Energy Survey: How Does Your Building Compare?
In mid-February, data collection began for the U.S. Department of Energy's 2007 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS). A national survey that collects information directly from building managers and owners, CBECS seeks information about the prevalence of energy-related characteristics in buildings and the amount (and related cost) of electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and district heat used to operate the buildings. Joelle D. Michaels, CBECS survey manager, answers the following questions.
Michaels: A wide variety of commercial buildings are surveyed. Most buildings that are not residential, industrial, or agricultural are included, such as office buildings, schools, government buildings, places of worship, shopping malls, restaurants, warehouses, hospitals, and hotels. Buildings: Who will be contacted to participate in the survey, and when will they be contacted?Michaels: Because the CBECS is a sample survey, not a census, we will only be involving 5,600 buildings across the United States. If you are selected, the interviewer will be looking for the person most knowledgeable about energy use in the building. Interviews started in February and will continue through the summer. Buildings: What can readers do to prepare in case they are selected for the survey?Michaels: If your building is selected, you will be contacted in person and provided with a packet of materials about the CBECS. The packet will include two worksheets to help prepare for the survey. Questions range from general structural and operating characteristics to more technical questions about HVAC and other energy-using equipment. Buildings: Why is the CBECS important?Michaels: The CBECS is the only source of comprehensive information about energy use in commercial buildings in the United States. It may sound cliché, but nothing else even comes close.
You can find more information and previous CBECS results at (www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cbecs).
Google Earth Goes Green
Although you may be interested in green buildings, traveling around the globe to see the best green architecture is not the most environmentally friendly option. Luckily, BuildingGreen.com, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and Google have teamed up to bring green buildings to you: Using Google Earth software, you can now view models of the 96 projects in the High Performance Buildings Database (a DOE-sponsored database with research that seeks to improve building performance measuring methods by collecting data on energy, materials, land use, etc.).
Another Google Earth feature that may interest the environmentally conscious is the ability to visualize air pollution, thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Data on carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxide, VOCs, and other emissions are displayed; with this new feature on Google Earth, you can find pollution from major point sources (cement facilities, manufacturing plants, refineries, and electric-generating units) in the United States.
AIA Launches ‘Walk the Walk'
A campaign aimed at promoting sustainable design has been launched by the Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects (AIA). "Walk the Walk" will inform the industry about the benefits of energy-efficient buildings, coinciding with the AIA's goal of making all buildings carbon neutral by 2030.
To promote "Walk the Walk," the AIA offers two environmental toolkits: one detailing the goal of having carbon-neutral buildings by 2030, and the other providing a set of 50 strategies, tools, and techniques that can help industry professionals achieve significant reductions in energy use and carbon emissions.
More information on "Walk the Walk" can be found at (www.aia.org).
BIM is a Growing Trend
Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology is dramatically changing views of building design, construction, and operation through its ability to dynamically display complete, holistic models of buildings.
The FMI/CMAA Eighth Annual Survey of Owners, published by Raleigh, NC-based FMI Corp. and the Construction Management Association of America, finds that adoption of BIM processes and technology is accelerating, with 35 percent of respondents using BIM processes and technology for 1 or more years on some portion of their capital program.
The new frontier of BIM is highlighted on ElectricTV.net, an online TV program produced jointly by the Bethesda, MD-based National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the Washington, D.C.-based Intl. Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
To view the video, visit (www.ElectricTV.net).
Manhattan Office Space Rent Soars
Only 22.2 million square feet of office space is available in Manhattan, and average rents are up 28 percent from 2006, according to a recent report from New York City-based Cushman & Wakefield. Overall asking rents for Manhattan office space reached record highs in 2007 ($65.08 per square foot), and little reprieve is forecasted for the next several years.
According to Joseph R. Harbert, COO of the New York Metro Region for Cushman & Wakefield, "The low level of available space is due to a lack of new supply in the Manhattan office market." Despite the lack of space, more than $47.8 billion in Manhattan commercial real estate sales closed in 2007. Says Harbert, "There was a record level of activity in the first 6 months of , but even after the summer's credit crisis and the following financial uncertainty, transactions continued to close." He adds, "There's a tremendous amount of energy downtown right now. We expect that to continue into 2008 and beyond."
Ship Repair Facility Completed
Work has been completed on a new, 31,250-square-foot industrial facility for Propulsion Controls Engineering Inc. (PCE) in San Diego, built by San Diego-based Bilbro Construction Co. Inc. PCE, which has repaired shipboard machinery and electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and control systems for nearly every class of ship currently operating in the Navy, was previously located near the waterfront south of downtown San Diego.
The nature of the ship repair business necessitated that the facility be physically close to the harbor and Navy shipyards, so site analysis, planning, and development of a comprehensive relocation cost budget were all important steps in choosing the right location. The chosen site included a 1950s-era building that had to be demolished down to its structural components and completely rebuilt with new electrical and mechanical systems, new underground utilities and upgrades, and fire-sprinkler retrofits.
Employees Prefer Green Practices in the Workplace
Sixty-four (64) percent of U.S. workers have indicated that their decision to work for a company (or to purchase its products) is "strongly" or "somewhat" influenced by the company's environmental policies and practices, according to a survey by Broomfield, CO-based Corporate Express US Inc.
Gauging the attitudes and opinions of 7,660 office employees about the increasingly green trends of U.S. companies, the survey shows that American preferences toward environmentally friendly office practices continue to grow. Some interesting findings include:
- Approximately two out of three workers at companies without environmental policies would like to see such policies implemented in their offices.
- Eighty-three (83) percent of employees would like to see their companies use environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals in their offices.
- Nearly one out of three workers says he/she possesses allergies that are aggravated by environmental conditions in the office.
Mori Hosseini Center Completed at Daytona Beach College
Orlando, FL-based FLA/Florida Architects Inc. announced the completion of the Mori Hosseini Center at Daytona Beach College in Daytona Beach, FL. The 70,590-square-foot facility, which cost $23 million, provides expanded quarters for the college's hospitality, tourism, and culinary programs, as well as for its nationally recognized Southeast Museum of Photography.
The center's exterior façade (pictured, above) draws upon an updated version of the Spanish Mediterranean design style. Details such as oversized corbels, concrete balustrades, and an outdoor loggia area underscore the Mediterranean theme, and the 2-story structure is accented by a large, manmade water fountain that lends the center heightened visibility.
New Art Museum in Overland Park, KS
The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, KS, has been completed on Johnson County Community College's campus, with design by Cambridge, MA-based Kyu Sung Woo Architects.
Now home to a collection of contemporary artists including Dana Schutz, Kehinde Wiley, Uta Barth, Kerry James Marshall, and Do-Ho Suh, the museum makes a strong statement with its minimalist style. The limestone-clad, glass-enclosed structure provides a new entrance to the campus and connects the school to the community. A double-height atrium wrapped with perforated metal to filter and soften light joins the museum to an adjacent technology center. Other features include 11,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 200-seat auditorium, and LED displays that extend the lantern-like effect of the glass façade.
Research Tower Completed at USC
The Harlyne J. Norris Research Tower at the University of Southern California (USC) Health Sciences Campus, Los Angeles, has been completed by Redwood City, CA-based Rudolph and Sletten Inc. Greatly expanding the scope of USC's on-campus cancer facilities, the 172,440-square-foot research tower includes administrative and faculty offices, a conference center, and a helipad.
The $79 million facility is 10 stories high and links two existing cancer research centers, connecting a trio of buildings through a bridge on the first floor. An egg-shaped, cast-in-place auditorium seats 188 and provides the latest in interactive teaching and communication technology. Underground levels of the research tower contain glass wash, cryofreeze, and shell areas, along with mechanical and electrical spaces.
The tower has a steel brace frame with metal deck floors, with an exterior skin of precast, glazing, and louver systems. The building has won both an AIA Citation Award and an AIA Merit Award for its design.
$750 Million Authorized for Campus Energy Projects
In late December of last year, Congress signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which authorizes $250 million per year in grants and another $500 million in direct loans for renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects at higher-education institutions and public schools, and for local governments.
Grants of up to $1 million are allowed for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects, and grants for innovative energy-sustainability projects can reach $500,000. Smaller grants for feasibility studies and other technical assistance are also authorized. The law directs that at least 50 percent of the grant money must be awarded to higher-education institutions. The law also authorizes another $100 million in annual funding for higher-education research on renewable energy, including $50 million for marine renewable energy and $25 million for biofuels.
Integrated Office Lighting Systems are Being Promoted
A technical brief titled "Integrated Office Lighting Systems: Making It Personal" has been produced by the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The brief introduces an integrated office lighting system (IOLS) that combines lower levels of ambient overhead lighting with efficient personal lighting systems (PLSs).
Through delamping, lower overhead lighting levels (and, therefore, energy savings) are achieved; LEDs are suggested for PLSs, providing glare-free illumination only where needed. IOLS benefits (such as reduced waste from fluorescent lights and the inclusion of occupancy sensors to further reduce waste) are detailed in the brief, as are suggestions for applications.
For more information, go to (www.energy.ca.gov/pier/buildings).
Residence Halls Modernized at Middle Georgia College
Middle Georgia College in Cochran, GA, is realizing its goal of modernizing all student housing with the completion of three new residence halls and an academic/recreational student activity facility.
Designed by Lord, Aeck & Sargent, an architectural firm in Atlanta, the new residence halls have a combined construction cost of $18.9 million, while the student activity facility cost $1.7 million. Two of the residence halls are designed for college-level students; one hall and the student activity facility were designed specifically for high school juniors and seniors attending the Georgia Academy of Aviation, Mathematics, and Engineering Science (GAMES) program. Middle Georgia College intends to construct and complete two more new residence halls by the fall semester in 2009.