Role of Building Operators and Promotion as a Green Job

“Recognize and promote building operations as a green job. Building operators can have a major effect on the indoor environment and indoor air quality as well as on building energy use and sustainability. These potential contributions to environmental sustainability can help make building operations an attractive career.” According to a new study  Behavioral Strategies to Bridge the Gap Between Potential and Actual Savings in Commercial Buildings recognize the building as a social system and use real buildings and users to experiment with solutions. The researchers stress the role of building operators and recommend training and certification for the profession, with curricula including energy use and energy efficiency.

Some highlights from the study are:

1) Small sample set.

Using semi-structured interviews, the sample of buildings personnel consisted of ten building operators, three energy managers, and nine other building management staff (e.g., property managers, analysts).  Additionally, most of the buildings the sample of building personnel operated were Energy Star-rated buildings, LEED-certified buildings, where energy use or sustainability appeared to be of higher interest compared to typical buildings.

2) Only four case studies, mostly offices
Case I:
Large Owner- Occupied Office- Single tenant, over 10 stories, more than 400,000 square feet, out- sourced building operations team; LEED- certified
Case II:
Medium Local Government Office-Single-tenant LEED- certified, about 60,000 square feet, renovated in 2000s
Case III:
Large Government Office-Single tenant, over 500,000 square feet, recently renovated
Case IV:
Medium Multi- Tenant Mixed Commercial-Multiple tenants, originally constructed mid 20th century, over 200,000 square feet
3) Recruitment was difficult

Recruitment was difficult, especially since they wanted to avoid studying buildings that had already been extensively researched or that were too specific, such as buildings on university campuses.

4) Target reader audience: research, policy, and program communities rather than to building operators

 Perspective complements efforts that target energy efficient technologies or individual actions in isolation, as well as guidelines that focus on the technical aspects of improving building operations (e.g., PECI 1999, Sullivan et al. 2010).

 

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Blocked Energy-Efficiency Bill

A recent bill aimed at cutting homeowners’ energy use, utility bills and carbon footprints was shot down. The bill’s goal was to make it easier for homeowners to buy efficient equipment and to encourage  manufacturers to build energy-efficient cooling and heating systems.

What are your thoughts on why it didn’t pass?

Do you agree with the statement that the bill was “derailed by the contentious debate over the Keystone XL pipeline and President Obama’s plans to issue new climate change regulations.” ?

 

See the results of Senate Vote

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.

 

Latest Review of a Software for Tracking Energy Use in Buildings

WegoWise, is one of several IT firms that has created software for tracking energy use in buildings.  Stephen Lacey of Green Tech Media argues that Wego Wise  has one of the most creative ways to present energy use data that is being collected in their database of buildings. Visualizing Building Efficiency is a new website setup by WegoWise that is designed to help individuals “visualize building efficiency”.  A few of the visuals that Stephen Lacey explores are:

  • Savings from a toilet retrofit look like a toilet flushing
  • Building energy use intensity looks like a flock of birds
  • Regional energy consumption differences look like a rubber band

See more examples.

 

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 

Energy Management Trends: The Power Of Plugs

Energy Management Trends: The Power Of Plugs

“Approaches to reducing equipment energy use at minimum cost can be grouped into three categories: software, hardware, and people….The increased attention being paid to this source of energy use in facilities is resulting in new technologies, methods, and resources for firms who aim to put plug loads in their place.”– Higgins and Harris

LLNL US Estimated Energy Use in 2011

LLNL US Estimated Energy Use in 2011

According to the chart rejected energy is a greater percentage than energy services and of the rejected energy looks like the energy industry should be targeting transportation and industry sectors.  LLNL