The Role of Thermal Energy Storage in Electric Grid Management

Posted by Daniel Tuhus-Dubrow on Nov 29, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I spend most of my time focused on improving energy efficiency in buildings. Common recommendations include improving scheduling so that equipment doesn’t run continuously 24/7 or implementing lighting controls so that lights automatically turn off when nobody is in the space. These types of measures can significantly reduce electricity consumption but may have little impact on the building peak demand, let alone the grid peak demand.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

How to Tell When It’s Time to Start The Retrocommissioning Process

Posted by Walker Calderwood on Oct 4, 2017 10:00:00 AM

There have been many blog posts by Cx Associates’ staff on the benefits of retrocommissioning (RCx), or the best way to begin the RCx process, and even posts on how to increase RCx adoption through efficiency programs.  All of these are great posts and I encourage reading them to gain a better knowledge of RCx.  Even though many buildings can benefit from RCx, there are some buildings that are actually not good candidates for it. So how do you know if your building is a good candidate for RCx?  In this post I am going to give some examples that building owners, operators, and occupants can use to identify whether their facility can benefit from RCx, and determine when it is time to start the RCx process.

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Topics: Building Performance & Technology

Designing a High-Performance Building for Antarctic Conditions

Posted by Gretchen Schimelpfenig on Sep 20, 2017 10:43:22 AM

The process of designing and constructing a highly efficient, comfortable, and healthy building is challenging enough when the site is in the United States; that becomes a much more difficult endeavor when the site is on the most remote and coldest place on Earth. The design team for the new McMurdo Station in Antarctica approaches the problem with a holistic mindset centered around stewardship.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

No Touch Energy Audits Can Reduce Cost & Increase Granularity of Data

Posted by Daniel Tuhus-Dubrow on Aug 30, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Recently, I’ve been getting excited about so-called “no touch” energy audits, which employ meter data analytics to assess a building’s energy performance and even make specific recommendations regarding potential improvements, all without requiring the (expensive) “boots on the ground” of a traditional energy audit. This idea has been getting a lot of attention over the past few years as the increasing availability of 15-minute electric interval data has met with the “big data” revolution. In this post, I’m going to take a quick walk through various analysis techniques, moving from coarser to finer granularity.

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Topics: Building Performance & Technology, Evaluation Measurement & Verification (EM&

ASHRAE Guideline 36: Benefits of Real World Implementation

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Aug 23, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Back in 2015 I wrote a blog post about ASHRAE Guideline 36 - High Performance Sequences of Operation for HVAC Systems.  I referenced a spec my team at Cx Associates wrote for a BAS controls upgrade.  Now in 2017, that spec, and the sequences contained therein, have been made into a fully functional BAS controlling 14 air handlers (AHUs), over 90 variable air volume boxes, and the central plant that serves them.  Our firm artfully adapted the sequences to meet the needs of the building owner and the function of the building (healthcare) without sacrificing the high degree of complexity which yields the energy savings building automation systems have been promising for decades.  After working on this project from specs to implementation, I can confidently say that Guideline 36 can deliver a reduction in energy consumption and improved comfort.  The cost (excluding the norms of engineering labor, BAS reprogramming, and commissioning) is primarily paid through raising all ships.  Let me explain.

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Topics: Standards and Metrics, Building Performance & Technology

Understanding Electronically Commutated Motors

Posted by Eveline Killian on Aug 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Although electronically commutated motors (ECMs) are specified in efficient buildings, and energy efficiency programs provide incentives for their installation, I only had a cursory understanding of the difference between this technology and traditional shaded pole or permanent split capacitor type motors.  What makes ECMs more efficient?

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

Magnetic Bearing Chillers - Proven Efficiency and Reliability

Posted by Eveline Killian on Jul 19, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Office building cooling energy in the United States accounts for 7.4% of this country’s total commercial energy consumption, and chillers alone provide 31.9% of this space cooling. (The largest provider of space cooling is packaged rooftop units, which account for over 51%[1].) So, when an improved technology is proven to be successful, it’s worth the time to explore its merits.  And so, it is with magnetic bearing centrifugal chillers.

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Topics: Energy Efficiency, Building Performance & Technology

CleanMed Conference Report

Posted by Katie Mason on Jul 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I recently attended the CleanMed Conference and Exposition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This event, organized by Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth, “has gained a global reputation as the premier conference on environmental sustainability in the health care sector.”[1] This blog post will discuss the conference content as well as a few key points from several of the workshops I attended.  

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Topics: Sustainability, Building Performance & Technology

Special Considerations for Hospital Operating Room Upgrades

Posted by Katie Mason on May 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Space upgrades are a necessity to ensure that older buildings remain safe, functional, and cutting-edge for the users. As part of my role as an owner’s project manager for a large hospital, one of my recent projects has been an upgrade to the finishes of several operating rooms. This post will discuss the coordination and construction effort involved for such a project, as well as some potential challenges.

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Topics: Building Performance & Technology

RS-485– Part 3: Red Flags and How to Avoid Them

Posted by Rick Stehmeyer on Nov 17, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Note: This is Part Three in a series of posts on RS-485. | Part 1 | Part 2

In part 1 and part 2 of this series on RS-485 we covered the basics.  Let’s take some of that knowledge and talk about what most often goes wrong with RS-485.  I want to give you the ability to red flag common mistakes and some knowledge that will help repair the most common issues.  I am going to take some of the knowledge we gained from the last two posts and put it into context for both existing RS-485 installations and new ones.   I’ll discuss this in the form of red flags that will trigger the discussion.

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Topics: Building Performance & Technology

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