Building Energy Resilience

Ideas to fuel a sustainable built environment

3 min read

Challenges with Rooftop Units and Factory Controls

By Jamie Hand on Jan 15, 2020 10:00:00 AM

After an early morning departure and a snowy drive, my colleague and I arrived onsite to test, among other equipment, a packaged rooftop air handling unit with factory controls. At first, the unit appeared to check all our boxes, but as we dug into the details, it became clear that this would be a very expensive heating system to operate. This blog entry is about factory controls and the importance of getting into the weeds to identify issues like the one we found with this rooftop air handling unit.

Topics: Building Performance & Technology commissioning HVAC Factory Controls Energy Management New Construction Existing Building Energy Planning
4 min read

Welcome 2020 - Now Let’s Meet those 2030 Goals!

By Katie Mason on Jan 6, 2020 10:00:00 AM

With a new year and a new decade upon us, the popular trend is to create new resolutions and goals. Being an active member of the Burlington (Vermont) 2030 District Engineering Team has me thinking about the District’s and the City of Burlington’s goals and progress for energy, water, and transportation emission reductions. This post outlines what the Burlington 2030 District goals are, how these compare to the City of Burlington goals, and the services our team provides to property owners to help reach these goals.

Topics: Sustainability Green Building Building Performance & Technology transition to renewable energy Building Data
3 min read

Making Sense of Building Data: Part 1: Overview

By Daniel Tuhus-Dubrow on Dec 18, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Similar to other domains, data from buildings is being generated at an unprecedented pace and scale. However, all of that data is useless if we can’t extract meaning to create value and yield actionable insights. This requires the utilization of protocols or standards to effectively make sense of the data. Project Haystack is one such standard that has been developed over the past several years and allows for the contextual tagging of data in a flexible way, using data from any number of sources.

Topics: Building Performance & Technology technology Building Data Energy Management Controls upgrade energy monitoring & solutions
5 min read

Saving the Planet One Veggie Burger at a Time

By Eric Hauser on Dec 4, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Cx Associates’ work focuses on engineering services that save energy, and thus doing our part to save the planet. All of us also have a strong personal commitment to living as sustainably as we can, recognizing that no one is perfect, and that we all do the best we can. Our employees walk or bike to work, take public transportation, compost, live in walkable neighborhoods, drive efficient cars, and recycle.

Topics: Sustainability Climate Change
3 min read

It’s All in the Lighting: A Closer Look at the CRI Method

By Wilson Yandell on Nov 20, 2019 10:00:00 AM

A few years ago, while living in a small apartment in Montreal’s Plateau neighborhood, I noticed that the lightbulb in my kitchen had burned out. Naturally, I went to the hardware store to find a replacement. After struggling to read the French labeling on several different packages, I ultimately decided to go for the least expensive box of LED bulbs that the store had available. Once I installed the newly purchased lightbulb, I noticed a difference in the way our kitchen looked. Specifically, I noticed a difference in the appearance of the bowl of fruit that always sat on the counter. While the lightbulb illuminated the space, I remember thinking to myself how unappetizing and dull my fruit now looked. This exercise, though unintentional, clarified the importance of a light source’s color rendering capability.

Topics: Standards and Metrics Energy Efficiency Lighting New Construction Existing Building design review
3 min read

Understanding the Basics of a Ground-Coupled (Closed Loop) Heat Pump Design: Part 2

By Tate Colbert on Nov 15, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Thanks for following the second part of the ground coupled heat pump design. If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to go back and read Part 1. In the first part of this post, we discussed the importance of understanding thermal imbalance in a ground source heat pump system and the longevity impacts associated with an imbalanced system. Despite the issues associated with a thermally imbalanced system, there are ways to address building loads with additional technology that will further enhance the performance of the ground-coupled heat pump system, as well as provide long term performance.

Topics: Energy Efficiency solar energy commissioning Heat Pumps Energy Management New Construction design review
6 min read

The United Federation of Energy Transition

By Rachael Straub on Nov 6, 2019 10:00:00 AM

In 2011, a study, co-authored by an engineering professor from Stanford and a transportation research scientist from UC-Davis, found that we could halt global warming, save millions of lives, reduce air and water pollution, and develop secure, reliable energy sources in 20-40 years. Nearly all of this could be done with existing technology and at costs comparable with what we spend on energy today.

Topics: Public Policy renewable energy transition to renewable energy Climate Change
3 min read

USP 800 Pharmacy HVAC Testing – The Devil is in the Details: Part 1

By Matt Napolitan on Oct 23, 2019 10:00:00 AM

A large healthcare client of ours recently opened a brand new USP 800 compliant compounding pharmacy, which we commissioned. We collaborated with the engineering team and the hospital during the design phase to help ensure prior issues weren’t repeated, and the hospital’s concerns were thoroughly articulated and addressed. At the conclusion of the design phase, the team was confident that the design direction was solid and would give the hospital what they were looking for.

Topics: Healthcare commissioning HVAC USP 800 New Construction problem solving
4 min read

Understanding the Basics of a Ground-Coupled (Closed Loop) Heat Pump Design: Part 1

By Tate Colbert on Oct 9, 2019 10:00:00 AM

The ground source heat pump is a wonderful technology that will be vital in achieving energy efficiency goals this century. This technology isn’t new, but it is beginning to become more accepted as a viable solution for large scale, high efficiency HVAC performance. There are two main types of ground source heat pump systems: those that are “Ground Water” (also called Open Loop) and those that are “Ground-Coupled” (also called Closed Loop), see Figure 1 below. In either case, the water from the ground is pumped to a heat pump, where heat is either extracted out of or rejected into the ground and moved into or out of the conditioned space.

Topics: commissioning HVAC Heat Pumps Energy Management New Construction
3 min read

A New Metric for 21st Century Buildings: The Carbon Emissions Intensity (CEI)

By Jennifer Chiodo on Sep 25, 2019 10:00:00 AM

As you know, Cx Associates’ work focuses on making buildings perform better for occupants, operators, owners, and for the planet. A common metric we use to assess building performance is the energy use intensity (EUI) which Katie has discussed in her recent blog posts. While attending the recent IEPEC Conference in Denver, I had a discussion with someone familiar with Xcel Energy’s work to be a net zero carbon utility in the relatively near future. We realized that EUI is an insufficient metric for guiding energy program investments at their customer sites. Ultimately, to drive carbon emissions down to a sustainable level that will halt and begin to reverse the climate crisis we are currently in, we need to track energy intensity while also focusing on carbon emissions intensity (CEI) at a building level. Cities and states that have adopted carbon reduction goals will do well to focus on reducing the CEI of their building stock through energy efficiency, fuel switching, and renewable energy generation.

Topics: Sustainability Green Building Energy Efficiency Building Performance & Technology renewable Energy Management Existing Building portfolio benchmarking Program Consulting Energy Planning energy monitoring & solutions Energy Audit energy efficiency program M&V

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