More and more facility managers are implementing recommissioning and energy audits to measure and improve their buildings' energy performance, according to a new survey published by Potomac, MD-based FMLink, the Washington, D.C.-based Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Intl., the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Reston, VA-based Association for Facility Engineers (AFE).
The survey, which was sent to more than 30,000 individuals, also found that most energy-savings successes were the result of aggressive, low-cost, operational strategies rather than major capital projects; however, such capital projects are one of the big items scheduled for action in the coming year.
Other key findings include:
- More than three-quarters of the buildings greater than 50,000 square feet had building-automation systems (BASs). Eighty-seven (87) percent of those with more than 600,000 square feet had BASs. Most of the respondents who experienced a greater-than-5-percent energy savings over the past 2 years had implemented a BAS.
- Respondents who underwent building recommissioning two or more times a year had significantly more energy savings over the past 2 years than those who had not.
- Forty-one (41) percent of building operating plans included a professionally developed energy-strategies staff education program. Just under 12 percent of respondents said they plan to implement such a plan in the next 12 months.
- Fifty-nine (59) percent of respondents have occupancy sensors in their general office space.
- Nine (9) percent of the buildings had some form of green certification (mostly ENERGY STAR® or LEED); however, a majority said they plan to obtain some aspect of green certification in the future.
- Seventy-three (73) percent of all buildings greater than 50,000 square feet have had an energy audit. Conversely, 63 percent of those under 25,000 square feet did not have an audit.
- For respondents that had an energy audit, the most common recommendations to come from the audit were lighting upgrades and HVAC upgrade/replacement (chiller, air-handling unit, boiler, pumps, outside air). For those with buildings smaller than 50,000 square feet, weather stripping and insulation recommendations were frequently mentioned.
- Overall, the respondents averaged energy savings of 5 to 10 percent over the past 2 years. Fifty-seven (57) percent of those respondents measured their savings through the money expended on utilities, energy consumed, or their ENERGY STAR score.
- Sixty-six (66) percent of respondents indicated that they do not have a green lease; however, 55 percent of respondents do provide their tenants with an operations manual that includes good energy-management practices.
- When asked what they plan to upgrade, install, or replace over the next year, respondents said: minor repairs or corrective maintenance (37 percent), HVAC equipment (30 percent), variable-frequency drives (23 percent), and ongoing recommissioning (21 percent).
"From offering the latest industry education to implementing energy audits to applying effective low-cost operational strategies - property professionals are doing what it takes to save energy and reduce costs," says BOMA Intl. Chair and CEO Richard D. Purtell.