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.
I’ve been writing for a few years about the deficiencies in current energy codes regarding commercial and industrial (C&I) lighting efficiency requirements. The problem isn’t fixed, even though I hear people decrying how the code is so stringent, they won’t be able to design buildings that exceed it.
I had hoped to share my recent sci-fi story about future decisions that might need to be made around a demand-constrained grid in the era of extreme heat waves and self-driving electric vehicles. But, fiction is not the point of this blog. If you want to receive a copy of the story, feel free to request it – we monitor comments. In this post, I’ll discuss a little of the back-and-forth we’ve been having regarding the New England Grid [PDF] and demand constraints.
Energy efficiency program evaluation sounds so arcane, most people, I’m sure have no idea that there are large cohorts of people (cohort is a word we use frequently in evaluation) who spend their lives verifying the results, the savings, from energy efficiency programs. Because energy efficiency program evaluation (evaluation hence forth in this blog) is outside the realm of day to day life, most of us are completely unaware it exists. This post is about my vision for how evaluation and real life (in the commercial, institutional, industrial (C&I) building operations world in which I work) could intersect in ways that could make buildings, programs and evaluation better and lower costs for ratepayers.
Many of the readers of the Building Energy Resilience blog may not know that when I started working in the field of energy efficiency, my focus was on multi-family housing serving people with low incomes. ACEEE recently published this study on the income burden for low-income households. The energy burden is the percent of income paid for energy. It turns out that low-income households have two times the energy burden of the median household – paying over 7% of annual income in energy costs.
Are meetings a waste of time? Deriding them as such is common. But with some upfront effort, meetings can deliver outcomes that would otherwise take much longer to achieve.
Topics: Workplace & People
In 2020 federal standards will go into effect that will render lighting energy efficiency measures for screw-in lamps (standard A-lamp light bulbs) extinct. This will have a big impact on residential energy efficiency programs, but what about the programs and savings for the commercial market? Most of the commercial and industrial built environment is illuminated by linear fluorescent lamps. While the baseline efficiency mandated for these lamps does continue to improve, the advent of LED lighting presents a major opportunity to re-light commercial and industrial spaces, potentially increasing lighting savings in this market just when savings are disappearing in the residential market.
Topics: Energy Efficiency
I remember someone telling me once that the compact fluorescent (CFL) twisty bulb was “sexy.” They were convinced the product would have market appeal. I have yet to meet someone who actually likes the light that comes from CFL bulbs. Now, LEDs are another thing entirely. They do have market appeal and we can see that manufacturers are working hard to develop products that capture consumer interest at prices that make us buy.
Retrocommissioning (RCx) or Existing Building Commissioning refer to a technical process that retrofits and tunes building HVAC control systems so that buildings function more efficiently and effectively. The RCx process has historically included three primary phases:
Topics: Building Cx & Design Review
Last night I got to spend time with two of my closest friends. We were showing off the well-insulated basement of our new home, and my friend relayed the story of his contrasting clients. For one client he is upgrading the basement and planned to use closed cell spray foam as the insulation material. The client became concerned about off-gassing just before the application and put the project on hold. A different client (an elderly couple) is selling their home and moving into a new trailer. Tom went to install the baseboard trim for them as a favor. When he arrived on site he found the new trailer to be virtually uninhabitable for him and his crew without the windows open. On the kitchen counter he found this label: