Energy Efficiency is Key to Educational Institutions’ Core Mission

CHICAGO, Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — According to a new study … energy efficiency is recognized among U.S. higher education institutions as key to fulfilling their schools’ core mission, with almost 9 out of 10 respondents expecting to increase or maintain energy efficiency investments next year.

Photo:  Lillis Complex, University of Oregon

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.prnewswire.com

>” […] Eighty-eight percent of respondents also agree that energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to meet their energy needs while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting costs.

The biggest factor driving schools’ energy efficiency efforts is cost savings, according to the survey conducted with higher education facility leaders, with environmental benefits and industry standards rounding out the top three reasons for becoming more energy efficient. However, obstacles exist to achieving these objectives. While 92 percent of respondents stated that their school had a culture that encourages energy efficiency practices, organizational barriers are challenging their ability to achieve efficiency goals. Fifty-nine percent view this as the biggest obstacle, with insufficient funding and lack of a clear definition of success also ranking highly.

Another factor impacting institutions is aging infrastructure, with 59 percent indicating that the average age of their buildings exceeds 15 years, and only one in five reporting that the average age of their building is below 10 years. As facility leaders look to upgrade existing buildings, compatibility with new technology ranks as most important when considering making an investment. Compatibility with legacy systems outranked quality of the product and technology advancements of the solution.

“A majority of the higher education buildings that stand today are expected to be in operation for the next few decades,” said Tara Canfield, Segment Director, Education and Commercial Office Buildings at Schneider Electric. “Tremendous opportunities exist to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste in these existing buildings. In particular, by integrating building systems, facility managers can view energy use from a single interface, identify long-term opportunities for savings and continuously optimize their facility to yield the highest levels of efficiency over time. This integration also enables organizations to better use data from the Internet of Things, turning building insights into meaningful action that will improve operations.” […]

This survey was conducted by Redshift Research in June 2015 among 150 U.S. facilities leaders in higher educational establishments. Respondents have responsibility related to purchasing energy solutions, and their biggest responsibilities included facility management and operations management. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. […]”<

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Microsoft Uses Big Data To Manage Buildings and Facilities

MicrosoftCampus

“My initial expectation was that we would see the return on investment in terms of driving down our energy costs, and we have seen that,” says Pittenger, to whom Smith reports. “What wasn’t part of my expectations was the gains we would have in operational efficiencies and our abilities to do repairs and maintenance much, much better and much, much smarter.”

Source: www.facilitiesnet.com

Image:  http://news.microsoft.com/2009/11/23/california-coding-microsoft-campus-in-silicon-valley-turns-10/

>” […] Over those 125 buildings on the main Microsoft campus, there are more than 30,000 building systems components — assets, in Smith’s terms — and more than 2 million points where building systems ranging from HVAC to lighting to power monitoring are connected to sensors. In a 24-hour period, those systems produce half a billion data transactions. Each one is small, but when you’re talking about half a billion of something, all those 1s and 0s add up pretty quickly.

But what’s important is being able to do something with those 1s and 0s, which Microsoft could not do until recently because of the mess of systems involved, says Jim Sinopoli, managing principal, Smart Buildings, who helped set up the software pilot program.

“You have an opportunity, if you’re building a new campus or a new building, to really start with a clean slate,” he says. “But you go in these existing buildings and you generally will come upon some unforeseen obstacles.”

The project turned out to be a relatively easy sell. First, Pittenger’s background is financial, so being able to show a strong ROI was a definite plus for Smith, because his boss understands exactly what that means when it comes time to ask for funding. Second, facilities management at Microsoft benefits from a company culture that considers every department to be a key player.

“(CEO) Steve Ballmer likes to say, ‘There are no support organizations at Microsoft,'” Pittenger says. “Everybody is fundamental to the core mission of the company. And we feel that way.”

After gaining approval, the first step was deciding how those obstacles would be overcome. Smith and his team began by writing out 195 requirements for the new way of operating and what their ultimate tool would be able to do. Then they proceeded to look around for an off-the-shelf solution that would be able to do all those things — and failed to find one. So, they built it.

More specifically, they worked with three vendors in a pilot program, encompassing 2.6 million square feet, to build an “analytics blanket” of fault detection algorithms that is layered on top of the different building management systems and reports back to the operations center. If Building 17 and Building 33 have different building management systems, those systems may not be able to talk to each other or provide data to a single reporting system in the operations center. But they can talk to the analytics blanket, which can take the information from every building and combine it into a single output in the operations center. It’s not a replacement for the BMS; instead, it’s adding on functionality that enhances the benefits of the existing BMS.”<

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Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) | Whole Building Design Guide

Life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) is a method for assessing the total cost of facility ownership. It takes into account all costs of acquiring, owning, and disposing of a building or building system. LCCA is especially useful when project alternatives that fulfill the same performance requirements, but differ with respect to initial costs and operating costs, have to be compared in order to select the one that maximizes net savings.

Source: www.wbdg.org

DESCRIPTION

A. Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA) Method

The purpose of an LCCA is to estimate the overall costs of project alternatives and to select the design that ensures the facility will provide the lowest overall cost of ownership consistent with its quality and function. The LCCA should be performed early in the design process while there is still a chance to refine the design to ensure a reduction in life-cycle costs (LCC).

The first and most challenging task of an LCCA, or any economic evaluation method, is to determine the economic effects of alternative designs of buildings and building systems and to quantify these effects and express them in dollar amounts.

lcca_2

Viewed over a 30 year period, initial building costs account for approximately just 2% of the total, while operations and maintenance costs equal 6%, and personnel costs equal 92%.
Graphic: Sieglinde Fuller
Source: Sustainable Building Technical Manual / Joseph J. Romm,Lean and Clean Management, 1994.

B. Costs

There are numerous costs associated with acquiring, operating, maintaining, and disposing of a building or building system. Building-related costs usually fall into the following categories:lcca_5

Initial Costs—Purchase, Acquisition, Construction Costs

Fuel Costs,

Operation, Maintenance, and Repair Costs

Replacement Costs; Residual Values—Resale or Salvage Values or Disposal Costs, Finance Charges—Loan Interest Payments

Non-Monetary Benefits or Costs

Only those costs within each category that are relevant to the decision and significant in amount are needed to make a valid investment decision. Costs are relevant when they are different for one alternative compared with another; costs are significant when they are large enough to make a credible difference in the LCC of a project alternative. All costs are entered as base-year amounts in today’s dollars; the LCCA method escalates all amounts to their future year of occurrence and discounts them back to the base date to convert them to present values. […]

Energy and Water Costs

Operational expenses for energy, water, and other utilities are based on consumption, current rates, and price projections. Because energy, and to some extent water consumption, and building configuration and building envelope are interdependent, energy and water costs are usually assessed for the building as a whole rather than for individual building systems or components.

Energy usage: Energy costs are often difficult to predict accurately in the design phase of a project. Assumptions must be made about use profiles, occupancy rates, and schedules, all of which impact energy consumption. At the initial design stage, data on the amount of energy consumption for a building can come from engineering analysis or from a computer program such as eQuest.ENERGY PLUS (DOE), DOE-2.1E and BLAST require more detailed input not usually available until later in the design process. Other software packages, such as the proprietary programs TRACE (Trane), ESPRE (EPRI), and HAP (Carrier) have been developed to assist in mechanical equipment selection and sizing and are often distributed by manufacturers.

When selecting a program, it is important to consider whether you need annual, monthly, or hourly energy consumption figures and whether the program adequately tracks savings in energy consumption when design changes or different efficiency levels are simulated.  […]

Operation, Maintenance, and Repair Costs

(Courtesy of Washington State Department of General Administration)

Non-fuel operating costs, and maintenance and repair (OM&R) costs are often more difficult to estimate than other building expenditures. Operating schedules and standards of maintenance vary from building to building; there is great variation in these costs even for buildings of the same type and age. It is therefore especially important to use engineering judgment when estimating these costs.

Supplier quotes and published estimating guides sometimes provide information on maintenance and repair costs. Some of the data estimation guides derive cost data from statistical relationships of historical data (Means, BOMA) and report, for example, average owning and operating costs per square foot, by age of building, geographic location, number of stories, and number of square feet in the building. The Whitestone Research Facility Maintenance and Repair Cost Reference gives annualized costs for building systems and elements as well as service life estimates for specific building components. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntsville Division, provides access to a customized OM&R database for military construction (contact: Terry.L.Patton@HND01.usace.army.mil).

Replacement Costs

The number and timing of capital replacements of building systems depend on the estimated life of the system and the length of the study period. Use the same sources that provide cost estimates for initial investments to obtain estimates of replacement costs and expected useful lives. A good starting point for estimating future replacement costs is to use their cost as of the base date. The LCCA method will escalate base-year amounts to their future time of occurrence.

Residual Values

The residual value of a system (or component) is its remaining value at the end of the study period, or at the time it is replaced during the study period. Residual values can be based on value in place, resale value, salvage value, or scrap value, net of any selling, conversion, or disposal costs. As a rule of thumb, the residual value of a system with remaining useful life in place can be calculated by linearly prorating its initial costs. For example, for a system with an expected useful life of 15 years, which was installed 5 years before the end of the study period, the residual value would be approximately 2/3 (=(15-10)/15) of its initial cost.

Other Costs

Finance charges and taxes: For federal projects, finance charges are usually not relevant. Finance charges and other payments apply, however, if a project is financed through an Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) or Utility Energy Services Contract (UESC). The finance charges are usually included in the contract payments negotiated with the Energy Service Company (ESCO) or the utility.

Non-monetary benefits or costs: Non-monetary benefits or costs are project-related effects for which there is no objective way of assigning a dollar value. Examples of non-monetary effects may be the benefit derived from a particularly quiet HVAC system or from an expected, but hard-to-quantify productivity gain due to improved lighting. By their nature, these effects are external to the LCCA, but if they are significant they should be considered in the final investment decision and included in the project documentation. See Cost-Effective—Consider Non-Monetary Benefits.

To formalize the inclusion of non-monetary costs or benefits in your decision making, you can use the analytical hierarchy process (AHP), which is one of a set of multi-attribute decision analysis (MADA) methods that consider non-monetary attributes (qualitative and quantitative) in addition to common economic evaluation measures when evaluating project alternatives. ASTM E 1765 Standard Practice for Applying Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) to Multi-attribute Decision Analysis of Investments Related to Buildings and Building Systems published by ASTM International presents a procedure for calculating and interpreting AHP scores of a project’s total overall desirability when making building-related capital investment decisions. A source of information for estimating productivity costs, for example, is the WBDG Productive Branch.  [….]

D. Life-Cycle Cost Calculation

After identifying all costs by year and amount and discounting them to present value, they are added to arrive at total life-cycle costs for each alternative:

LCC =  I + Repl — Res + E + W + OM&R + O

LCC = Total LCC in present-value (PV) dollars of a given alternative
I = PV investment costs (if incurred at base date, they need not be discounted)
Repl = PV capital replacement costs
Res = PV residual value (resale value, salvage value) less disposal costs
E = PV of energy costs
W = PV of water costs
OM&R = PV of non-fuel operating, maintenance and repair costs
O = PV of other costs (e.g., contract costs for ESPCs or UESCs)

E. Supplementary Measures

Supplementary measures of economic evaluation are Net Savings (NS), Savings-to-Investment Ratio (SIR), Adjusted Internal Rate of Return (AIRR), and Simple Payback (SPB) or Discounted Payback (DPB). They are sometimes needed to meet specific regulatory requirements. For example, the FEMP LCC rules (10 CFR 436A) require the use of either the SIR or AIRR for ranking independent projects competing for limited funding. Some federal programs require a Payback Period to be computed as a screening measure in project evaluation. NS, SIR, and AIRR are consistent with the lowest LCC of an alternative if computed and applied correctly, with the same time-adjusted input values and assumptions. Payback measures, either SPB or DPB, are only consistent with LCCA if they are calculated over the entire study period, not only for the years of the payback period.

All supplementary measures are relative measures, i.e., they are computed for an alternative relative to a base case.  […]”<

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Energy Efficiency in Buildings – How VFD’s Save Energy

Have you wondered why Pumps and Fans are such a great opportunity to save energy using variable speed drives? ABB can help you estimate your energy savings a…

Source: www.youtube.com

>”  Efficiencies of Motors and Drives

The full load efficiency of AC electric motors range from around 80% for the smallest motors to over 95% for motors over 100 HP. The efficiency of an electric motor drops significantly as the load is reduced below 40%. Good practice dictates that motors should be sized so that full load operation corresponds to 75% of the rated power of the motor. […]

The efficiency of an electric motor and drive system is the ratio of mechanical output power to electrical input power and is most often expressed as a percentage.

Motor System Efficiency =Output MechanicalInput Electrical x 100%

A VFD is very efficient. Typical efficiencies of 97% or more are available at full load. At reduced loads the efficiency drops. Typically, VFDs over 10 HP have over 90% efficiency for loads greater than 25% of full load. This is the operating range of interest for practical applications. […]

The system efficiency is lower than the product of motor efficiency and VFD efficiency because the motor efficiency varies with load and because of the effects of harmonics on the motor.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to know what the motor/ drive system efficiency will be, but because the power input to a variable torque system drops so remarkably with speed, an estimate of the system efficiencies is really all that is needed.

When calculating the energy consumption of a motor drive system, estimated system efficiency in the range of 80-90 % can be used with motors ranging from 10 HP and larger and loads of 25% and greater.

In general, lower efficiency ranges correspond to small motor sizes and loads and higher efficiency ranges corresponds to larger motors and loads.

b. Comparison with Conventional Control Methods

Estimating Energy Savings

Fans and pumps are designed to be capable of meeting the maximum demand of the system in which they are installed.

However, quite often the actual demand could vary and be much less than the designed capacity. These conditions are accommodated by adding outlet dampers to fans or throttling valves to pumps.

These are effective and simple controls, but severely affect the efficiency of the system.

Using a VFD to control the fan or pump is a more efficient means of flow control than simple valves or inlet or outlet dampers. The power input to fans and pumps varies with the cube of the speed, so even seemingly small changes in speed can greatly impact the power required by the load. […]

In addition to major energy savings potential, a drive also offers built-in power factor correction, better process control and motor protection. […]”<*

* Extracted from:  http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/reference/15385

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Energy Efficiency, the Invisible fuel

THE CHEAPEST AND cleanest energy choice of all is not to waste it. Progress on this has been striking yet the potential is still vast. Improvements in energy…

Source: www.economist.com

>”[…] The “fifth fuel”, as energy efficiency is sometimes called, is the cheapest of all. A report by ACEEE, an American energy-efficiency group, reckons that the average cost of saving a kilowatt hour is 2.8 cents; the typical retail cost of one in America is 10 cents. In the electricity-using sector, saving a kilowatt hour can cost as little as one-sixth of a cent, says Mr Lovins of Rocky Mountain Institute, so payback can be measured in months, not years.

The largest single chunk of final energy consumption, 31%, is in buildings, chiefly heating and cooling. Much of that is wasted, not least because in the past architects have paid little attention to details such as the design of pipework (long, narrow pipes with lots of right angles are far more wasteful than short, fat and straight ones). Energy efficiency has been nobody’s priority: it takes time and money that architects, builders, landlords and tenants would rather spend on other things.

In countries with no tradition of thrifty energy use, the skills needed are in short supply, too. Even the wealthy, knowledgeable and determined Mr Liebreich had trouble getting the builders who worked on his energy-saving house to take his instructions seriously. Painstakingly taping the joins in insulating boards, and the gaps around them, seems unnecessary unless you understand the physics behind it: it is plugging the last few leaks that brings the biggest benefits. Builders are trained to worry about adequate ventilation, but not many know about the marvels of heat exchangers set in chimney stacks. […]

One answer to this market failure is to bring in mandatory standards for landlords and those selling properties. Another involves energy-service companies, known as ESCOs, which guarantee lower bills in exchange for modernisation. The company can develop economies of scale and tap financial markets for the upfront costs. The savings are shared with owners and occupiers. ESCOs are already a $6.5 billion-a-year industry in America and a $12 billion one in China. Both are dwarfed by Europe, with €41 billion ($56 billion) last year. Navigant Research, the consultancy, expects this to double by 2023.

That highlights one of the biggest reasons for optimism about the future of energy. Capital markets, frozen into caution after the financial crash of 2008, are now doing again what they are supposed to do: financing investments on the basis of future revenues. The growth of a bond market to pay for energy-efficiency projects was an encouraging sign in 2014, when $30 billion-40 billion were issued; this year’s total is likely to be $100 billion.

“The price of fossil fuels will always fluctuate. Solar is bound to get cheaper”

Solar energy is now a predictable income stream drawing in serious money. A rooftop lease can finance an investment of $15,000-20,000 with monthly payments that are lower than the customer’s current utility bill. SolarCity, an American company, has financed $5 billion in new solar capacity, raising money initially from institutional investors, including Goldman Sachs and Google, but now from individual private investors—who also become what the company calls “brand ambassadors”, encouraging friends and colleagues to install solar panels too.

The model is simple: SolarCity pays for the installation, then bundles the revenues and sells a bond based on the expected future income stream. Maturities range from one to seven years. The upshot is that the cost of capital for the solar industry is 200-300 basis points lower than that for utilities. […]”<

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The Ripple Effect of Energy Efficiency Investment

“The term “multiple benefits” has emerged to describe the additional value that emerges with any energy performance improvement. The benefits that occur onsite can be especially meaningful to manufacturing, commercial, and institutional facilities. Energy efficiency’s positive ripple effects include increased productivity and product quality, system reliability, and more. ”

 

Source: aceee.org

>” […]  Over the past few decades, researchers have documented numerous cases of energy efficiency improvements—almost always focusing exclusively on energy savings. Non-energy benefits are often recognized, but only in concept. ACEEE’s new report, Multiple Benefits of Business-Sector Energy Efficiency, summarizes what we know about the multiple benefits for the business sector. True quantification of these benefits remains elusive due to a lack of standard definitions, measurements, and documentation, but also in part because variations in business facility design and function ensures that a comprehensive list of potential energy efficiency measures is long, varied, and often unique to the facility.

To give some concrete examples of non-energy benefits at work: Optimizing the use of steam in a plywood manufacturing plant not only reduces the boiler’s natural gas consumption, it also improves the rate of throughput, thus increasing the plant’s daily product yield. A lighting retrofit reduces electricity consumption while also introducing lamps with a longer operating life, thus reducing the labor costs associated with replacing lighting. In many instances, monitoring energy use also provides insights into water or raw material usage, thereby revealing opportunities to optimize manufacturing inputs and eliminate production waste. By implementing energy efficiency, businesses can also boost their productivity. This additional value may make the difference in a business leader’s decision to pursue certain capital investment for their facility.

Meanwhile, energy resource planners at utilities and public utility commissions recognize the impact of large-facility energy demands on the cost and reliability of generation and transmission assets. By maximizing consumer efficiency, costs are reduced or offset throughout a utility system. So the ability to quantify the multiple benefits of investing in energy efficiency, if only in general terms, is an appealing prospect for resource planners eager to encourage greater participation in efficiency programs.

Unfortunately, our research shows that this quantification rarely happens, even though the multiple benefits are frequently evident. A number of studies offer measurement methodologies, anticipating the availability of proper data. When these methodologies are employed with limited samples, we see how proper accounting of non-energy benefits dramatically improves the investment performance of energy efficiency improvements—for example, improving payback times by 50% or better. Samples may provide impressive results, but the data remains too shallow to confidently infer the value to come for any single project type implemented in a specific industrial configuration. Developing such metrics will require more data.  […]”<

 

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New Boston Start-up Tracks Multifamily Residential Energy Efficiency “Score”

wego_screen_shotWegoWise Inc., which provides energy analytics to private property owners and public housing entities, last week launched WegoScore, a rating system that assesses buildings in three areas, energy, water and carbon and then spits out a score between one and 100.

Source: www.bizjournals.com

>” […] “We are focusing on a universal approach with meaningful reductions,” WegoWise founder and CTO Barun Singh said of the platform.

With the water crisis in California and with 39 percent of carbon dioxide coming from buildings, property owners and public housing agencies are making energy-saving retrofits and want to market what they’ve done.

Those buildings that reach a high rating are issued certificates and decals to let the world know they are more efficient. Maloney Properties Inc., a Wellesley-based real estate management, sales and construction firm with 350 buildings, is featuring its decal proudly. Other area companies include Peabody Properties in Braintree and Homeowners Rehab, based in Cambridge.

The score not only brings awareness to a building’s efficiency, it also provides a way for property owners to market the value of the work completed in their buildings to perspective tenants who are concerned about the environment, Singh said. And the stickers are a fun way to market their accomplishments.

After using WegoWise, Maloney Properties was able to find $2.5 million in 2014 retrofits and expects to save 10 to 20 percent on utility costs related to the retrofits annually. John Magee, an assistant facilities director at Maloney, said the real estate company has been looking for a way to market the value of its properties. And now, the WegoScore will enable it to do that.

With the $4.9 million in funding it has raised from Boston Community Capital, WegoWise was able to build a portfolio of 23,000 multifamily buildings covering more than 600 million square feet. With all of the data that WegoWise has collected since its launch in 2010, coming up with a rating system would be a simple solution, right? Not exactly, according Singh.

Launching WegoScore was an expensive and lengthy process for the 25-person company, he said. Before launching the rating system, Singh said he wanted to be sure that had enough data to come up with a score that was meaningful.

“The end result is a straight-forward algorithm,” he said.

The WegoScore is currently only available for multifamily buildings, according to the company. Scores will be refreshed on a weekly basis and stickers are awarded twice a year.

In addition to gaining interest from its existing customers, venture-backed WegoWise is also garnering the attention of other potential partners including banks, who could use the score as a way to get a sense of the building and decide whether or not to lend to them, and insurance providers that would make decisions based on the building’s efficiency score and other factors. […]”<

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$200m Demand Management Program Approved in NYC to Defer $1 billion SubStation to 2026

The NYPSC approved Con Ed of New York’s proposed $200 million Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program that would relieve overloads in the city.

Source: www.rtoinsider.com

>” […] Con Ed’s proposed Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program is consistent with the state’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” program to restructure the electricity market with greater reliance on technology and distributed resources, the commission said. “The commission is making a significant step forward toward a regulatory paradigm where utilities incorporate alternatives to traditional infrastructure investment when considering how to meet their planning and reliability needs,” the order states.

Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman added that because of the recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down federal jurisdiction over demand response in wholesale markets, it’s important for state regulators to set market rules for that resource.

Con Ed said the feeders serving the Brownsville No. 1 and 2 substations began to experience overloads in 2013 and would be overloaded by 69 MW for 40 to 48 hours during the summer by 2018. A new substation, transmission subfeeders and a switching station would cost $1 billion, according to the company. The PSC accepted the company’s estimate of the DM Program’s costs and ordered a cap of $200 million.

The program would include 52 MW of non-traditional utility-side and customer-side relief, including about 41 MW of energy efficiency, demand management and distributed generation, and 11 MW of utility-side battery energy storage. This will include incentives to upgrade building “envelopes,” improve air conditioning efficiency of equipment, encourage greater use of energy controls, and establish energy storage, distributed generation or microgrids.

This will be supplemented by approximately 17 MW of traditional utility infrastructure investment, consisting of 6 MW of capacitors and 11 MW of load transfers from the affected area to other networks.  […]”<

 

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Embodied Energy – A Measure of Sustainability in Buildings & Construction

Embodied energy in building materials has been studied for the past several decades by researchers interested in the relationship between building materials, construction processes, and their environmental impacts.

Source: www.canadianarchitect.com

>” […]

What is embodied energy?
There are two forms of embodied energy in buildings:

· Initial embodied energy; and
· Recurring embodied energy

1.  The initial embodied energy in buildings represents the non-renewable energy consumed in the acquisition of raw materials, their processing, manufacturing, transportation to site, and construction. This initial embodied energy has two components:

  • Direct energy the energy used to transport building products to the site, and then to construct the building; and
  • Indirect energy the energy used to acquire, process, and manufacture the building materials, including any transportation related to these activities.

2.  The recurring embodied energy in buildings represents the non-renewable energy consumed to maintain, repair, restore, refurbish or replace materials, components or systems during the life of the building.

As buildings become more energy-efficient, the ratio of embodied energy to lifetime consumption increases. Clearly, for buildings claiming to be “zero-energy” or “autonomous”, the energy used in construction and final disposal takes on a new significance. […]”<

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Berkeley City Property Owners to Pay For Energy Audits

Later this month, the Berkeley City Council is slated to approve a new law — designed to increase building sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — that will mandate new fees and recurring energy assessments for local property owners.

Source: www.berkeleyside.com

>” […] The law would require payment of a $79-$240 filing fee, depending on building size, by property owners every 5-10 years. On top of that, property owners will be required to undergo building energy assessments on the same cycle, conducted by registered contractors, to the tune of an estimated $200 for a single-family home and up to $10,000 for large commercial buildings.

The goal of the new law, according to the city, is to make “building energy use information more transparent to owners and prospective renters or buyers,” and ultimately inspire more investment in energy upgrades. The law would replace existing minimum energy and water efficiency measures in Berkeley. The proposed ordinance would not require that upgrades are actually done, but will compile energy scores and summaries for city properties, and make them readily available online.

Explained city sustainability coordinator Billi Romain, “Rather than require a list of specific measures, it requires an evaluation of a building’s efficiency opportunities and identifies all available incentives and financing programs.”

Romain said the hope is that, by giving people a “road map” for potential improvements, they will be more likely to schedule them to fit in with other home projects, such as seismic work. In addition to cutting down on local greenhouse gas emissions, the new ordinance has several other goals, from reducing utility costs that cause local dollars to “leak out” of Berkeley, to creating a more comfortable, durable building stock, as well as fortifying the local “green” workforce. […]

According to a city Energy Commission report on the ordinance, the assessments would take place on a five-year cycle for large buildings and every 8-10 years, or upon sale, for medium-sized and small buildings. Some of the costs may be offset by rebates and other incentives, and the program is set to include temporary “hardship deferrals” for those with financial constraints, and exemptions for high-efficiency buildings (see page 14). […]”<

 

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