Green Building Initiatives Drive Energy Efficiency

Three words sum it up. Social, economic and environmental impact. “While there are many different definitions of green building, it is generally accepted as the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with the focus on energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material selection and the building’s effects on its site”. (USGBC)

What Green Building Strategies can be implemented at your facility as a catalyst to drive energy efficiency?

Water conservation for one. Water is used for many purposes. Examples: Domestic use, hot water, irrigation, maintenance and cooling towers that require continuous water supply. A Geothermal system may have a retention pond. All these things require energy to operate. The more efficient the operating systems the less energy is used. Conserving water will have a tremendous affect on energy use.

Controlling energy waste. The average commercial building wastes 30% of the energy supplied and that’s conservative. Optimizing the building operating systems (MEP) will definitely drive energy efficiency. Think of it as a tune up. Another strategy not discussed much is waste heat recovery. This is heat that is exhausted from a building or residual heat from boilers, heat exchangers or other mechanical equipment. It can be as simple as waste heat from plumbing drains. The idea is to re-capture the heat and re-purpose it. That being said, no additional energy is used.

Re-purposing or salvaging building materials is a great strategy. The materials have already been manufactured and now their removed from one place and installed somewhere else without additional energy created or very little.

Cool Storage or Thermal Energy Technology. The idea behind this is to help with demand response or load shifting. This equipment chills storage media such as water, ice or phase change material to meet the air conditioning loads. These substances are chilled during periods of low cooling demand and used later during peak energy use periods.

Battery storage systems have come a long way. Banks of Lithium-Ion battery cells are used to store energy to be used at a later time. Uses are: Peak shaving to reduce demand charges, load shifting from peak to off-peak energy use periods, Demand Response and Emergency Back-up.

Renewal Energy. Solar, Geothermal, Enhanced Geothermal, Wind, Hydropower. These are sustainable energy strategies because energy is created by renewable sources. They can be used as stand-alone systems, supplement existing loads, demand response, load shifting or selling energy back to the utility supplier.

This is not an exhausted list of strategies but some of many. As you can see, Green Building Initiatives undeniably drive energy efficiency in any commercial facility.

David Borgaro

David Borgaro

Dave has 40 years experience in Sustainable Energy Strategies, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Contracting, Engineering design and Project Management. Accredited LEED Green Associate, Certified Commercial Energy Auditor, Energy Efficiency Engineering, Master Plumber, Member USGBC, ASHRAE, NESEA, NESI. Dave’s diverse expertise in utilizing engineering principles, combined with the use of technology and practical experience affords him tremendous insight into finding cost-effective solutions.

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