Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paper on Energy Modeling Barriers

Holly Samuelson and team at the Harvard Graduate School of Design recently presented a paper on "Identifying Non-Technical Barriers to Energy Model Sharing and Reuse".  This is a topic dear to my heart as while I was at Harvard I chaired the Green Building Standards committee and wrote the language requiring all major renovation and new construction projects to submit as-built energy models in electronic format as part of their closeout documents.  We also recommended projects to use eQuest or Energy Plus unless they had a defendable reason why one of these programs wasn't viable.  As far as I know, this was the first such requirement and nobody really know how the industry would react.  Holly and friends took this idea and surveyed 154 energy modelers to see what they thought about sharing energy models.  A whopping 75% of the respondants indicated that they would share these files.  Those that wouldn't share gave a range of reasons including (in decreasing order of prevalence) that the models are too complicated to be understood by others, the models don't represent reality in the finished building, the model itself represents intellectual property not to be shared, and finally a couple of engineers felt that owners do not have staff qualified to receive the model (though I'm sure this is almost universally the case).  I spoke with Holly years ago when she was initially contemplating the paper and survey and she gave me a shout out in the acknowledgements for my help.  She also acknowledged fellow EA TAG member Chris Schaffner (the Green Engineer). Thanks Holly and keep up the great work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

USGBC Blog Post ~ Project Haiti

I'm about to get married and my fiance and I would like to share our good fortune with others. We both support the USGBC Project Haiti project to address the health and emotional needs of orphaned children and provide a pathway to adoption in that country. What's more, the project plans to do all of this with a green buildling that can be a model for sustainable development in that country. We’ve found that our friends and family are equally inspired by this worthwhile cause. That being the case, we chose to donate to Project Haiti ourselves and include it in our wedding registry as an option for others to donate on our behalf. Here's the Project Haiti website:

The USGBC recently asked me if I'd write a blog post for them about our decision. You can see the full post here:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Water Cooler Timers

The following is a simple Energy Conservation Measure identified for a site in Mexico:

Existing Condition: Water Coolers on 24 Hours per Day
There are at least 10 bottled water dispensers, each of which consumes 1.45 kWh per day to heat and cool the water. These units continue to draw some energy during the evenings and weekends when nobody is in the building, consuming up to 5,293 kWh annually and costing 7,430 pesos ($619 U.S.).

Recommendation: Add Timers to Water Coolers
Add a simple programmable timer to each of the water coolers. The should be set to turn on when people are scheduled to first arrive at the building and turn off when the majority of people are scheduled to leave.

It is assumed that a simple, 7 day, analog timer will be able to reduce annual energy consumption by at least 50%, saving 3,715 pesos ($310 U.S.) annually. It is assumed that these can be purchased for $15 U.S. (180 pesos) each, or $150 U.S. ($1800 pesos) total, and that no cost of labor is needed to install them.

All costs below in Pesos...