Advanced Controls for Rooftop Units Pays Back

A year-long study conducted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of rooftop packaged HVAC equipment at malls, hospitals and other buildings in the USA found, “Commercial buildings could cut their heating and cooling electricity use by an average of 57 percent with advanced energy-efficiency controls”.

The main goal of the campaign,, is to encourage installation of advanced controls for rooftop HVAC units.  PNNL has created a table with typical HVAC unit sizes, operational characteristics and costs to help building owners “weigh the costs” of advanced controls.  For instance building owners could achieve a 3 year payback with an installation of a unit that is 15 tons or less and electricity costs are greater than or equal to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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ASHRAE: Service Life and Maintenance Cost Database

Free information on equipment service life and annual maintenance costs for a variety of building types and HVAC systems is available through an ASHRAE Owning and Operating database.

According to ASHRAE, “the purpose of this database is to provide current information on service life and maintenance costs of typical HVAC equipment. Engineers depend on accurate owning and operating data to make decisions involving the life cycle and functionality of buildings. However, lack of sufficient up-to-date data makes it difficult to provide a solid basis for those decisions. Previous efforts to collect data through traditional survey methods have produced less than acceptable results.”

Three fields are created, each with a Query that allows an individual to create customizable search criteria:

  • Equipment Service Life Evaluation (here): Creates both lists and summaries of service life data customized to match specific criteria.
  • HVAC Maintenance Cost Evaluation (here): Creates both lists and summaries of maintenance data customized to match specific criteria.
  • Submit HVAC Data (here): The database is open for public data submissions. Registration is required.



NAHB: ASHRAE Joins NAHB and ICC to Develop New National Green Building Standard

” Now known as the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard (NGBS) …NGBS has been used to certify more than 32,000 single- and multifamily homes and residential developments for reaching its established benchmarks for energy, water and resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, home owner education and site development.”

Fans account for 80 percent of the so-called “parasitic” load

Fans account for 80 percent of the so-called “parasitic” load according to Michael Ivanovich, director of strategic energy initiatives for the Air Movement Control Association (AMCA) International, in a recent Facilitiesnet article.  In order to address the issue of high energy usage associated with fans there needed to be a better way to differentiate the performance of fans. AMCA has developed fan efficiency grades (FEGs) to help facility managers, engineers and owner identify how efficient is the fan they select compared to industry standard . FEGs is defined by AMCA as “a numerical rating that classifies fans by their aerodynamic ability to convert mechanical shaft power to air power” or in simpler terms, a measurement of peak fan efficiency independent of the motor and drive.  The author also interviewed Tim Mathson of Greenheck who emphasized that the use of FEGs by facility managers when specifying new fans will result in selection of units that operate in the higher-efficiency regions of the fan curve.

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New Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus- Inside Look

High Performance Buildings recently published an article on the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Campus.  The campus was designed to reflect three key priorities: human environment, the local ecosystem, and a climate neutral future.  Additionally, the new campus serves as a central hub for employees that were previously located in five different offices.  Total cost of ownership was used to determine the major HVAC and water system design specifications.  An energy model of the design specifications versus ASHRAE 90.1-2004 baseline predicted a cost savings of 34% and energy savings of 40%.  The article provides a detailed lessons learned section as well as IEQ, site and water, transportation and materials.  One issue that continually is a challenge in construction is waste management.  This project successfully diverted 96% of the construction waste preventing 15,900 tons of debris from entering the landfill. In the end, the campus won awards for their design from ASHRAE, IES, and LEED platinum certification.


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Refrigeration Commissioning Guide Seeks to Ensure Systems Work Right–Free Download Available |

“Sixty percent of energy use in supermarkets is attributed to refrigeration, and studies have shown commissioning could result in 7 to 25 percent energy savings. A new guide from ASHRAE outlines a commissioning process that would result in substantial savings.”–free-download-available

Comments on Proposed Commissioning Guideline Accepted | Energy Manager Today

“ASHRAE Guideline 0.2P, The Commissioning Process for Existing Systems and Assemblies, describes the procedures, methods, documentation, requirements and physical activities of the commissioning process for existing buildings, systems and assemblies using the principles developed in ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005, The Commissioning Process.”–William Opalka

The proposed guideline is open for public comment from Dec. 6 until Jan. 20, 2014. For more information, visit www.ashrae.orgpublicreviews.


PNNL: News – Highly insulating windows are very energy efficient, though expensive

” For this study, the PNNL team studied the effect of replacing aluminum-frame double-pane windows, which are common in homes across the country, with newer, triple-pane windows, also known as highly insulating windows. The team found that the newer windows slash energy use in the home by 12.2 percent. But because of the cost of the highly insulating windows, it would take anywhere from 23 to 55 years for the reduced energy cost to make up for the increased expense.”

ASHRAE Announces Technology Award Recipients

“The ASHRAE Technology Awards recognize outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design.  Their designs incorporate ASHRAE standards for effective energy management and indoor air quality. The awards communicate innovative systems design to other ASHRAE members and highlight technological achievements of ASHRAE to others around the world. Winning projects are selected from entries earning regional awards.

First place awards will be presented at the ASHRAE 2014 Winter Conference in New York, N.Y., Jan. 18-22, New York Hilton.”–Jodi Scott