Posts Tagged Energy Analysis

California Legislates Mandatory Energy Bench Marking : Deal With It

Yoinks, so much for market capitalism.  California with AB 1103 ( Commercial Building Energy Use Disclosure Program
Rulemaking)  legislated mandatory energy benchmarking into existence for non-residential buildings. Energy bench marking is to be done using

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager benchmarking system.

A building owner shall comply with this article according to the following schedule:

(a) On or after January 1, 2013, for a building with total floor area measuring more than
50,000 square feet.
(b) On or after July 1, 2013, for a building with a total floor area measuring more than 10,000
square feet and up to 50,000 square feet.
(c) On or after January 1, 2014, for a building with a total floor area measuring at least 5,000
square feet and up to 10,000 square feet.

 

What impact does this have on LEED EB?  If any?  Is anyone using LEED EB?  I was talking to an owner; raises funds, buys buildings, etc. and the general consensus of any green, LEED, sustainable, initiative, at least for him, was does it add value to his portfolio in the short term as they have a much shorter window of ownership.  However, with this mandate and benchmarking we might have something completely quantifiable to reflect the price of a building from an operational point of view.  And it’s an Energy Star rating like the one you find on your new refrigerator. While there might be plenty of flaws, as the benchmarking seems pretty rudimentary, it is a first step.  So the government mandated it and while that seems a dirty word these days, mandate; it’s here, deal with it.  I deal with the market as it exists and until I can afford to have a phalanx of lobbyists to create a market that way I want it, I deal with what’s in front of me.  And right now, it’s mandatory Energy Auditing.

How will the software makers respond, if at all, to this?  How about, can I have push button energy star rating on my building please?  Brief search turns up Melon Power, which coordinates electricity usage and your submission to Energy Star Portfolio Builder.  I have not tested it but yes, we want an app for that!  Not buried in the subscription pack of Green Building Studio.  Fact is, could be a wonderful Lead Generation Tool.  Fact is, all these companies Autodesk in particular buy these companies and stuff them into their AEC package, so although the price might stay the same, you are getting more ‘value’ per install because of everything else that’s stuffed into it. But software usage, cost per seat, software as a service?  That’s a rant for another day.

For now, there’s a new law of the land in California, and if it’s like the weather, it starts on the west side, and moves east.

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CALGreen is Coming : More Markets for Energy Analysis : Green Building : #BIM

Signed in 2004, mandatory in 2011 Executive Order  S-20-04 set in motion a whole new set of building codes to reduce energy purchases by 20% by 2015.  I included section 1 and 2 in their entirety below.

1. That the state commit to aggressive action to reduce state building electricity usage by retrofitting, building and operating the most energy and resource efficient buildings by taking all cost-effective measures described in the Green Building Action Plan for facilities owned, funded or leased by the state and to encourage cities, counties and schools to do the same.

2. That state agencies, departments, and other entities under the direct executive authority of the Governor cooperate in taking measures to reduce grid-based energy purchases for state-owned buildings by 20% by 2015, through cost-effective efficiency measures and distributed generation technologies; these measures should include but not be limited to: 2.1. Designing, constructing and operating all new and renovated state-owned facilities paid for with state funds as “LEED Silver” or higher certified buildings; and 2.2. Identifying the most appropriate financing and project delivery mechanisms to achieve these goals; and 2.3. Seeking out office space leases in buildings with a U.S. EPA Energy Star rating; and 2.4. Purchasing or operating Energy Star electrical equipment whenever cost-effective.

Not only that, within the Executive Order their is a provision for CALPERS (the California Pension plan and huge investor) are ‘requested to target resource efficient buildings for real estate investments and commit clean technology funds to advanced sustainable and efficiency technologies.’

You can jump the new building codes home page here.  With the GSA requiring a BIM on all new building and major renovations and now California requiring Green Building Practices in all their public buildings the increase in new technologies related to building will continue to grow.   To completely beat the dead horse into submission, not that a dead horse needs to be beat any more, metaphorically speaking, but…sustainable retrofits,  say it again…

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SketchUp IES Build Partnership : Energy Analysis : Building Performance : Simple BIM? : SketchUp Wins?

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) recently formalized a partnership or made it more formal, actual details seem fuzzy even after reading the press release, sort of like IES and SketchUp agree to continue to working together.  IES and EcoTect (now part of Autodesk) have been two of the longest standing players in the digital building analysis arena and what makes this really interesting to me is that SketchUp continues to gain traction. Users and developers are flocking to SketchUp and part of that is the magnetic power of google but also a fact is that I have architects say to me that they never used CAD in their life but now they use Sketch Up.  It could be part of a larger migration to use SketchUp on the design end of the process.  I can hear BIM purists, Revit Snobs and CAD managers groan and start cursing me already but hold and consider this.

  • Many GCs are already building their own BIMs for projects as they have the ultimate responsibility.
  • Architects are the first to admit they are designers and artists why not let them express themselves with the most intuitive tool.
  • Architects want to manage the BIM process as much as they want paper cuts filled with lemon juice.

Have the architects design the project and then consult with the building of the BIM when the GCs put it together using their design as the template.  The rise of virtual construction departments within the GCs themselves are well positioned for this transition and are already doing it for the most part.  Why have an architectural BIM that might not be used for construction.  If you can go through an iterative design process with SketchUP, utilize building performance tools from IES and then were just waiting for option analysis, rough quantity takes offs from Sketch Up you have a powerful SimpleBIM tool  with a price point that is 10% that of the equivalent from Autodesk.  Not that we give up on Revit, ArchiCAD, Navisworks, etc for the heavy lifting and actual BIM and construction coordination, 4D, 5D etc. but until everyone works on the same platform, ask yourself what’s the best workflow, best use of resources, best use of funds I don’t think it starts with conceptual work in Revit.

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ASHRAE Issues Grant for Interoperability: #BIM

ASHRAE, the American Society for Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers just issued a grant to Texas A&M for “ensuring that a common language of ‘energy efficiency’ is spoken by the both building information modeling software used by architects and energy analysis and simulation software”.  I have not played around with Ecotect or IES enough, but I know it had required separate 3D modeling outside of  standard BIM authoring software, getting to a point of seamless data exchange you would think would be a starting point not the end point, but glad we are moving that way.

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Is green the color of recovery for architects?

This is the title of a recent article in the Boston Business Journal.  “Once the money starts to flow, architects will be busiest retrofitting existing buildings to meet current environmental building codes and industry standards for energy efficieny, as cost effective alternatives to building from scartch,” said Nancy Jenner director of the Boston Society of Architects.

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Building Green with BIM : Existing Conditions

I wondered ho much of the green movement would get sidelined due to the tanking economy, and how much acceleration LEED certified projects will continue to get.   Regardless of LEED though going green is proving to be cost effective, so effect on the bottom line are always going to get noticed.  BIM allows option analysis from an energy perspective.   You can perform solar analysis, heat gain/loss, options to replace glass with low-e, double paned, or triple paned, and run your ROI on a project by project basis.  What is the payback by re insulating  or  upgrading the power plant is much easier calculated with a BIM.  A recent article by Karl Heitman in the REournal goes on to say that you need to take into account the “embodied energy” in a building and that it would take 75 years of LEED Platinum Certified Building to repay the loss of tearing it down.  So need to refit and reuse, create great projects with your existing conditions.

How you can capture existing conditions in a BIM format?  So far, not so easy.

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