A year ago, Johnson Controls completed a massive retrofit of the Empire State building, a project in which the energy savings were contractually guaranteed by the vendor. Year One savings goals were surpassed by 5 percent, cutting overall energy use and saving $2.4 million in utility costs.
The California Energy Commission is on the verge of adopting changes to the 2008 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (title 24). From American Architectural Manufacturers Association:
“The proposed 2013 standards focus on several key areas to improve the energy efficiency of newly constructed buildings (as well as additions and alterations to existing buildings), help reduce electricity demand reductions during critical peak periods and enable simple and efficient future solar system installations. This is expected to save California residents and businesses hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs over the next decade, as well as benefit the environment.”
From the UK’s The Guardian, an article on how sustainability can shape architectural design, for the better. The California Academy of Sciences is one such example.
A reminder that I’ll be presenting “Sustainable Energy and Green Construction Considerations for Design and Construction Professionals” this Friday at National University, School of Engineering and Technology in San Diego. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Hope to see you there. To register click here.
On April 20th, I’ll be giving two presentations at an all-day education seminar held by the American Society of Professional Estimators, San Diego Chapter. I’ll be speaking about “Green Construction Effects on the Building Industry” and “Energy Reduction Usage and Photovoltaic Panels”. The ASPE seminar will take place at National University, and will cover numerous topics of value to building owners, estimators, project managers, architects, engineers, general contractors and subcontractors.
In order for a low-carbon and sustainable energy revolution to take place, smart grids with their accompanying technologies will have to play a major role.
Most of the existing electrical grid in the United States, such as that in California, has been in existence for more than a hundred years. It is imperative that these grids be modernized – resulting in a more efficient, more reliable, safer, interoperable and more affordable electrical system. The global smart grid market is at $22.8 billion last year in 2011, but is expected to jump up to $80.6 billion by the year 2016 as new technologies are being introduced that can deliver and meet the requirements smart grid reliability, stability and lower electrical rates. A survey from Zpryme indicates that 8 out of 10 industry executives are confident that investments in smart grids will continue to go through 2012 and the succeeding years. Many believe that the smart grid is the only rational and viable long-term action that can integrate and manage all government regulation, integration of renewable energy, carbon emissions control, and other complex requirements of the volatile energy market.
Jeff St. John of greentechmedia.com writes provides more insight on how intelligent building technologies will interface with the smart grid.
A significant element of California’s Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan is the Zero Net Energy Action Plan which is specifically designed in using and taking advantage of the latest energy efficiency technologies as well as financial incentives to help commercial building owners achieved “Net Zero” energy use. The ultimate goal of the Zero Net Energy Action Plan is to transform California’s various commercial buildings, the largest electricity-consuming sector in the state, into Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings – energy efficient structures and edifices powered by clean energy by the year 2030.
A significant boost towards achieving this goal is the recent release of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that involves new commercial building practices and requirements that will improve energy efficiency by at least 30%. The energy savings that can be derived from the 2012 IECC complies with the calls for energy efficiency from Industry leaders, the Secretary of Energy and Congress. The code is another step towards low-energy buildings not only in California but the rest of the nation as well.
Justin Gerdes write about Net Zero energy buildings in the recent issue of Forbes.
According to Katherine Tweed of Greentech Enterprise, energy benchmarking of public and private buildings in the US is on the verge of a boom. Tony Liou, principal engineer with Partner Energy, an energy efficiency consulting firm says that the process of benchmarking may not lead to a boom in retrofits, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t significant energy savings to be had. “It’s just basic oversight and troubleshooting,” he noted, adding that “simple awareness drives action.”
And with the proper data, retrofits are easier to justify. Yet some cities still stay away from benchmarking, for fear of what they might find. Full story here.