There is nothing small about the impact that small commercial buildings have on energy use in the United States. In fact, the 4.6 million small buildings across the nation consume 44% of the overall energy use in buildings, presenting an enormous opportunity to cut costs, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this potential, small building owners and operators face unique challenges that have historically impeded the adoption of widespread energy efficiency solutions. A new report developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examines these barriers and suggests a path forward to support cost-effective energy savings for the small buildings and small portfolios sector, which typically has limited resources to pursue energy efficiency solutions.
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Small buildings have been left behind in the energy efficiency marketplace because financial and technical resources have flowed to larger commercial buildings (PGL 2013). DOE’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) works with the commercial building industry to accelerate the uptake of energy efficiency technologies and techniques in existing and new commercial buildings (DOE 2013). BTO recognizes the SBSP sector’s potential for significant energy savings and the need for investments in resources that are tailored to this sector’s unique needs. The industry research and recommendations described in this report identify potential approaches and strategic priorities that BTO could explore over the next 3–5 years that will support the implementation of high-potential energy efficiency opportunities for this important sector.
This resource provides energy models from the Advanced Energy Design Guide (AEDG) for K-12 Schools that have been incorporated into Building Component Library (BCL). The AEDG series provides design guidance for buildings that use 50% less energy than those built to the requirements of the ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2004 commercial code, and are specific to prominent building types across each of the eight U.S. climate zones. More information on the AEDGs can be found at http://energy.gov/eere/buildings/advanced-energy-design-guides and http://www.ashrae.org/aedg. The Building Component Library (BCL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s comprehensive online searchable library of energy modeling building blocks and descriptive metadata. Novice users and seasoned practitioners can use the freely available and uniquely identifiable components to create energy models and cite the sources of input data, which will increase the credibility and reproducibility of their simulations. More information about the BCL can be found at https://bcl.nrel.gov.
These models are EnergyPlus version 7.0 and were completed in 2011. A Technical Support Document (TSD) that details these models can be found at http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/51437.pdf. This Technical Support Document (TSD) describes the process and methodology for the development of the Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings: Achieving 50% Energy Savings Toward a Net Zero Energy Building (AEDG-K12). The AEDG-K12 provides recommendations for achieving 50% whole-building energy savings in K-12 schools over levels achieved by following ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings (Standard 90.1-2004). The AEDG-K12 was developed in collaboration with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The small buildings and small portfolios (SBSP) sector face a number of barriers that inhibit SBSP owners from adopting energy efficiency solutions. This pilot project focused on overcoming two of the largest barriers to financing energy efficiency in small buildings: disproportionately high transaction costs and unknown or unacceptable risk. Solutions to these barriers can often be at odds, because inexpensive turnkey solutions are often not sufficiently tailored to the unique circumstances of each building, reducing confidence that the expected energy savings will be achieved. To address these barriers, NREL worked with two innovative, forward-thinking lead partners, Michigan Saves and Energi, to develop technical solutions that provide a quick and easy process to encourage energy efficiency investments while managing risk.
The pilot project was broken into two stages: the first stage focused on reducing transaction costs, and the second stage focused on reducing performance risk. In the first stage, NREL worked with the non-profit organization, Michigan Saves, to analyze the effects of 8 energy efficiency measures (EEMs) on 81 different baseline small office building models in Holland, Michigan (climate zone 5A). The results of this analysis (totaling over 30,000 cases) are summarized in a simple spreadsheet tool that enables users to easily sort through the results and find appropriate small office EEM packages that meet a particular energy savings threshold and are likely to be cost-effective.
Dollars saved through energy efficiency can directly impact your bottom line. Whether you are planning for a major renovation or upgrading individual pieces of building equipment, these improvements can help reduce operating costs, save on utility bills, and boost profits. This fact sheet provides a guide for small businesses to find the resources to increase the energy efficiency of their buildings.
Dollars saved through energy efficiency can directly impact your bottom line. Whether you are planning for a major renovation or upgrading individual pieces of building equipment, these improvements can help reduce operating costs, save on utility bills, and boost profits. This fact sheet provides guidelines for SBA lenders to understand the value of financing energy efficiency investments.
This guide was created to help healthcare facility decision-makers plan, design, and implement energy improvement projects in their facilities. It was designed with energy managers in mind, and presents practical guidance for kick-starting the process and maintaining momentum throughout the project life cycle.
The Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide for Grocery Stores was created to help grocery store decision makers plan, design, and implement energy improvement projects in their facilities. It was designed with energy managers in mind, and presents practical guidance for kick-starting the process and maintaining momentum throughout the project life cycle.
It is possible for K–12 new construction projects to achieve zero energy in all climate zones throughout the continental United States. This study includes:
• Energy use intensity (EUI) targets for all climate zones (Tables 23-26) to help users set goals for their zero energy school designs.
• A pathway for how to achieve these EUIs by climate zone, including values for the building envelope, fenestration, lighting systems (including electrical lights and daylighting), HVAC systems, building automation and controls, outdoor air treatment, and SWH.
• Case studies of actual K–12 school applications which demonstrate the business case and practicality of achieving zero energy schools.
This feasibility study was developed with input and guidance from a panel of industry experts. In many ways, this feasibility study is a simple interface to a complex analysis performed using EnergyPlus energy modeling. The combination of strategies contained in a single table should help facilitate increased energy efficiency in new buildings.
The Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide for K-12 Schools is one of five retrofit guides commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy. By presenting general project planning guidance as well as more detailed descriptions and financial payback metrics for the most important and relevant energy efficiency measures, the guides provide a practical roadmap for effectively planning and implementing performance improvements in existing buildings. The K-12 Schools guide provides convenient and practical guidance for making cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in public, private, and parochial schools.