Saturday, May 30, 2009

Funny LEED Review

Earlier this month, an associate received a preliminary LEED review questioning their submittal for MR prerequisite 1, Collection and Storage of Recyclables. Specifically, the reviewer didn't feel that the recycling collection listed in the document on the top right, which includes "Cans, Glass & Plastic", in addition to the paper and cardboard collection elsewhere in the building, met the requirements of LEED. The review stated that collecting "cans" was not sufficient to cover the "metal" recycling required by LEED. While I assured my associate that they could still get the prerequisite with some clever wordsmithing, I was quite amused last week when I visited the new USGBC headquarters at 2101 L Street, NW in Washington, DC and saw the recycling collection bins pictured on the bottom left, which collect "Glass, Cans & Plastic". Do you think they'll fail to achieve LEED CI status because they missed a prerequisite?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dunster Kitchen Controls

Our Dining Services group recently worked with National Resources Management to reduce energy consumption in their kitchens. They put in controls to to reduce short cycling of the walk-in cooler and freezer compressors, run the evaporator fans only when needed, and run the defrost cycle based on coil temperature. NRM also installed anti-sweat door heater controls and replaced the small evaporator fans with much more efficient Electronically Commutated Motors (ECM) motors, as is being done in the picture on the right in a cooler at Dunster House, where 2 coolers and 2 freezers were upgraded. The new controls are able to be monitored remotely to track refrigerator and cooler performance and to verify energy savings (the small image on the bottom right shows a screen shot tracking the Dunster House kitchen). The overall project covered 14 walk-in coolers and 8 walk-in freezers in 4 kitchens, cost about $80,000 after utility rebates, is estimated to save over $28,000 annually (simple payback in less than 3 years), and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 62 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. Details of the Dunster project are included on the bottom left. The whole project was funded through the Green Campus Loan Fund and the loan will be repaid as the energy savings are realized.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SmartBike DC

When I got off at the Foggy Bottom Metro Stop in Washington, DC on Sunday, I saw a bike rack full of identical (similar) red bikes. The bikes were part of a membership-based shared bike program (like ZipCar for autos). It is my understanding that for $40 a year, members of this program have unlimited use of the bikes. SmartBike DC claims to be America's first self-service public bike rental program. Not sure how effective it is, but it is nice to see as you get off the subway.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Energy Simulation Consultants?

Question from LinkedIn LEED AP Group: Where can I find a consulting firm that specializes in Energy Simulations?
Response from SustainableDCS: Almost any MEP can give you an energy model usable for EAc1 (most already use Trace or HAP to do their load sizing, both of which are acceptable for this simulation). Most will complete the model at the end of design to tell you how many LEED points you'll get. This is the least expensive option, but offers no real value to the design process. A good modeling firm will provide multiple parametric runs to help identify the best orientation, envelope, HVAC, etc. Some will also provid CFD analysis for natural or hybrid ventilation (or fume hood containment and avoiding exhaust plume reintrainment), daylight simulation, or radiant temperature simulation, depending on your needs. Transolar is the best we've used for the fancy stuff ( ). We really like Andelman and Lelek for eQuest models ( ).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hip Hop Archive Cx part II

In a previous post we showed some photos of the commissioning process from the Hip Hop Archive. One of the items we added to our issues list was the lack of a fresh air duct that was supposed to be connected to one of the heat pumps. Though the duct was shown on the construction documents and as-built drawings, we couldn't find it in the field. After a lot of back-and-forth with the contractor, it turns out the duct never made it from the fresh air intake and no fresh air was being provided to the spaces served by this heat pump. The two pictures attached show the same access panel before commissioning (no duct) and after (with duct). The team also found that the filter could not be accessed in one of the other heat pumps, another item that the contractor has since fixed. This is our first attempt at self-commissioning a small fit-out project and the experience proved very valuable.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

HEET Weatherization Barn Raising

On April 26, I attended a HEET Weatherization Barn Raising in Cambridge. The Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) is a Cambridge-based co-op bringing neighbors together to weatherize their homes and take the energy future into their own hands. A large group of volunteers, guided by some home energy efficiency experts, went weatherized two houses in the Cambridgeport area. Activities included: insulation and foam around the band joists, flashing and caulking around the chimney opening, mortar around bricks and pipe penetrations, caulking and weatherstripping around doors, foam gaskets behind electrical outlets, adjusted and tightened hinges, a hard piped dryer vent, and more. The houses were later tested with a blower door to determine their air leakage and event ended with pizza and live music. It was an extremely educational, rewarding, and fun experience.

Larsen & Longfellow Commissioning

On April 28, the Office for Sustainability commissioning team, along with Bob Phillos, Assistant Director of Operations from the Graduate School of Education, and Kevin the HVAC technician from Facilities Maintenance Operations, commissioned recently renovated spaces in Larsen and Longfellow Halls. They checked the lighting, lighting controls, programmable thermostats, and split system air conditioners that were associated with the renovation projects. Everything looked good with the AC condensing unit (as verified by the two Kevins and Andrea). We found three meeting rooms with ceiling mounted occupancy sensors that weren't connected correctly (these have since been fixed). We were told by the occupants of Longfellow that they'd like to be trained on how to use the thermostats (training is being arranged). We also noticed that the lighting levels varied drastically from one office to the next even with the lights on (from 15 FC on the desk of some unrenovated offices to between 30 and 50 FC in the renovated spaces). The commissioning was part of the LEED for Commercial Interiors program and included reviewing balancing reports for a new air handler, which was separatley commissioned by a third party.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Green Cleaning 2.0

We're pretty much implementing green cleaning programs in all of our new building, major renovation, or operations upgrade projects. This no-cost (actually a cost savings most of the time) switch is good for the environment and great for occupant and custodian health. Most of the time we recommend GreenGuard certified cleaning products (or an equivalent), usually delivered in a large container and then diluted to different degrees depending on the cleaning application. While this is still part of most green cleaning plans (along with microfiber cloths, HEPA vacuums, etc.), a relative new comer to the cleaning product list is ionized water. The Activeion Pro system charges the water and ionizes it to create an oxygen rich spray with lots of charged bubbles. The company claims to remove 99.9% of e-coli, staph, MRSA, listeria, and salmonella when used as directed. The cleaning crews don't have to worry about smell or toxicity and there isn't even an MSDS for the product. Once you have the device, just add water. As Sylvia demonstrates below, it looks and feels very similar to the spray bottles she uses for other cleaning products.