New Guide Evaluates and Improves Building Performance

March 25, 2013
ASHRAE's best practices in energy, water, and IEQ.

Learn tools and techniques for measuring, managing, and improving your facility’s overall performance in a new guide, Performance Measurement Procedures for Commercial Buildings: Best Practices Guide.

Published by ASHRAE and funded in part through a grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the book provides specific best practices in the areas of energy consumption, water use, and four elements of indoor environmental quality: thermal comfort, IAQ, lighting/daylighting, and acoustics.

It allows owners to be proactive on an ongoing basis and reduce costs through maintenance and verification of building systems and environments.

“This guide gives building owners and their consultants the practical performance measurement guidance to meet market demands for keeping operation costs down without sacrificing the health, comfort, and productivity of their highest cost component – the building’s occupants,” said Jim Bochat, chair of the project committee that wrote the book. “This is the book that facility managers, building operators, technicians, consultants, commissioning authorities, architects, and design engineers need to ensure that their buildings are green, energy efficient, highly productive, healthy, and attractive to others.”

The book is a companion to 2010’s Performance Measurement Protocols for Commercial Buildings, which identified what to measure, how to measure it, and how often to do so. The 2013 guide presents step-by-step procedures to improve performance in specific categories.

For example, the three process levels of performance for energy are:

  • Basic Evaluation – This level reduces energy consumption and cost through and the improvement of system and equipment operation. It uses an ASHRAE Level I energy audit to identify low-hanging fruit.
  • Diagnostic Measurement – This step involves sub-metering of major end uses and specific components and requires an ASHRAE Level II energy audit. Energy efficiency measures having a simple payback of three to five years are identified.
  • Advanced Analysis – The final level focuses in-depth on specific systems and equipment to determine energy use problems. It requires enlisting a consultant to identify which issues to monitor and how.

A water assessment involves detailed readings and usage analysis and typically employs a specialist or consultant. Thermal comfort evaluation involves occupant surveys and field observations. Lighting analysis focuses on controls, daylighting, and visual activity.

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