[Bldg-rate] 8 Energy Benchmarking Hurdles (and How to Get OverThem)

Dean Sherwin costman at verizon.net
Fri Oct 10 08:33:10 PDT 2008


Post-occupancy studies have been sorely lacking and certainly holding 
LEED's "feet to the fire" is necessary, if for no other reason than 
to calibrate both energy modeling and expectations for "green" 
building.  However making utility bills public property is not quite 
the same thing;  they will depend to some extent on useage patterns 
and occupant behavior.  For example I could make my building 
apparently more efficient and desirable by making everyone wear fur 
coats for a month, prohibiting overtime and turning the thermostats 
down to 50 deg at 5.30.
I do think testing that will show the likely consumption profile 
should be done on the completed building before LEED status is determined.
I would have posted this comment to the article referenced but cannot 
afford to pay up for a Green Building subscription.  Not sure if I am 
even approved for this list tho I get the posts.
Dean Sherwin

At 04:54 PM 10/9/2008, John E. Beeson wrote:

>I forgot where this conversation went, but I finally make it through my
>EBN from Oct and saw this.
>
>It seems to add more thoughts to the discussion of benchmarking.
>"Regulations Demanding Actual Data Are Leapfrogging LEED":
>http://tinyurl.com/4k7r92
>
>This link will expire on October 16, 2008.
>
>QUINN EVANS | ARCHITECTS
>John E. Beeson, LEED AP
>d 734 926 0425
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: bldg-rate-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org
>[mailto:bldg-rate-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of James V.
>Dirkes II P.E.
>Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 10:36 AM
>To: bldg-rate at onebuilding.org
>Subject: Re: [Bldg-rate] 8 Energy Benchmarking Hurdles (and How to Get
>OverThem)
>
>Dear Jason,
>
>I just read the article, and think it's well done. I especially like the
>quote,
>
>"Businesses have all kinds of accounting protocols to track cash and
>other assets; they might have armies of clerks that track $20 receipts
>for cabs and business lunches, but they have no clue about where their
>$20 million in annual energy expenditure goes. Energy is wealth, and
>fuel and power are forms of currency; if money is worth tracking, then
>so is energy."
>
>It appears that, compliments of rising energy costs and greater public
>awareness, the senior managers are starting to pay attention to their
>energy costs.  Nonetheless, there's a long way to go.
>
>In my opinion, and thinking only about energy, deciding that energy is
>an important cost and competitiveness center is the first priority.
>Benchmarking is the THIRD priority; it only tells where you are today
>and there's a 90% likelihood that you're nowhere near optimum.
>
>The SECOND priority, therefore, should be determining and documenting
>the many details that drive energy use: schedules of operation,
>occupancy patterns, setpoints, special situations, etc.  Finding this
>information is not always easy, because for many buildings, no one is
>paying attention to it, let alone documenting it. Another great insight
>in the article is "Many organizations' work habits and procedures have
>been in place for years and reflect shortcuts that trade energy for
>time." The "determining and documenting" step must include finding out
>WHY things are done, and not accepting "Because we've always done it
>that way" or "Because we had a problem 10 years ago".
>
>Once you know the status quo and understand the reasons driving it,
>solutions and opportunities almost always present themselves. Then the
>challenge is to determine how cost effective each opportunity is.
>
>An inherent challenge for those working with existing buildings, is that
>there is a specific HISTORY which has caused the energy use.  If you
>don't know or understand the history, improvement becomes a "crap
>shoot".  This is a very bad basis for management and customer relations,
>especially if the predicted savings never materialize.  Actually, it
>seems that a whole different analysis toolset is required than is
>commonly used for brand new buildings (which, by definition, have NO
>history and for which you make a hundred "reasonable" assumptions).
>Energy Plus or any of the detailed analysis tools seems like (so to
>speak) a waste of energy, since the goal for an existing building is not
>primarily prediction of energy use using a theoretical weather pattern,
>but validation that you can match energy with actual weather and actual
>usage.  I've just started experimenting with a tool called "EZ Sim"
>(www.ezsim.com), which is geared toward existing building analysis.
>It's too early to tell in detail, but it seems to have the right
>philosophy, which is something like "Use good information and logic to
>create a simplified model that matches actual weather well, and you'll
>understand the principal energy drivers.  That will guide you toward the
>most effective solutions."
>
>Getting to that optimum is not always a cakewalk, but good results
>become achievable if you start with good information!
>
>
>The Building Performance Team
>James V. Dirkes II, P.E., LEED AP
>1631 Acacia Drive NW
>Grand Rapids, MI 49504
>616 450 8653
>
>
>
>The Building Performance Team
>James V. Dirkes II, P.E., LEED AP
>1631 Acacia Drive NW
>Grand Rapids, MI 49504
>616 450 8653
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: bldg-rate-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org
>[mailto:bldg-rate-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of Jason
>Glazer
>Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 1:23 PM
>To: bldg-rate at onebuilding.org
>Subject: [Bldg-rate] 8 Energy Benchmarking Hurdles (and How to Get Over
>Them)
>
>I just came acrosA good article Leah B. Garris for BUILDINGS magazine.
>
>http://www.buildings.com/articles/detail.aspx?contentID=6208
>
>Is this a good summary of the problems and solutions?
>
>What other hurdles have people seen related to building energy
>benchmarking?
>
>Jason
>
>--
>Jason Glazer, P.E., GARD Analytics, 90.1 ECB chair Admin for
>onebuilding.org building performance mailing lists
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Dean Sherwin CPE
Certified Professional Estimator
LEED Accredited Professional
CONSTRUCTION COST MANAGEMENT
3, Cherry Street
PO Box 11
Media, PA 19063-0011
(610)892 8860
fax (610) 892 7862
costman at verizon.net  
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