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 »
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 »
My colleague Chris Philbrick recently posted a blog entry regarding the MEEA Midwest Energy Solutions conference. Chris highlighted ComEd receiving the Impact award for its retro-commissioning program. Sieben Energy Associates has been a service provider for this program since its inception, and I have had the opportunity to work with multiple buildings participating in the program and would like to share some of my experiences.
The ComEd program subsidizes the consulting fees associated with retro-commissioning, leaving the building responsible only for implementation costs. With an aggregate simple payback target of 1.5 years and no obligation to pay consulting fees, participation seems to be a no brainer. There is, of course, a time commitment required from building personnel to assist during site visits, collect information such as drawings and utility bills, and manage implementation.
I have found that this commitment results in more than just facilitating the retro-commissioning program. B ...Read the rest of entry »
I attended the 2011 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference January 12-14 in Chicago. This annual gathering, produced by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA) and sponsored by the utility industry, brings many of the region’s experts together to network and strategize about energy efficiency.
As a MEEA member, Sieben Energy Associates follows the energy efficiency marketplace very closely so that we can provide our clients with the best service and information. This conference makes us aware of the latest utility programs, products, and new players in the region. This year we were updated on the progress of energy efficiency programs from several Midwestern utilities, including Detroit Energy, DTE, Ameren, and ComEd. And we were reminded that the U.S. will invest more than $1 billion in energy efficiency in 2011. This annual amount is expected to double by 2015.
The highlight of the conference for me was attending the Inspiring Efficiency Awards Dinner. The awards dinner is a chance to honor and r ...Read the rest of entry »
There is no denying the so-called “Great Recession” has not been kind to state budgets, federal budgets, many businesses, international markets, prospective student-loan recipients, job seekers, and countless others. But, according to the Department of Energy and numerous environmental organizations, it has been kind to something: the planet.
"Recession Special: Cleaner Air" in Saturday’s New York Times cites analysis by the US Department of Energy and several environmental research groups that the economic downturn has led to a marked decrease in carbon emissions throughout the United States. Efforts to cut costs through energy efficient appliances, lighting, and building systems are “all justified as saving money over their lifetimes [and] also save carbon.”
The efficiency push has also led to cleaner power generation. A smaller, more service-based economy has created less demand for electricity, causing utilities to use the most cost-effective means of power generation: more efficie ...Read the rest of entry »
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently announced the launch of a new professional certification program focused on energy auditing and building assessment. The “Building Energy Assessment Professional” (BEAP) certification will recognize an engineer’s competence in analyzing building systems performance, collecting energy usage data, and identifying and implementing measures to reduce building energy use.
The inaugural certification exam will take place during the ASHRAE Winter Conference in Las Vegas this February. Visit the ASHRAE website for additional information on the Building Energy Assessment Professional certification.
The launch of this new designation by ASHRAE further emphasizes the importance of energy audits in optimizing building performance and conserving energy. In addition to professional certifications, ASHRAE also drafted the standards by which many building energy audits are conducted, including those performed for ...Read the rest of entry »