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Green Building Blog

Is Energy Star Going Away?

Tue, May 02, 2017 @ 03:05 / by Jim Newman posted in IAQ, bEQ, Building Energy Quotient, ASHRAE, Energy Audit, Building Energy, Energy Star

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Note: Since this was article was originally posted, a budget passed Congress that does not significantly reduce EPA funding. So we believe the Energy Star Program is safe - for now. It’s good to know, however, what else is out there from the private sector, for example, ASHRAE bEQ as is discussed below. Our industry needs to be well-versed in all the options, not on a just-in-case basis, but on a what’s-best-for-the-customer basis. (updated 5/10/2017)

Since its inception in 1992, the Energy Star label has gained tremendous popularity, and today thousands of products (mostly small and medium home appliances) sport the Energy Star logo. Use of this program, run by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE), had saved $362 billion on energy bills and prevented nearly 2.5 billion tons of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere. If this program goes away, as is being proposed by the current administration, we risk losing many of the gains that have been made.

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PACENation Rising – We are Just Scratching the Surface of the Potential of PACE

Mon, Apr 17, 2017 @ 11:45 / by Jim Newman posted in Commercial Building, solar, Retrofit, Green Building, PACE, energy efficiency, Energy Savings, Building Energy

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From their first meeting of less than 50 people just a couple of years ago to almost 500 this year, PACENation reflects the potential this groundbreaking policy has on the future of the built environment. PACENation is the national, non-profit advocacy organization for Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

In 2016, PACE passed the $3 billion mark in cumulative financing (commercial and residential). “What we’re really seeing is the birth of an industry. It isn’t just about burning less hydrocarbons, it’s also about saving money,” John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado told the crowd.

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5 Ways to Kill Your PACE Project

Fri, Jan 13, 2017 @ 03:28 / by Jim Newman posted in Green Building, PACE, Energy Savings, clean energy, Building Energy

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PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), a new way to finance energy conservation measures in commercial buildings, came to Michigan just four short years ago. Like most new ventures, it took a while for it to gain traction among property owners and building managers.

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Wayne State’s Administration Building Saves $20K/yr with Simple Energy Facelift

Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 02:35 / by Jim Newman posted in energy efficiency, Energy Savings, Energy Audit, Retro-commissioning, building automation, Building Energy

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In 2015, Wayne State University’s Academic Administration Building, Detroit, MI, was facing many of the same concerns as other office buildings of similar age. Tenants (in this case University employees) repeatedly complained to building maintenance staff that they were “too hot” or “too cold.” And the costs of running the building kept creeping up.

As part of a DTE Energy and Nexant Retro-commissioning (RCx) project for no-cost and low-cost energy conservation measures (ECMs) with short-term payback, Newman Consulting Group (NCG) conducted an ASHRAE Level 2 Energy Analysis and RCx Study on the building. We uncovered several opportunities that would not only make tenants more comfortable, but also save money. The DTE RCx program, however, dictated that any measures eligible for rebates from DTE under their Energy Optimization program could not be included in the ECMs implemented for this project, e.g., LED lighting, high-efficiency motors, or VFDs, to name a few. Still, we were able to make significant improvements.

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Sizing Up Equipment Selection for Energy Efficiency

Wed, Dec 07, 2016 @ 02:19 / by Guest Post by Klas C. Haglid, P.E., R.A., CEM, BPE, Inc.® posted in HVAC, ASHRAE, energy efficiency, Energy Savings, indoor air quality

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Energy Recovery Ventilators Can Enhance Indoor Air Quality While Saving Energy and Money

FRESH AIR FUNDAMENTALS. Fresh air being key to good health, it's a shame we cannot rely on the supply and quality of our indoor air these days. Thanks to technology, our building envelopes - the physical separation between the interior and exterior of a structure - have grown significantly tighter. One hundred years ago people enjoyed generous amounts of OA (Outside Air) flowing through gaps in doors, windows, joints, and cracks. A cool draft through an old building was typical and necessary for a good ghost story. However, the cost of energy and technology has changed our perspective on drafts as well as mechanically cooled or heated air. We don't want to pay extra to heat or cool more air than we have to due to excessive outdoor air coming in or conditioned air leaving the building before delivering its full potential. Tighter envelopes lessen the avenues for air entry and escape in order to achieve energy savings. So ... tighter envelopes that reduce energy costs as well as the amount of emissions fleeing into the atmosphere is a good thing, yes? Naturally, but as with most things, you can have too much of a good thing.

According to the EPA, "Indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times - and occasionally more than 100 times - higher than outdoor pollutant levels {and} have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health."

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