One common misunderstanding about the rigorous US Green Building Council (USGBC)’s LEED process is the time required to achieve project certification. A project’s LEED goals and assignments should be established early in the design phase. It is not the sole opportunity for a project to go after LEED certification, but there are credits that can only be achieved by consideration during the design process. The goals and credit assignments are led by a LEED practitioner. Next, the project is registered with the USGBC. The LEED credit progress is then monitored through construction and beginning occupancy. Typically, the LEED documentation is ready to submit 1 to 2 months after initial occupancy. Once submitted, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) review takes another 2 to 3 months. For a 1 and a half year design-build project, a LEED certification could take about 2 years.
For more information on LEED planning, contact SEA’s LEED gro ...Read the rest of entry »
IECC 2012 and Commissioning
The latest version of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) brings in changes that will lead to more energy savings.
One of the major updates in IECC 2012 for commercial projects is the requirement of commissioning. Until recently, commissioning
has been fairly ad-hoc and considered an “add-on” service. However, due to projects pursuing the United States Green Building
Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, commissioning has become more mainstream
and provided value to clients.
Building commissioning is a process that helps verify and document that the selected building systems have been designed,
installed, and function according to the owner’s project requirements, the construction documents, and code requirements. By
aiding the owner through the design and construction process, commissioning providers can help ensure that the owner is delivered
a project ...Read the rest of entry »
USGBC Announces LEED Fellow Class of 2012
LEED Fellows represent the green building industry's most accomplished professionals
Washington, DC - (Oct. 18, 2012) - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) today revealed the 2012 class of LEED Fellows. The LEED Fellow Program is the most prestigious designation for LEED Professionals, recognizing exceptional contributions to green building and significant professional achievement within the rapidly growing community of LEED Professionals.
Forty-three of the world's most distinguished green building professionals were selected to be LEED Fellows through a peer nomination and portfolio review process. Among other requirements, LEED Fellows must have at least 10 years of green building experience and hold a LEED AP with specialty credential.
"We are thrilled to present these highly accomplished individuals with the LEED Fellow designation," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. "The Fellows are leading innovators and forerunners of ...Read the rest of entry »
Earlier this week, nine major utilities and energy suppliers, including ComEd committed to be part of a new initiative to provide consumers greater access to their energy usage data. The “Green Button Initiative” is spearheaded by the Federal Office of Science and Technology Policy and Council on Environmental Quality. The “Green Button” will be an online link for energy customers to access their energy consumption data in useful formats and metrics. The aim is to help consumers make informed decisions that will lead to reduced energy usage, and the cost savings that follow.
The Green Buttons at various utility and supplier websites will be based on common design and metrics so there is consistency across participants. There is already talk of developing smartphone apps and other tools to make this information accessible on-the-go, and to further expand the Green Button’s capabilities—for example, not only showing a customer their energy consumption as compared to previous months or years, but also h ...Read the rest of entry »
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Demand (LEED) is a constantly evolving framework; always improving to reflect current technologies. Since LEED’s inception in 1998, there have been 3 versions released, as well as the addition of LEED for Homes, LEED for Schools, and LEED for Existing Buildings. The next version of LEED [LEED 2012 or Version 4] is launching Fall 2012. To accurately assess the state of sustainability and the needs for its growth and utility, three comment periods have been opened to allow the public to address any substantive changes proposed. The third period begins today, March 1, 2012 and runs through March 20, 2012.
Before finalized, LEED 2012 also has to be balloted and approved by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) members. The ballot will be held from June 1-30, 2012. To vote in the LEED 2012 ballot, one must opt into the “Consensus Body”. The Consensus Body opt-in period begins April 2, 2012 and is open to employees of USGBC national member organizations in “good standing”. ...Read the rest of entry »
A nominee for best documentary at the Environmental Media Awards, “Carbon Nation” is a film very close to Sieben Energy Associates. CEO Craig Sieben was a producer on the film which was released in February 2011. The Environmental Media Association (EMA) advocates for environmental responsibility in the entertainment industry. EMA’s annual Environmental Media Awards honors films and television programming that demonstrates achievements in delivering effective green messages. “Carbon Nation” discusses the issues and the solutions surrounding climate change through interviews with a diverse group of people combating climate change. The film documents how a low-carbon economy would provide not only solutions to climate change, but also address current pressing social and economic problems; including job creation, public health, and national security. The EMA presents their awards October 15, 2011.Read the rest of entry »
Energy Star has announced a new program focusing on multifamily residential high-rise buildings. According to the program website, this new designation for multifamily high-rises (dubbed “MFHR”) is intended for “new or substantially renovated” buildings. Energy Star aims to incorporate energy efficient design elements such as high-performance insulation and windows, efficient HVAC equipment, and Energy Star rated appliances into these new residential spaces. These elements not only minimize the building’s energy consumption, they also create a comfortable (and less costly) environment for tenants. The EPA highlights the ability of high-efficiency design and properly-installed systems and insulation to ensure temperatures and indoor air quality stay optimal despite temperature and weather shifts. Especially in a climate with significant seasonal changes like, say, autumn in Chicago, an energy efficient high-rise is designed to keep energy usage and costs to a minimum while keeping its tenants warm in the winte ...Read the rest of entry »
We know energy efficiency to be a solid cost-saving strategy and a smart way to minimize one's carbon footprint; but it’s also one of America’s greatest energy sources. Reframing the debate about energy efficiency into one about energy resource and fossil fuel independence could generate it national attention and ultimately a national standard. The research surrounding Energy Efficiency Resource Standards explains energy efficiency as America’s cleanest, cheapest, fastest and most reliable energy resource. Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) are policies enforced by public utilities commissions mandating reduced energy use upon retail electricity and natural gas providers. EERS have been successfully implemented in 26 states; the first initiative was in Texas in 1999. Illinois’ first EERS, SB1592, was signed into action in 2007. SB1592 requires electric utilities to reduce energy use by 0.2% through advancements in efficiency by 2009 and a further 2.0% by 2015. Ill ...Read the rest of entry »
On Sunday, June 26th, Jerry Burin and Chris Philbrick presented “Monitoring Based Commissioning Success” at the International Conference of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Washington, D.C. Their presentation explored the monitoring-based commissioning (MBCx) process, an innovative, data-driven approach to achieving improved energy efficiency. SEA’s MBCx assignment at 311 S. Wacker Drive, Chicago, served as a case study for the presentation. 311 S. Wacker is one of the city’s most recognizable skyscrapers.
The presentation provided attendees an overview of the new technologies driving MBCx and the benefits of tracking and acting on building performance data. MBCx uses web-based data tracking that enables SEA to identify energy saving opportunities. Jerry and Chris demonstrated how MBCx generates information that enables building owners to optimize HVAC performance while maintaining occupant comfort. Data-driven energy management is nothing new to SEA. MBCx is an emerging tre ...Read the rest of entry »
“Low hanging fruit” is a term commonly referring to targets or goals which are easily achievable and don’t require a lot of effort. The term is a convention in the energy efficiency space, referring to easily identifiable, readily achievable measures to produce energy savings.
Rooting out and replacing high wattage lighting with lower wattage lamps is often referred to as low hanging fruit. So is modifying operating schedules of energy-consuming equipment to meet occupancy needs, and turning off equipment that continues to run when it’s simply not required. Eliminating the waste associated with simultaneous heating and cooling and employing re-set strategies, for example, on chilled water temperature, are among energy saving initiatives commonly described as low hanging fruit. Finding and repairing leaks in compressed air systems is another energy saving opportunity the often earns a place in the low hanging fruit family.
To some, the term “low hanging fruit” is derogatory, even insulting, as if suc ...Read the rest of entry »
Environment Illinois highlighted Sieben Energy Associates in their “Saving Energy Growing Jobs” report , which was released today. The report describes SEA’s history and the growth of the energy efficiency industry in Illinois stating how “customers who wouldn’t have considered paying for an energy audit in 1990 now actively seek [SEA] out.”
It makes special note of our recent partnership with the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC), working with hospitals to tackle their specific sustainability and energy efficiency challenges. The partnership with MCHC demonstrates the increase in public and private awareness of energy efficiency, and the role that SEA has played in that development.
Visit the Environment Illinois Website to read the entire report that includes the SEA case study.Read the rest of entry »
At the beginning of this year, the Cook County Energy Efficiency Block Grant Program opened to buildings in several communities and neighborhoods throughout Cook County. This program is terrific for small- to medium- sized buildings of nearly any type, including commercial, industrial, non-profit, places of worship, and health care. The program involves:
Either one or two site visits by SEA, depending on the size/complexity of the building being audited
Deployment of data loggers to trend temperature, humidity, light levels, and power draw on large equipment for up to one week
Analysis similar to what is found in an ASHRAE Level II Audit, including utility analysis, energy use analysis, building envelope examination, and energy saving measures
Peer-review of audit reports by the Delta Institute, a non-profit organization that is administering the program
A meeting with the Delta Institute and representatives from the building about financ ...Read the rest of entry »