Archive for March 2012

Wouldn’t More Large EE Projects Get Funded If People With Money Understood EE?

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All the hard work that energy services firms and facilities managers put into an audit or retro-commissioning projects would pay off even more handsomely if someone would pony up the dough for the more capital-intensive measures.    The problems right now:

  • The people with the money don’t understand the data.
  • The people with the money don’t trust the data.
  • The people with the money can’t compare the results of the data to other investments.

Our CEO, Colin Davis, is helping to fix all of this.    Earlier this week,  he participated as a member of the working group  for the Investor Confidence Project being conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).  The goal of the Group is to set guidelines for standardizing the data and processes employed to quantify the energy efficiency gains associated with large building retrofit projects.  The Group is comprised of the Department of Energy,  EDF personnel, a number of large banks and insurance companies, and a handful of technology companies.   See the following paper for more information on this topic:  http://tinyurl.com/7erh44y.

As a former energy auditor,  Colin is uniquely qualified to bring to this discussion the real-world perspective of those field professionals on the front lines who mine the “energy efficiency gold”.  Our hope is that the picks and shovels they use in the future aren’t the clipboards, cameras, and tape recorders from the past, but mobile technology with software that prompts the building professional to collect the data in a consistent, accurate manner.    If the data is high quality and standardized at the source,  building owners are more likely to see the financial rewards of major building system upgrade projects– and financial institutions will have the confidence to open their pocketbooks to fund them.

Written by kWhOURS, Inc.

March 30, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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Why More Stringent State and Municipal Building Energy Rating Requirements Will Drive Automation of Energy Audit Data Collection and Management

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Over the past few years,  state and local governments in the United States have started to require building owners to rate the energy performance of their facilities.  Similar mandates are widespread across the European Union, where the European Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) at minimum requires that these ratings are performed at the “point of transaction” – i.e., they must be conducted as a pre-requisite for any sale, lease, or lease renewal of a building.    However, a number of U.S. cities, such as San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, DC, and New York,  are insisting on a number of  more stringent requirements – making the automating of the  audit data collection and management process more critical in ensuring regulatory compliance.   kWhOURS believes that the tablet-based approach we offer through kW-Field makes this process faster, more accurate, and efficient.  Here are three examples of these enhanced requirements:   

Austin – Employing Benchmarking to Normalize Building Performance

Non-residential buildings and multi-family properties greater than 10 years old in Austin, Texas are required to conduct energy ratings  as mandated by Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure Ordinance.  The Austin City Council employs this data to perform benchmarking across facilities.  Any “high energy-use building” that consumes energy at 150% of the average multi-family energy use per square foot must perform retrofits and implement other measures  within 18 months to reduce this metric to 110% of the established benchmark.   The expectation here goes beyond a mere reporting requirement satisfied through an audit.  It requires the collection of granular, accurate data needed to quantify results and take action. 

DC– Energy Ratings Required To Be Scheduled Across Specified Time Intervals

Traditionally, disclosure of energy performance data need only be made to to real estate transaction counterparties.   However, the Council of the District of Columbia passed the Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008, making DC the first municipality to require commercial building energy performance rating at scheduled intervals (rather than at the time of a transaction) and disclosure to the general public via their  public web site.   By 2013, all buildings greater 50,000 square feet must disclose benchmarking data annually.   We believe that retaining audit data over time in a standardized format is critical to satisfying this requirement.    Also, automating data collection in field minimizes the risk that building owners will include erroneous data in their public disclosure.

New York City– Energy Audits AND Retro-Commissioning Study Are Both Required

Local Law 87 of NYC”s Greener, Greater Buildings Plan requires all building over 50,000 square feet to file an Energy Eficiency Report.   This report, which is required every 10 years,  includes not only an ASHRAE Level II energy audit, but a retro-commissioning study of base building systems.  Such studies require a granular understanding of these systems to identify and correct their deficiencies – an understanding that is greatly enhanced by integrating all media describing building assets (notes, photos, audio files, floor plan mark-ups) and their perfromance.

Even if your firm doesn’t do business in these cities,  kWhOURS will bet you dollars to donuts that similar legislation and ever-more strigent requirements are coming to a city near you.    Don’t let a field walk-through process centered around clipboards, cameras, tape recorders and the remarkable yet limited memory bank of the typical energy auditor limit your ability to collect, integrate and manage the data required to help your clients meet these requirements.   A tablet-based data collection approach – coupled with comprehensive data standardization and reporting – will make meeting these mandates easier and more-cost effective.

 

Written by kWhOURS, Inc.

March 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm

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