Pursuing Energy Efficiency, Part One
Many people invest in efficiency measures to save energy and/or money. While these are both great reasons in and of themselves, believe it or not there are plenty of people out there who are not motivated by either one of these drivers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other reasons that one might want to pursue energy efficiency. Here are some of the more common ones. Keep them in your back pocket so that you’ll have something interesting to say the next time you sense that energy savings or money savings aren’t going to carry the day:
-Reducing carbon emissions: If you're talking to a director of sustainability, for example, you may find that he or she is more interested in reducing metric tons of CO2 equivalent than in utility bill savings.
-Addressing tenant comfort complaints: I’ve worked in commercial real estate and energy efficiency for the last thirty years. As far back as I can remember, tenant satisfaction surveys have listed “too hot/too cold” at or near the top of the list of tenant complaints. Many of the “fixes” that are normally associated with saving energy also have the concomitant benefit of improving thermal comfort for occupants.
-Improving safety: Many of the direct digital controls and dashboards that are proposed to boost energy efficiency also improve the safety of the building by enabling new levels of visibility into the quality of the airstream – the concentration of CO2, carbon monoxide, and in some cases volatile organic compounds. On a similar note, hospitals that adopt highly accurate valve solutions enjoy not only energy savings, but also a refined ability to control the spread of airborne pathogens.
-Ensuring regulatory compliance (and eliminating the potential for embarrassment): Lots of jurisdictions around the country are now mandating equipment efficiency standards. Some are even requiring buildings to benchmark their water performance and disclose it to the government on a regular basis.
-Emulating best practice facilities: Some people just want to have a great facility that they can admire – and for which they can be admired. Levels of efficiency that are outside the norm are often newsworthy, which provides the fodder for the host facility’s public relations machine to spring into action.
-Avoiding obsolescence: It’s eye-opening to think that much of the energy efficiency software that is out there was originally installed in buildings using a floppy disk! In many cases, the owner’s manual has been long lost, and the manufacturer no longer supports the software. In all too many cases, the building engineers attempting to run these facilities are on their own. As a result, many of these buildings are essentially running out of control.
Stay tuned for more on this topic in tomorrow’s blog…
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