Tower Companies, a DC based owner of large multi-tenant buildings and Better Buildings Challenge partner, engaged in an aggressive program to take measured data from their buildings and turn it into real energy savings. This case study, completed by Tower in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) describes outcomes at three properties. The case study was highlighted on a Better Buildings Webinar on February 5, 2014.
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This document provides facility managers and building owners with an introduction to measurement and verification (M&V) methods to estimate energy and cost savings of rooftop units replacement or retrofit projects. The M&V methods presented here are helpful in estimating paybacks to justify future projects.
The lack of empirical data on the energy performance of buildings is a key barrier to accelerating the energy efficiency retrofit market. The DOE’s Buildings Performance Database (BPD) helps address this gap by allowing users to perform exploratory analyses on an anonymous dataset of hundreds of thousands of commercial and residential buildings. These analyses enable market actors to assess energy efficiency opportunities, forecast project performance, and quantify performance risk using empirical building data. In this paper, we describe the process of collecting and preparing data for the database, and present a peer-group analysis tool that allows users to analyze building performance for narrowly defined subsets of the database, or peer groups. We use this tool to explore a case study of a multifamily portfolio owner comparing his buildings’ performance to the peer group of multifamily buildings in the local metro area. We also present a performance comparison tool that uses statistical methods to estimate the expected change in energy performance due to changes in building-component technologies. We demonstrate a low-effort retrofit analysis, providing a probabilistic estimate of energy savings for a sample building retrofit. The key advantages of this approach compared to conventional engineering models are that it provides probabilistic risk analysis based on actual
measured data and can significantly reduce transaction costs for predicting savings across a portfolio.
This article appears in the July 2016 issue of the ASHRAE Journal (pgs. 38-45). Brief summary:
The U.S. Department of Energy's Building Performance Database (BPD) is the largest publicly available data source for energy-related characteristics of commercial and residential buildings in the United States, collected from federal, state, and local governments, utilities, and private companies. The BPD provides anonymized building energy use and asset data with analytical capabilities to help energy service providers, real estate owners and managers, policy makers, and energy consultants make decisions about energy efficiency and retrofit projects.
This article examines some of the promises and perils of having large amounts of building data at the user's fingertips and how to use such data and statistical analysis tools effectively to support decision-making by energy professionals.
On December 6, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the launch of a new partnership to jump-start zero energy schools across the country. The Zero Energy Schools Accelerator enables states and school districts alike to design, construct, and operate these cutting-edge, energy-saving schools. This press release highlights the importance of the Accelerator by featuring a completed zero energy school, Discovery Elementary in Arlington, Virginia.
NREL partnered with two hospitals (MGH and SUNY UMU) to collect data on the energy used for multiple thermal and electrical end-use categories, including preheat, heating, and reheat; humidification; service water heating; cooling; fans; pumps; lighting; and select plug and process loads. Additional data from medical office buildings were provided for an analysis focused on plug loads. Facility managers, energy managers, and engineers in the healthcare sector will be able to use these results to more effectively prioritize and refine the scope of investments in new metering and energy audits.
To address the need for accessible, high-quality data, the Department of Energy has developed the Technology Performance Exchange (TPEx). TPEx enables technology suppliers, third-party testing laboratories, and other entities to share product performance data.
Plug loads are often not considered as part of the energy savings measures in Commercial Buildings; however, they can account for up to 50% of the energy used in the building. These loads are numerous and often scattered throughout a building. Some of these loads are purchased by the owner and some designed into the building or the tenant finishes for a space.
This study expands and validates previous research by Heschong Mahone Group that found a statistical correlation between the amount of daylight in elementary school classrooms and student performance. The researchers reanalyzed student performance data from two school districts to answer questions raised by the previous study. The results are consistent with the original findings and affirm that daylight has a positive and highly significant association with improved student performance.
"Energy conservation presents a compelling and rich opportunity for K-12 schools. Historically, energy expenses in schools have been treated as relatively fixed and inevitable, flowing steadily in the background as administrators concentrated on urgent needs and programmatic priorities. There is growing awareness, however, that a focus on energy use in schools yields an array of important rewards in concert with educational excellence and a healthful learning environment. And there is new interest in behavior-based initiatives through which faculty, staff and students can be significant players in changing a school’s energy profile."