Americans report in surveys that they are likely to retire later than expected as a result of this economic downturn that doesn’t seem to want to quit. While that’s bad news for golf courses and Florida real estate, it helps one industry: energy efficient lighting.
We are squinting, rather than sprinting toward (more…)
Over the last few decades, commercial buildings have been at the forefront of a number of energy storage technologies including batteries, flywheels (primarily in uninterruptible power system (UPS) applications), and thermal energy storage (TES). While the former market segment is mature, TES (more…)
Describing a building as ‘green’ makes a lot of people cringe. The word is overused. And what does it mean exactly?
Serious efforts are underway to move away from the hype and offer a more specific analysis of a building’s energy performance. Think nutritional labels for food, except in kilowatt-hours instead of (more…)
Once again the United States is experiencing record hot temperatures this summer, which means that electric grids are working harder than ever to provide the energy needed to keep commercial buildings and their employees cool. And, as businesses try to keep costs down the increased use (more…)
Energy is a commercial property’s single largest operating expense. That’s a lot of power when you consider that, according to the most recent Annual Energy Review of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), 19 percent of all energy in the entire country was consumed by commercial buildings. (more…)
On February 1, 2011 the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco passed an ordinance amending the San Francisco Environment Code to adopt the San Francisco Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance, requiring owners of non-residential buildings to conduct Energy Efficiency Audits of their (more…)
The practice of “commissioning,” in which an engineer monitors the efficiency of a building from its design through its initial operation, just may be the most effective strategy for reducing long-term energy usage, costs, and greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. So why is it so seldom used?
In a different world, it could be a reality television show — “Buildings On Trial,” with a street-savvy engineer going into skyscrapers, factories, offices and other commercial buildings to find the dumb mistakes that make them waste energy and produce a disproportionate share of the nation’s global warming emissions.
And in almost every case, even new buildings proudly displaying a LEED “green building” plaque by the front door, the engineer would come back out with a list of energy hog culprits: Here’s the ventilation system fan installed backwards, so it blows full force into another fan blowing in the right direction. Here’s the control system set up so heating and cooling systems both work at once, like driving with your feet on the brakes and the accelerator at the same time. Here are the stuck dampers that prevent the building from drawing on outside air when the temperature is right.