I recently read an article about an emerging business model, Energy-as-a-Service (EaaS), which is a deviation from traditional power purchase agreements (PPAs) and Energy Management services. In its basic form, “energy as a service” is the idea that an outside service company guarantees a building’s future energy costs. If the building uses more energy than predicted, the service company is responsible for the difference. But if the building uses less energy than contracted, the service company profits. From the building owner’s perspective, it’s a way to manage overhead electricity costs that fluctuate by time-of-day rates and demand peaks, and fossil fuel costs that fluctuate throughout the year. For the service company, it is a way to be creative in energy supply and management, and an incentive for efficiency improvement.
Topics: Energy Efficiency
Space upgrades are a necessity to ensure that older buildings remain safe, functional, and cutting-edge for the users. As part of my role as an owner’s project manager for a large hospital, one of my recent projects has been an upgrade to the finishes of several operating rooms. This post will discuss the coordination and construction effort involved for such a project, as well as some potential challenges.
On Samsø Island in Denmark, Søren Hermansen led a community of 3,724 to achieve their zero-carbon goals in ten years. Today, every person on the island has a negative carbon footprint. What can cities in Vermont learn from Danish methodologies of stakeholder engagement so they can reach their carbon reduction goals?
When people ask me what I do for work, I generally tell them I’m a building systems engineer, with a big focus on making facilities more energy efficient and comfortable for occupants. One common task entails going on a building site visit to perform an energy audit or assessment. During these visits, we walk the site, inventory all energy-related equipment (including lighting, mechanical systems, building envelope, etc.) and speak with the building operator about how they run the building and any issues or concerns they have regarding maintenance, equipment that is not working properly, or comfort problems. The end result is typically a report documenting the existing building systems, with recommendations on equipment upgrades or operational changes that can be made to save energy or improve comfort. We also will provide quantification of energy and cost savings for each identified opportunity.
Topics: Energy Efficiency
Lighting control systems are making their way into new construction and are becoming as common place as HVAC controls. Just like with many new building technologies, lighting control systems started small, and are now gaining more and more market penetration. This is great news for those of us who work towards saving energy for building owners. This new frontier of controls creates new challenges for those of us who work towards saving energy for building owners. Why, you ask?
Topics: Building Cx & Design Review
I recently finished Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon. I highly recommend this story which is a 1999 novel about 90s era computer hackers, World War II, and encryption. It is both technically accurate, and gives a pretty good description for the 90s era hacker culture. The book also gives the reader a good intro to encryption concepts. However, why I am discussing it here is because one of the main characters, Bobby Shaftoe, brought to my attention the concept of people and their ability to adapt. A person’s adaptability is important in my opinion - in life - but also in energy efficiency.
Topics: Energy Efficiency
When people hear that scientists predict only a 2-4 degree rise in global temperatures due to global warming, they often shrug. That doesn’t sound too bad. If a warm summer day is 85 degrees instead of 82, what’s the big deal? But a 2-4 degree rise in temperatures means much more than that, and it’s important to know what it means if we’re to understand why climate scientists call for an immediate reduction in carbon emissions world-wide.
Topics: Public Policy
Renewable energy resources – including solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, biomass (any organic non-fossil material of biological origin), ocean thermal, wave action, and tidal action – are becoming a larger part of the American energy portfolio.
Hi, it’s me again – two blog posts in a row! I still haven’t had the time to compile the full TMY3 comparison picture that I envisioned when I started this rant. (See my last post if you want to learn the TMY3 basics.)
When we undertake energy analysis for commercial building energy retrofits, retro-commissioning, and even new construction projects, we normalize the energy savings to try to reflect average savings over the life of the measures. For measures like HVAC upgrades, savings are usually weather-dependent. The industry has used Typical Meteorological Year (TMY) data as the basis for weather normalization. These TMY data are generated by the National Renewable Energy Labs (NREL) and include actual weather data that is determined by NREL to be representative of typical weather over time for each month.