Designing a High-Performance Building for Antarctic Conditions

Posted by Gretchen Schimelpfenig on Sep 20, 2017 10:43:22 AM

The process of designing and constructing a highly efficient, comfortable, and healthy building is challenging enough when the site is in the United States; that becomes a much more difficult endeavor when the site is on the most remote and coldest place on Earth. The design team for the new McMurdo Station in Antarctica approaches the problem with a holistic mindset centered around stewardship.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

No Touch Energy Audits Can Reduce Cost & Increase Granularity of Data

Posted by Daniel Tuhus-Dubrow on Aug 30, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Recently, I’ve been getting excited about so-called “no touch” energy audits, which employ meter data analytics to assess a building’s energy performance and even make specific recommendations regarding potential improvements, all without requiring the (expensive) “boots on the ground” of a traditional energy audit. This idea has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years as the increasing availability of 15-minute electric interval data has met with the “big data” revolution. In this post, I’m going to take a quick walk through various analysis techniques, moving from coarser to finer granularity.

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Topics: Building Performance & Technology, Evaluation Measurement & Verification (EM&

ASHRAE Guideline 36: Benefits of Real World Implementation

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Aug 23, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Back in 2015 I wrote a blog post about ASHRAE Guideline 36 - High Performance Sequences of Operation for HVAC Systems.  I referenced a spec my team at Cx Associates wrote for a BAS controls upgrade.  Now in 2017, that spec, and the sequences contained therein, have been made into a fully functional BAS controlling 14 air handlers (AHUs), over 90 variable air volume boxes, and the central plant that serves them.  Our firm artfully adapted the sequences to meet the needs of the building owner and the function of the building (healthcare) without sacrificing the high degree of complexity which yields the energy savings building automation systems have been promising for decades.  After working on this project from specs to implementation, I can confidently say that Guideline 36 can deliver a reduction in energy consumption and improved comfort.  The cost (excluding the norms of engineering labor, BAS reprogramming, and commissioning) is primarily paid through raising all ships.  Let me explain.

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Topics: Standards and Metrics, Building Performance & Technology

Quantifying Our Firm’s Carbon Footprint – Where to Start?

Posted by Rachael Straub on Aug 16, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Early this year, Cx Associates and the Vermont Green Businesses Network (VGBN) were awarded the Burlington 2030 District Director contract. Cities and towns that become an established 2030 District commit to the Architecture 2030 Challenge, which requires all new buildings, developments, and major renovations to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Cx Associates and VGBN, as the Burlington 2030 District Director, are tasked with developing a roadmap for the newly established Burlington District and assisting it to become self-sufficient.

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Topics: Sustainability, Standards and Metrics

Understanding Electronically Commutated Motors

Posted by Eveline Killian on Aug 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Although electronically commutated motors (ECMs) are specified in efficient buildings, and energy efficiency programs provide incentives for their installation, I only had a cursory understanding of the difference between this technology and traditional shaded pole or permanent split capacitor type motors.  What makes ECMs more efficient?

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

An Energy Efficiency Horoscope

Posted by Jennifer Chiodo on Jul 26, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Imagining an energy efficiency horoscope for three of its most promising players …

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Topics: Energy Efficiency

Magnetic Bearing Chillers - Proven Efficiency and Reliability

Posted by Eveline Killian on Jul 19, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Office building cooling energy in the United States accounts for 7.4% of this country’s total commercial energy consumption, and chillers alone provide 31.9% of this space cooling. (The largest provider of space cooling is packaged rooftop units, which account for over 51%[1].) So, when an improved technology is proven to be successful, it’s worth the time to explore its merits.  And so, it is with magnetic bearing centrifugal chillers.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

The Importance of Functional Performance Testing BAS Outputs

Posted by Walker Calderwood on Jul 12, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Previous blog posts from my colleagues and I contain a detailed explanation of functional performance testing (FPT), an overview of how functional performance tests are created, and specific examples of how conducting FPT contributes to better building performance and energy savings.  In this post I would like to expand upon the previous post “Functional Performance Testing Done Right: Details Matter.”

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Topics: Building Cx & Design Review, Energy Efficiency

CleanMed Conference Report

Posted by Katie Mason on Jul 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I recently attended the CleanMed Conference and Exposition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This event, organized by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, “has gained a global reputation as the premier conference on environmental sustainability in the health care sector.”[1] This blog post will discuss the conference content as well as a few key points from several of the workshops I attended.  

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Topics: Sustainability, Building Performance & Technology

High Performance Neighborhoods: Sustainable Water Use

Posted by Gretchen Schimelpfenig on Jun 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Earlier this month, the New England chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on the Environment held their annual leadership summit in Burlington, Vermont. As the keynote speaker, Clark Brockman – principal at SERA Architects and a leader in his field – delivered a presentation on district scale solutions for net zero energy and water in communities.

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Topics: Sustainability, Public Policy

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