Building Energy Resilience

Ideas to fuel a sustainable built environment

Jennifer Chiodo

Recent posts by Jennifer Chiodo

3 min read

Why Over Lighting is a Problem Worth Fixing

By Jennifer Chiodo on Feb 10, 2016 10:00:00 AM

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. 

Topics: Green Building Energy Efficiency
2 min read

Retrocommissioning 2.0

By Jennifer Chiodo on Dec 16, 2015 10:00:00 AM

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
2 min read

Toxic Living Environments – Why Are They Legal?

By Jennifer Chiodo on Oct 14, 2015 6:00:00 AM

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:

Topics: Green Building Public Policy
3 min read

Customer-Facing Tools to Manage Energy Use

By Jennifer Chiodo on Aug 26, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Commercial buildings have complex systems, end uses, and operations making managing their energy use a challenge. “Big data” is the trend in the building energy industry, but operators do not have time to analyze operating data. We need to provide building operators with easily digestible information including:

Topics: Energy Efficiency Building Performance & Technology
3 min read

EM&V Resources: Many Minds Are Better Than One

By Jennifer Chiodo on Jul 16, 2015 12:10:00 PM

I find myself using a variety of resources to support my energy program evaluation, measurement, verification, research, and development activities over the course of the year. The Internet offers what can seem like an overwhelming wealth of information to use when you want to be sure you are following best practices, are keeping current with the knowledge in the industry and to inform your work more generally — but there’s also a lot of noise out there. Much of the best evaluation work and resources available are the work of teams that include technical, social science, and regulatory experts who collaborate to develop guides, studies, and data to further the effectiveness of energy efficiency programs and third-party evaluations. I’m guessing that for many of our readers that is your goal too, so here are my top three EMV resources picks — and why.

Topics: Evaluation Measurement & Verification (EM&
2 min read

Why Energy Efficiency Process Evaluation Needs Market Smarts

By Jennifer Chiodo on May 27, 2015 6:30:00 AM

Generating Market Demand

The purpose of energy efficiency programs is to cost effectively generate market demand for energy efficiency that would not be achieved without market intervention. An energy efficiency process evaluation investigates the effectiveness of programmatic interventions through qualitative and quantitative analysis. Marrying the analytical engineering-based approach of impact evaluation with the typically more social science orientation of traditional process evaluation can generate useful, actionable results to help program administrators improve market interventions to increase participation, depth of savings, and market transformation.

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

How to Increase Adoption of Retrocommissioning Through Energy Efficiency Programs

By Jennifer Chiodo on Feb 25, 2015 5:00:00 AM

The number one barrier to retrocommissioning is the upfront cost of the engineering study. In general, building owners cannot easily determine the potential value of such studies or understand the quality and content that is necessary to support an energy efficiency investment. This makes many customers reluctant to invest $20,000-$70,000 in an engineering study.

Topics: Building Cx & Design Review Energy Efficiency
3 min read

Retrocommissioning to Make Building HVAC Systems Work Better

By Jennifer Chiodo on Jan 14, 2015 10:00:00 AM

The term retrocommissioning, (commissioning for existing buildings), frequently rises in conversations when commercial building owners, operators and facility managers gather to talk about how to make their HVAC systems work better. There are many reasons why.

Topics: Building Cx & Design Review
3 min read

Is It a Heat Pump, Boiler or Furnace? – A Case for Engineer/Social Scientist Collaboration on Market Research

By Jennifer Chiodo on Oct 29, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Who knows technology?

I should know better than to presume anything when someone is speaking about their “furnace,” because what they most frequently mean is “the thing that makes heat.” I was recently asked about a home heater replacement by a relative who is the chief engineer at a major communications company. His question was, “should I replace my furnace to save energy?” I inquired about the efficiency and he replied 88%, which is pretty good for an oil-fired furnace, so I told them that was probably the best they could do. Then I was asked, “what about our hot water heater?,” which was described as “a tankless type fed off the furnace.” At that point I realized that my friend wasn’t using accurate language and that was causing me to give him bad advice. He in fact has a high-mass oil boiler with an indirect fired hot water tank, and since the boiler is near the end of its useful life, he does have an opportunity to replace it with a higher performance boiler.

Topics: Public Policy Building Performance & Technology
4 min read

Is Big City Engineering Better than Local Engineering?

By Jennifer Chiodo on Sep 17, 2014 6:00:00 AM

My business partner, Matt Napolitan and I each spent 10 years working at major, international engineering firms. I worked for nationally ranked 11th Syska Hennessy Group in their San Francisco office and Matt worked for 14th ranked Buro Happold out of their New York office. We now operate a 10-person engineering consulting firm in Burlington, Vermont. We know both large, big-city engineering and local, Vermont engineering.

Topics: Building Cx & Design Review Public Policy