Building Energy Resilience

Ideas to fuel a sustainable built environment

Katie Mason


Recent posts by Katie Mason

2 min read

Ireland’s Energy Sources: How Green is the Emerald Isle?

By Katie Mason on Sep 28, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Inspired by a recent vacation to Ireland, I was compelled to research Ireland’s energy sources and what forms of renewable energy they are utilizing. Ireland is not a large country (slightly smaller than Indiana, geographically) and is not densely populated with the exception of a few cities. My vacation toured the southwest/western coast as well as Dublin on the east coast. In this blog post, I will discuss what I learned about Ireland’s energy sources and how the country is utilizing renewable energy.

Topics: Sustainability Public Policy
3 min read

Construction of the 2016 Rio Olympics

By Katie Mason on Aug 10, 2016 1:00:00 PM

While watching coverage of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, I started looking into what it took to create the venue which accommodates many of the events. Similar to every Olympic game, Rio had a short period of time to build the extravagant stadiums and the other venues required. In this post, I will discuss what it took to construct this venue and some challenges with this particular location. 

Topics: Sustainability Public Policy
4 min read

Construction Project Management Challenges in Healthcare Facilities

By Katie Mason on Jun 22, 2016 11:36:49 AM

In a recent blog post, I shared my experience as an Owners’ Project Manager for a mechanical system upgrade in an office building for a large organization in Burlington, Vermont. This role has provided me with several new related projects in a healthcare facility, each varying in type and having a very different effect on the overall environment of the organization. In the healthcare environment, I have become familiar with its unique construction challenges. This post will discuss a couple of these challenges and approaches for preventing these challenges from adversely affecting the overall success of the project.

Topics: Workplace & People Healthcare
3 min read

What is the Roof Top Unit Challenge?

By Katie Mason on Mar 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Recently I researched the “Roof Top Unit Challenge” which was created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). What is the Roof Top Unit challenge? Launched in January 2011, the DOE released a design specification or commercial RTUs (Roof Top Units) with capacities ranging between 10 and 20 tons. RTUs built to match this specification are expected to have reduced energy usage by as much as 50% compared to a code compliant RTU. There is a large dependency on the building type and location of the RTU in relation to amount of energy savings. Since January 2011, top performing RTU manufacturers are working to design units that meet this specification. In this post, I will discuss what it takes for a unit to be part of the RTU Challenge and which manufacturers have models that are designed to meet this performance specification. 

Topics: Energy Efficiency Building Performance & Technology
2 min read

A New Perspective as a Project Manager on a Mechanical System Upgrade

By Katie Mason on Jan 8, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Over the past six months, I have been taking on a new role at Cx Associates as an owner’s Project Manager for a large organization in Burlington, VT. This has given me the opportunity to be part of a construction team - not as part of the commissioning firm, but rather by working for the owner in overseeing the project in its entirety. One of my current active projects is an HVAC mechanical upgrade in an office building known for occupant comfort issues. In this post, I will describe one of the difficulties we needed to overcome with this particular project, as well as a helpful tool that has been very useful for me as a Project Manager.

Topics: Building Cx & Design Review
3 min read

Creating a Bid Document for a Ventilation VAV Retrofit

By Katie Mason on Jul 1, 2015 12:00:00 PM

After completion of an ASHRAE Level 2 Energy Audit, a building owner is faced with the question of how to move on to the implementation phase of the identified energy saving opportunities. The audit report provides estimates for annual energy savings for each opportunity, as well as the simple payback to help determine if the measure is financially feasible. However, the audit does not design a measure in enough detail that a contractor can accurately bid or install the measure so that the savings are realized. Therefore we suggest that the building owner hire a technical consultant (designer or commissioning engineer) to develop a bid document that details the design of the measure. This technical consultant must understand the owner’s goals and expectations for the project.

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

Using the LEED Dynamic Plaque for Building Performance Monitoring

By Katie Mason on May 6, 2015 6:00:00 AM

For both new building commissioning and existing building retrocommissioning projects, I always stress the importance of verifying that the claimed savings are realized through building performance monitoring (trending) using utility bills, sub-meter data, smart meters, or directly through a building management system (BMS). I also encourage you as a building owner to use a benchmarking tool, such as Energy Star Portfolio Manager, to monitor the overall energy usage of the building over time. While studying for my LEED Green Associate (GA) exam, I came across a new performance monitoring system released last year by USGBC called the LEED Dynamic Plaque. My aim in this blog post is to introduce the new USGBC platform and describe how it can help you to monitor your commercial building’s performance and work towards a more efficient and sustainable building.

Topics: Green Building Building Performance & Technology
4 min read

How to Get the Most from Your Building Using Energy Metering

By Katie Mason on Mar 11, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Today there are a multitude of energy metering devices, (or data loggers), available to enable the analysis of building systems functionality. There are many different types of data loggers, each with a different purpose. To get the most from your building using energy metering, you need to narrow your options with your overall goals in mind. Before we install meters on a system, whether it’s an electrical system, HVAC system, or domestic hot water system, we first determine what type of data we need and what the data will be used for. With this information, we put together a metering plan that will produce the data necessary for the analysis. For this blog post, I am going to provide two specific examples of systems/equipment we metered, including why we were performing the metering, how we did it (what types of meters), and what the findings were. Both of these examples showed the equipment being metered was not working as intended.

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

Energy Benchmarking for a Healthcare Network

By Katie Mason on Jan 21, 2015 5:00:00 AM

In a previous blog post, Jennifer Chiodo discussed why energy benchmarking is beneficial for everyone, whether it’s for a residential building or a commercial building. Benchmarking allows you as the building owner to not only understand how your building is doing from an energy standpoint over time, but it also compares the building to other similar buildings in its class. Using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager online benchmarking tool, you can monitor a building’s energy usage over time by setting goals and comparing the overall energy use intensity to a baseline year.

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

Testing an Emergency Power System for a Data Center

By Katie Mason on Dec 3, 2014 5:00:00 AM

For a recent commissioning project, part of our scope of work was to test an emergency power system for a data center. Because this data center was a very important part of the client company’s work, the system and all components needed to work as intended by the design, and it was crucial that it be tested with all aspects involved before the data center was utilized. This was to ensure there would be no loss of power to the data center servers if any issues were identified. In order to properly test this mission critical system, we not only needed to understand how each component worked, but we also needed to put together full testing documents that included the relationship between all of the components. To make the entire process more fluent, we suggested a coordinated effort for creating documents and testing the system.

Topics: Building Performance & Technology

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