy consumption. The benchmarking plan saw many surprises including finding newer LEED buildings ranked behind much older buildings when it came to energy efficiency.
Take for instance the New York Times building, which is seeing more impressive gains in efficiency. Constructed in 2007, the building includes a dimmable lighting system, an automated roller shade system for windows, and an underfloor air distribution system. Plus it gets about 40 percent of its energy from natural gas.
After comparing the NY Times building with a standard building efficiency code, researchers found that the NY Times Building “reduced annual electricity by 24 percent, cut heating energy use by more than 50 percent, and reduced peak electric demand by 25 percent.”
The findings showed that standard efficiency measures can have a substantial impact on the energy performance of a building. “As New York City’s recent energy benchmarking report showed, even much older buildings with proper retrofits can outperform new buildings with a prominent environmental rating.
Read more about the study at Green Tech Media.
By Gaylen Davenport
Adopting a mixed mode approach is an effective cooling measure for commercial buildings that have high energy usage.
It may not feel like it here in Kansas City, but summer is right around the corner. For businesses looking to save on utility costs, that means implementing strategies for cooling commercial buildings.
It seems that commercial buildings are more susceptible to higher energy use. This is because offices and commercial buildings have high indoor waste heating from people, lighting, computers, and other electrical appliances.
Of course, reducing energy use isn’t the only reason for cooling buildings. Comfort for employees is also important. So how do you keep your business cool during the summer months without spending a fortune?
One solution is to adopt a mixed mode approach in which passive cooling measures are used including lighting controls and occupancy sensors.
Worldwide Energy also provides building envelope solutions that can even temperatures to improve occupant comfort such as cool roof reflect, insulation, and window tinting.
With careful design and system management, commercial buildings can provide high levels of indoor comfort while still operating in an energy efficient manner.
Contact one of our certified energy auditors to schedule a complimentary facility review.
By Gaylen Davenport
Out with the old and in with the new this year. Since the ban of incandescent lighting, consumers and business owners are tossing out their T12s, and replacing them with LEDs.
The energy efficient lighting technology last much longer and uses far less electricty than incandescent. “Prices for the bulbs are falling steadily as retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s sell them aggressively and manufacturers improve the technology.”
According to retailers, LED sales in the residential market were a small 3 percent, but grew faster than those of any other lighting technology. IMS Research, an electronics research firm, believes that LEDs will outsell incandescents in the U.S. in 2014.
While the price tag is higher, consumers are beginning to discover the appeal of efficient lighting including better lighting quality and more flexibility.
Source: The New York Times
Is energy efficiency in your future? If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your office next year, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind, courtesy of Clean Technica.
There are many varieties of LED lights so it is best to have a professional install your new lighting system.
You’ve heard of their benefits, but do you know enough about installing light emitting diodes (LED)?
Unlike fluorescent lamps, LED light fixtures contain powerful LED light sources that include plastic lenses to reduce glare. And some light sources are already becoming too bright to look at directly.
As LED technology continues to grow, fixture manufacturers still need to find better and more energy efficient solutions to reduce the glare.
In all commercial spaces, it is best to have to have a professional install new lighting systems to ensure accurate lighting levels, and proper wiring.
Source: Sustainable Industries
The Swedish-based furniture chain recently announced a new green initiative Ikea is phasing out sales of all lighting that is not LED-based by 2016 “in an effort to help customers save energy, reduce electricity bills, and cut carbon emissions.”
Ikea is the first major home furnishing retailer with a U.S. presence to entirely banish less efficient lighting. The company has plans to replace more than a million store lights with LEDs.
Ikea’s other green initiatives include the phasing out of plastic bags in 2007 and incandescent bulbs in 2010.
Source: Environmental Leader