01/24/2014

Energy Ratings in the Public's Eye

Why energy consumption doesn't tell the whole story

By

 

Chris Olson
Chief Content Director

We have a generally accepted way of measuring a building’s energy consumption: the EUI, or energy use intensity, a calculation of BTUs/square foot/year. This measure is becoming increasingly available to the public through energy benchmarking and disclosure requirements spreading rapidly across the country.

The rub is that the EUI, or an ENERGY STAR score derived from it, is not a measure of relative efficiency but only of whole-building consumption. It is a starting point, not a conclusion, about efficiency.

Industry professionals know that occupant density and specific use are among the variables that have enormous impact on a building’s energy consumption. The efficiency of the building systems is another matter and one that cannot be extrapolated from an ENERGY STAR score. But the general public may not recognize that.

An example is a New Republic article, “New York’s ‘Greenest’ Skyscraper Is Actually Its Biggest Energy Hog,” whose author concluded that One Bryant Park, a LEED Platinum office tower completed in 2009, was indeed the “hog” of the title. One piece of evidence offered by the article was that, according to New York City’s benchmarking data, the building consumed twice the energy per square foot as the much older Empire State Building.

The author’s comparison does not take into account the fact that the newer tower’s prime tenant is Bank of America, which houses its global corporate and investment banking operations there. In other words, the building has densely packed floors where workers hover over multiple monitors fed by high-performance computers and other hardware. (And one monitor alone can use more energy than a workstation computer.) The plug loads in such spaces are vast compared to many other office spaces. Moreover, the plug loads are a separate matter from the energy consumed by building systems.

The New Republic author also did not take into account One Bryant Park’s onsite generation capability via its 5.1-mW, low-emission cogeneration plant. Consumption data alone does not distinguish different sources of the electricity used in a building, just as it does not distinguish between plug loads and building system loads. Consequently, any energy from a building’s renewable sources as well as cogeneration would not be evident.

Energy benchmarking scores – whether good or bad – don’t provide the same basis of comparison as estimated mileage stickers on cars. Hopefully, the public will increase its awareness of the variables surrounding energy ratings and the comparative greenness of different buildings rather than become jaded about the ultimate value of energy efficiency in building design and operation.

 


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Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


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We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

 


 
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