HOW DOES YOUR BUILDING MEASURE UP?
There are now many resources available to support the design of more sustainable buildings and to assess the “green-ness” of these designs. As the field of sustainable design evolves, many in the field are thinking about measuring the actual benefits of these designs—the performance of buildings that we consider “green”. Numerous projects in the U.S. and other countries are attempting to define the qualitative and/or quantitative measures of sustainability and the data needed to implement and assess these measures. These efforts are important because they will enable us to determine:
- if we are having the impact on human health and the environment we expected
- what this achievement is costing or saving
Different users ask different questions about performance and want different information and levels of detail. High level measures provide a quick overall assessment of performance on most critical parameters and enable an organization to report on its overall environmental improvement and the benefits of its sustainable design activities. More detailed measures can explain unexpected results and enable a building manager to check on problem areas or monitor/tune ongoing performance of systems.
Let AAA Energy Service Co. engineers benchmark your facility so you know where you stand!
Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager helps you track and assess energy and water consumption within individual buildings as well as across your entire building portfolio. Enter energy consumption and cost data into your Portfolio Manager account to benchmark building energy performance, assess energy management goals over time, and identify strategic opportunities for savings and recognition opportunities.
Track key consumption, performance, and cost information portfolio-wide. For example, we can:
- Track multiple energy and water meters for each facility
- Customize meter names and key information
- Benchmark your facilities relative to their past performance
- View percent improvement in weather-normalized source energy
- Monitor energy and water costs
- Share your building data with others inside or outside of your organization
- Enter operating characteristics, tailored to each space use category within your building.
- Rate Your Building’s Energy Performance
For many facilities, we can rate their energy performance on a scale of 1–100 relative to similar buildings nationwide. Statistically representative models are used to compare your building against similar buildings from a national survey conducted by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. This national survey, known as the Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), is conducted every four years, and gathers data on building characteristics and energy use from thousands of buildings across the United States. A rating of 50 indicates that the building, from an energy consumption standpoint, performs better than 50% of all similar buildings nationwide, while a rating of 75 indicates that the building performs better than 75% of all similar buildings nationwide.
There are different concepts or definitions of “performance” and, as a result, we are often talking past one another. “Performance” can mean:
- Does the building, as built, exhibit characteristics that are green or sustainable?
- Is the building routinely operated and maintained sustainably?
- Are building upgrades, renovations, reconfigurations sustainable?
- What are the environmental resultsof sustainable strategies, in terms of resource consumption and environmental impacts?
- What are the savings realized from a sustainable building (and costs)?
- What are other benefits (and costs) of sustainable building (social, health, community, etc)?
Actual vs. Modeled Performance. For some metrics, it is relatively easy to obtain actual performance data. For others, it is more difficult and models or estimations must be used. If models are necessary, it is best to use any relevant available “actual” data when possible, to better reflect operating performance rather than design performance.
Benchmarks for Comparison. For performance measurement to be useful, we need to be able to determine the level of performance and how it compares to a more typical building in the same climate, with the same occupancies. This requires the specification of benchmarks. Benchmarks can be a building’s performance over time, to measure improvements that result from renovation or changes in operations, or it can be based on external yardsticks such as LEED®, EnergyStar®, or others.
Please call AAA Energy Service Co. today so we can help you determine “where your building stands”.
Call AAA Energy Service to discuss how we can help!
“Building Efficiency … it’s what we do”