Building Energy Resilience

Ideas to fuel a sustainable built environment

Eveline Killian


Recent posts by Eveline Killian

4 min read

Saving New York City from Rising Sea Levels

By Eveline Killian on Oct 26, 2016 12:00:00 PM

I fell asleep to a TED Talk while visiting New York City the other night, but a startling statement brought me back to consciousness.  New studies predict the oceans could rise by close to two meters (more than six feet) by the end of the century.  That’s double original estimates and only 83 years from now - in our kids’ or at least our grandkids’ lifetimes!

Topics: Sustainability Public Policy
3 min read

Impact of Energy Efficiency on the Electric Grid

By Eveline Killian on Sep 14, 2016 3:00:00 PM

For more than a decade, Vermont has been contributing energy efficiency to the New England electricity grid in the Forward Capacity Market (FCM).  As a consumer, whether business or residential customer, we think of efficiency improvements as a personal gain, reducing our overhead costs, improving our building’s performance and helping our own pocketbook. Seldom do we think about the impact of energy efficiency on the electric grid, where it actually has a trickle-up impact of our actions onto the bigger picture.  But energy efficiency is part of the “supply” for the grid, just like oil, natural gas, solar and other sources.  Ben Fowler’s post last month showed a graph of the Generation Fuel Mix of the Philadelphia electric utility.  What that doesn’t show is how much is taken off the grid by energy efficiency projects. States take this unrequired energy into account in planning of future energy and infrastructure needs. This has led to avoiding building or expanding substations, transmission lines, and power plants. 

Topics: Energy Efficiency
3 min read

Do Chilled Beams Save Energy Over VAV Systems?

By Eveline Killian on Aug 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Chilled beams have been common in European building HVAC systems for decades, but they are just getting popular in the U.S.  These units fit in a drop ceiling or can be hung flush to the ceiling and contain a chilled/hot water coil and, in the case of active beams, a duct bringing in ventilation air.

Topics: Energy Efficiency Building Performance & Technology
4 min read

Can Solar Photovoltaic Subsidies Be Justified?

By Eveline Killian on Jun 8, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Vermont is a small, hilly state in the northeast corner of the US, and is often claimed to be the “second cloudiest” state in the nation (a subjective statistic). Although our state has been adopting solar in leaps and bounds, there is a debate over whether solar is an applicable technology in our state and, nationally, if solar should be subsidized now that the production costs have decreased dramatically. I decided to research the history of subsidies and production costs of various fuels to determine if solar deserves to be an incentivized fuel source for electric generation.

Image via Wikipedia.

Topics: Sustainability Public Policy
3 min read

Energy Visualization Through Building Data Analytics: Knowledge is Power

By Eveline Killian on Apr 20, 2016 10:00:00 AM

There are two ways to operate a building: passively or actively. Operating passively means the building performs its intended function – the lights are on and the building is temperate – but no one is monitoring and analyzing the operating costs or planning for equipment issues.  Actively operating a building involves close monitoring of the building operating costs, thoughtful maintenance of building systems and their operating schedules, and capital planning for future equipment replacements. There is a new (relatively inexpensive) tool emerging on the market that can help both of these types of building managers move toward simple, effective, and knowledgeable operating oversight.

Topics: Standards and Metrics Building Performance & Technology
3 min read

Move Over Governments – Corporations are Leading on Climate Change

By Eveline Killian on Dec 9, 2015 10:00:00 AM

During the Kyoto Protocol meetings, the world thought governments were going to lead the carbon-emission reduction efforts. But the foremost carbon-emitting countries (US included) didn’t sign this protocol and, until recently, seemed content with sidestepping any commitments.  Now 25 years later, the world itself is calling for change, and governments are finding grassroots support from the public as they go into the Paris Climate Change discussions.  Companies world-wide are initiating energy and waste reducing measures and promoting renewable energy procurement themselves, without mandates, because they see the economic benefits.  The tide has turned.

Topics: Public Policy
2 min read

Is the Energy Efficiency Field Growing Up?

By Eveline Killian on Oct 7, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Is the energy efficiency field growing up? I am cautiously optimistic that the answer to this question is “yes.” From the discussions of the major carbon producers - China and USA – regarding limits to their emissions, to building codes ever increasing minimum building efficiencies, and efficient technologies being accepted by the market, it seems promising. Another positive sign is that energy efficiency programs are starting to go deeper into more complicated measures. This means we’re moving energy efficiency programs past the “low-hanging fruit” that the market understands, and administrators are looking towards new areas and technologies.

Topics: Energy Efficiency
3 min read

Why Third Party Energy Efficiency Program Evaluations?

By Eveline Killian on Aug 5, 2015 6:00:00 AM

The effectiveness of an energy efficiency program is measured in large part by the actual savings realized by the efficiency measures installed. Every program is accountable to the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) and utility rate payers, to ensure that public money is being invested wisely. The wise investment of public money is dependent upon how the efficiency measures are installed and operated.

Topics: Energy Efficiency Evaluation Measurement & Verification (EM&
4 min read

Understanding Flow Meters: What You Need to Know

By Eveline Killian on Jun 10, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Commercial and industrial businesses spend a great percentage of their building costs on creating hot and cold water and pumping it around their facility. This infrastructure includes chillers, boilers, cooling towers, and pumps used for heating, cooling, process cooling, and domestic hot water. Considering how much money is spent on this portion of the business, it is not surprising that there is an increased focus on determining the correct amount of water required to meet the needs of the business. This blog post aims to explain the differences between the various flow meters currently on the market.

Topics: Building Performance & Technology Evaluation Measurement & Verification (EM&
4 min read

3 Ways to Increase Your Retrocommissioning Project Success

By Eveline Killian on Apr 15, 2015 6:00:00 AM

In business, as in life, there is risk with every complex project you begin. In retrocommissioning (RCx) projects, the main risks for commercial building owners and managers are threefold: the savings will not be realized, the scope will increase, and the savings will not be persistent after the job is complete. These issues are also on the minds of every engineer who accepts a retrocommissioning project. Managing the level of risk is complicated to say the least, but there are common sense ways to protect yourself, your partnership with the retrocommissioning engineer, and the project.

Topics: Building Cx & Design Review

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