“Existing buildings are also seeing more emphasis on water savings. In areas like San Francisco, where upgrading to high-performance lavatory fixtures is a requirement, some of that interest is a result of government stipulation; however, building owners everywhere can benefit from the financial benefits. “We’ve seen incredible financial returns” for upgrading to water-saving features, Macko says, adding that they can yield up to a 25% return on investment in the first year.”
While that statement might seem overly cautionary, it may soon appear over every toilet in some of the most cutting-edge high-rises in San Francisco thanks to a growing emphasis on water conservation and recent provisions allowing for greywater use in commercial buildings for flushing.
“For the first time in California’s history, we’ll see private commercial developers using non-potable sources for fixture supply. This is a marked departure from the norm,” says Matt Macko, principal at San Francisco–based Environmental Building Strategies.
In forward-thinking markets like San Francisco, LEED gold and platinum levels are becoming the standard as new buildings compete for status as the most cutting-edge and efficient in order to better attract tenants, and as corporations seek to brand themselves through their architecture. In order to reach these lofty certifications, planners “have to incorporate things like greywater and storm water systems,” Macko…
LEED and Green Globes approved as third party certification programs for federal facilities.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>In its recommendation to DOE, GSA recommended the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes 2010 and the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2009 as the third party certification systems that the federal government can use to gauge performance in its construction and renovation projects. Other certification systems were not selected because they did not align with the government’s requirements. Additionally, under this recommendation, GSA will conduct more regular reviews in order to keep up with the latest green building tools that the market has to offer.
Third party certification systems like LEED and Green Globes help in measuring reduction targets for water, energy, and greenhouse gas emissions against industry standards. Agencies can use one of the two certification systems that best meet their building portfolios, which range from office buildings, to laboratories, to hospitals, to airplane hangars.
Federal construction and modernization projects must adhere to the government’s own green building requirements by law and executive orders. No one certification system meets all of the federal government’s green building requirements. Green building certification systems are just one tool that GSA uses to cut costs and meet sustainability and economic performance goals.<
PORTLAND, OR–(Marketwired – Oct 29, 2013) – The Green Building Initiative (GBI) applauds the General Services Administration on its recognition of Green Globes® alongside the U.S.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>GBI’s growth in the market is due to its commitment to the practicality of its tools for use by building owners, designers, and facility managers as well as its commitment to open, consensus-based review of its technical criteria. In 2010, GBI was recognized for developing Green Globes for New Construction as the first ever American National Standard for a commercial building rating system. As it continues to improve its rating systems based on changes in the market, GBI remains committed to using the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved consensus procedures.
“GBI is the only commercial building rating system developer to vet its technical criteria through the ANSI process,” stated GBI Chairman Tonjes. “This helps to ensure that GBI’s rating systems provide the opportunity to evaluate the widest range of buildings using an open, science-based approach to building performance.”
ANSI/GBI 01-2010, also known as Green Globes for New Construction, is due for revision before the end of 2015 based on ANSI periodic maintenance requirements. According to Tonjes, GBI’s ANSI-based rating system review process will begin before the end of this year with the filing of required documents followed by reformation of the technical review committee.
GBI’s tools have a significant focus on both the reduction and efficient use of energy and water in buildings. These, along with other criteria, help reduce building operating costs and their overall impact on the environment.
“Since 2005, the Green Globes product line has evolved to include several updated and expanded tools,” stated Erin Shaffer, vice president of federal outreach at GBI.<
As of May 5, 2001, the Condominium Act 1998 requires all existing and new condominium corporations to have a “Reserve Fund Study” undertaken. This article outlines some of the key aspects of Reserve Funds and the Studies.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>[…]The regulations to the Condominium Act stipulate the minimum liability insurance requirements; $1,000,000.
6. What Information Does The Corporation Need To Provide?
Once you have hired a consultant, he/she will require information about the condominium corporation. This will include the following:
As-built drawings and specifications.
The Declaration and Description.
Reciprocal cost sharing agreements.
Previous reserve fund studies.
The most recent audited financial statements.
What the current annual contribution to the Reserve Fund is.
Repairs or replacements to the common elements that have already been completed and when.
Similarly, scheduled future work needs to be accounted for.
A summary of problems being encountered by the Corporation that should be reviewed.
As an example, water penetration concerns.
7. What Is The Process?
The process is as follows:
The consultant is provided the above information. One of the most important are the drawings. They will be reviewed prior to visiting the site in order for the consultant to become familiar with the overall design and construction schemes.
Site inspection. In order to have an understanding on the current condition of the common elements, visual inspections are undertaken. Problem areas noted above can be reviewed. After the first study, the next study update can be completed without a site inspection. The next update must include a site inspection.
The report is then prepared (see next question). The drawings are used to “take-off” quantities such as roofing, exterior wall cladding, asphalt, hallway finishes etc that will assist in preparing the replacement/repair cost budgets. It is recommended that a draft report should be submitted in order for the Board and Property Manager to review it prior to it being finalized. The consultant should be available to attend a meeting to review the report.
Upon receiving direction from the Board of Directors, the Reserve Fund Study is finalized and submitted. […]
Case study of an improperly designed energy retrofit project where airtight windows and other measures were taken without an integrated approach. The failure to upgrade the building envelope resulted in mold formation due to persistent condensation inside the building walls & ceilings.
In our previous articles, we have cautioned that an energy retrofit should be approached with an integrated, whole-building approach, and by a professional with experience in calculating and simulating thermal envelopes.
The photos below show what happened to one family’s home when they decided to do an independent partial energy retrofit, without consulting a qualified professional. In this case, they decided to replace the old windows of their house with newer, high performance windows, hoping that they would be able to reduce their energy consumption.
These photographs are courtesy of our friend and colleague Damiano Chiarini of Studio Rinnova, who joins us in emphasizing the importance of an integrated approach to energy retrofits in order to avoid disasters like this one. He was called in to consult the building owner on possible solutions after this attempt to upgrade the…
CALABASAS, Calif., Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Association Reserves, a well-known provider of reserve study services in the United States, recently announced its decision to launch a new website dedicated to their Do-it-Yourself Reserve Study kit.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>According to an article written using data from Association Reserves’ 30,000 reserve studies, 70 percent of associations in the United States are “underfunded.” This puts many organizations at an increased risk of special assessments, deferred maintenance, declining property values, and board member liability. According to the company, by accounting for the ongoing cost of common area deterioration and then properly funding reserves, boards are able to responsibly prepare for their associations’ future expenses.
“Our goal is to eliminate all excuses for board members not to be aware of the current strength of their Association’s reserve fund and the funding plan necessary to perform common area repairs & replacement in a timely manner,” says Robert Nordlund, PE, RS, the company’s founder. “The path from underfunded to appropriately-funded is a journey and a Reserve Study provides the necessary road map.”<
Deploying private capital for energy efficiency retrofits “could” be transformational, “but” investors lack the confidence in energy savings estimates against which lenders would underwrite loans. How do we boost that confidence?
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>[…]Those seeking capital for energy project investments need to do a better job presenting risk information to decision makers. Simple payback, return on investment, or even life-cycle-cost models do not provide sufficient information on risks and rewards. Investors cannot properly assess cash flow forecasts without a discussion of risks and risk mitigation.
For example, imagine two five-year streams of cash flow, one that generates a 15 percent return and one that generates a seven percent return. Which is better? The answer depends on the level of risk in achieving the forecasted benefits. If the seven percent return is based on seasoned existing cash flows it might be highly preferable to a 15 percent return predicated on executing construction, lease-up, and other risks.
The initial estimated energy cost savings is a critical value for investors considering energy projects. The risk side of this economic opportunity is that a building will fail to live up to performance expectations and the anticipated cost savings are not achieved.
[…] This causes the financial analyst to increase the required rate of return or to de-rate the savings before applying the financial model. This practice undermines the viability of energy projects.
Yet recent efforts have highlighted attempts to address these confidence deficiencies. The Environmental Defense Fund—through its Investor Confidence Project—is working with engineers, financial firms, insurers, regulators and utilities to unlock the flow of private capital into building efficiency investments. They are developing protocols so that energy and cost savings from retrofit projects can be predicted more accurately and realized more consistently. […]
The modeler utilizes building simulation software to project energy use and costs. By evaluating and comparing performance, the modeler determines the benefits of building siting, space layout, passive design elements, and energy-efficient components. The modeler also identifies occupant comfort issues. Building energy modeling (BEM) is often applied in the design and retrofit of buildings to evaluate proposed and alternate integrated-design solutions that satisfy project performance targets. To support investors, information must be provided that describes the risk associated with cost savings estimates and indirect benefits of improvements so their value beyond costs can be considered.
The level of risk associated with the energy savings for retrofit projects can be addressed in two general ways: 1) the approach for quantifying energy savings, and 2) methods for managing risk introduced by the modeling process. […]<
PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — NEEA and partners successfully introduce heat pump water heaters to the Northwest. Technology promises to save enough energy to power all the homes in Seattle and Boise each year.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>Water heating accounts for 15 to 20 percent of electric energy use in homes with electric water heating. Compared to traditional electric water heaters, heat pump water heaters can save homeowners up to 50 percent on energy costs while still delivering the same amount of hot water. Heat pump water heater technology works like a refrigerator, but in reverse – using fans and an evaporator to pull warmth from the surrounding air and transfer it to water in the storage tank.
"The work we accomplished in collaboration with our utility, manufacturer and retail partners in 2012 and 2013 sets the stage for new innovations, new features and improved product designs that will help transform the market," said Jill Reynolds, heat pump water heater initiative manager, NEEA. "Part of developing new technologies is testing product quality. Together with our partners we tested heat pump water heaters in the field and launched a regional marketing promotion across the Northwest. We see huge potential regional energy savings from this technology."
Fifty-five percent of Northwest homes have electric water heaters. If all of those homes used heat pump water heaters specifically designed for the Northern climate, the region could save nearly 500 average megawatts (aMW) by 2025, the equivalent to powering all the homes in Seattle and Boise combined each year.<