Innovation, Sustainability, and Historic Buildings – The Blog for Preservation Leadership Forum

I recently read an article that highlights how energy-efficient systems can be integrated into a historic building in a low impact way. GSA Rocky Mountain Region, Design-Build Partners of The Beck Group, and Westlake Reed Leskosky ‘s renovation of GSA’s Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Grand Junction, Colo., illustrates how reducing occupant’s plug loads, accounting for all energy uses, implementing innovative technologies and sustainable models can be implemented in a historic building . An important item to note that is often overlooked is the reduction of energy demand, which allows for installation of downsized HVAC systems and ensuring a better fit within existing building structure.

The article highlights the following implemented measures:

  • Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems
  • Dedicated Ventilation Systems
  • GeoExchange
  • Reducing Energy Demands

Read More.


Switching to LEDs, as simple as changing a light bulb?

The Sales pitch:

“XYZ Lamp Company Direct Replacement LED lamps plug right in to existing fluorescent T8 fixtures, so there’s no need to replace your old instant-start ballasts.”

The fine print:

“DOE finding based on careful analysis and testing results from DOE’s CALiPER program, which has systematically benchmark-tested these products with the linear fluorescent lamps they’re designed to replace. The results of that testing have shown that LED T8s produce far less light than the fluorescents they’re intended to replace, out of proportion to the energy savings.”–Jim BrodrickDepartment of Energy

Let’s take a closer look-

  • Direct replacement: Plugs directly into existing fluorescent T8 lamp fixtures

How will they interact with existing fluorescent ballasts?  The savings is strictly the bulb replacement and does not appear to include the ballast factor and wattage of the ballast.  Does the new bulb have a dedicated LED driver to replace the existing ballast?

  • Energy efficient: Cuts energy usage by half compared to fluorescents T8s

However, CALiPER testing reported fixture efficiency was higher with LEDs however, fluorescent fixtures had higher light output and higher overall efficacy for both lensed and parabolic louver troffers.

  • Long lasting: 50,000 hour rated life reduces maintenance costs 

What about end of life lumens? Fluorescent T8s have 92% lumen maintenance at end of life, compared with 70% lumen maintenance typically assumed for LEDs.

  • Beautiful light: 110 degrees of clear, uniform, and flicker-free illumination

Be sure to look at the CCT and CRI values. CALiPER reported “CCT values for most of the LED linear replacement lamps were similar to the fluorescent benchmarks (3200K to 4500K), but several of the LED lamps tested had atypical chromaticities that gave the light a greenish or purplish appearance. The CRI values of the LED products ranged from 63 to 76, with most of them approximating those of lower-quality fluorescent lamps.”

EERE Caliper Study

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City to Fit All Streetlights With Energy-Saving LED Bulbs

“The news conference was on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, where lights have already been replaced, expecting to save more than $70,000 and nearly 248,000 kilowatt-hours a year in energy. Unlike standard lights, which last six years, LED bulbs can burn for 20 years before they need to be replaced, the administration said, and the project is expected to save $14 million a year in energy and maintenance costs.”–By 

Would greater use of information-based programs and social networking help with energy-related decisions?

Reducing waste in energy consumption: Do flawed models equal sub-par results? “One of the most important omissions from our models is time, as a scarcity factor entering into the economic decisions of both energy suppliers and consumers. In advanced wealthy economies, time is often the most binding constraint on decision-making, not income or wealth, around which most of our economic models are designed. Time scarcity can create binding constraints on both households and businesses in many energy-related decisions, even when energy efficient products and services may be available in the marketplace, often at competitive prices.