“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
Large Owner- Occupied Office- Single tenant, over 10 stories, more than 400,000 square feet, out- sourced building operations team; LEED- certified
Medium Local Government Office-Single-tenant LEED- certified, about 60,000 square feet, renovated in 2000s
Large Government Office-Single tenant, over 500,000 square feet, recently renovated
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).
The title of this article should be changed to: …may lead to poor indoor air quality.
Everyone in the energy efficiency world is familiar with the phrase “build tight, ventilate right”. BPI and home performance programs emphasize testing for radon and if necessary installing a radon vent fan as well as makeup ventilation system for tightly sealed homes.
The other interesting part of this article is that it is based on a model and some statistical info from England. No reference of actual cases or scientific studies in the USA.
Another thing they mention is installing better insulation. However, that only addresses conductive heat loss. The convective heat loss from unsealed air gaps in your home causes drafts and results in comfort complaints. In taller buildings air sealing saves a great deal of money.
This is a misleading article using a scare tactic.
“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