Energy Efficiency 2017-07-26T23:26:32+00:00

Energy Efficiency

The goal of Healthy Buildings’ energy programs is to identify efficiency measures that will lower a building’s energy expenses. Healthy Buildings tailors each program, from a simple audit or Energy Star assessment to a sophisticated commissioning program to the specific needs of our client.  The programs can be designed to meet the requirements of certification programs, such as LEED, or 3rd party-administered utility rebate programs.

Our engineers study and evaluate your building’s systems and recommend solutions allowing installed systems to function better while achieving the owner’s criteria of optimum energy and resource efficiency. Our approach is to improve your competitive position by focusing on operations, maintenance effectiveness, and building efficiency.

Every Healthy Buildings energy product includes a “walk-through” which evaluates the building’s performance, giving us a view of how the building operates in real time. We identify areas by strength, weakness, and baseline. Our experience with building systems allows us to quickly identify opportunities and may readily be integrated with IAQ audits to ensure the building optimizes both energy efficiency and IAQ. Validation services are offered to ensure our recommendations have achieved the desired impact on operating costs. Healthy Buildings energy services include opportunities involving electricity, natural gas, steam, water, geothermal or on-site generation.  Healthy Buildings believes in a measured approach that ties return on investment (ROI) to the project scope. Many times we have substantiated the worth of a project by function but more often by the ROI. Our experience proves this measured method takes all the guess-work out of the process.

The goal of Healthy Buildings’ energy audits is to identify efficiency measures that will positively impact a building’s operating expenses. Healthy Buildings tailors each audit to the specific needs of our client. The audits can be designed to meet the requirements of certification programs, such as LEED, or 3rd party-administered utility rebate programs. A simple Level I audit can be used to determine if a more inclusive Level II audit or an investment grade Level III analysis is warranted.

Energy use analyses are performed to identify the most economical utility rate structure. Our engineers study and evaluate your building’s systems and recommend solutions allowing installed systems to function better while achieving the owner’s criteria of optimum energy and resource efficiency. Our approach is to improve your competitive position by focusing on operations, maintenance effectiveness, and building efficiency.

Every Healthy Buildings energy audit includes a “walk-through” which evaluates the building’s performance, giving us a view of how the building operates in real time. We identify areas by strength, weakness, and baseline. We begin the evaluation by working with your facilities department. Our experience with building systems allows us to quickly identify opportunities. Key areas of concern may be “data logged” to capture actual energy usage with accompanying day files detailing potential areas for improvement. Once this process is complete, we author an Audit Report with our findings, baselines, energy conservation measures (ECMs) or ways to improve, non-biased costs, and the financial model showing return on investment and payback information. Once ECMs are implemented, we will Post-Monitor to ensure efficiency and provide a final report to compare the initial Audit Report against the Post-Monitoring Report for verification of energy and/or resource efficiency. This process may include opportunities involving electricity, natural gas, steam, water, geothermal or on-site generation.

Healthy Buildings believes in a measured approach that ties return on investment (ROI) to the project scope. Many times we have substantiated the worth of a project by function but more often by the ROI. Our experience proves this measured method takes all the guess-work out of the process.

Whether simple, complex or somewhere in between, all buildings can benefit from a systematic Commissioning (Cx) process. Beginning in the design phase and continuing post-occupancy, Cx is a methodical step-by-step process to ensure new buildings are designed, built and operated to achieve increasingly stringent performance targets and Owner’s Project Requirements.

We bring immediate value through Cx by improving the construction process. Healthy Buildings focuses on reducing cost and increasing efficiency through verification of system operability, performance, and reliability. Many design and construction teams view commissioning as a chore and appreciate our years of hand-on experience. This unique combination of design and real world operations gives us an edge to identify and resolve potential issues during the design phase, while the project is still on paper rather than after construction, when it becomes more difficult and more costly to correct deficiencies. Healthy Buildings prides itself on offering independent opinion that focuses on solutions to real world problems to keep the project on schedule. Healthy Buildings’ commissioning team will verify proper installation, operation, and performance based on the project basis of design (BOD) and the owner’s project requirements (OPR), creating a seamless handoff after construction is completed.

In addition to developing and verifying proper completion of the Functional Performance Tests, our engineers will deliver a systems manual and facilitate training of the building operators. A Cx Report will document the resolution of issues identified during the detailed engineering process.

The key to any successful Cx effort is teamwork. Healthy Buildings works purposely to develop and maintain a collaborative approach bridging the owner, design and construction teams, equipment manufacturers, vendors, and relevant third parties together getting everyone involved. In the role of commissioning agent (CA), we see ourselves as part of the team and a technical resource with our role to facilitate the delivery of the best possible building systems operations. Our goal is to enhance the facility’s quality, control, performance, and efficiency, creating a more sustainable and occupant friendly building.

Retro-commissioning (RCx) is a systematic process developed to evaluate, document, and improve the operation of base building systems. Applying a comprehensive RCx process can be a very cost effective way to identify and implement measures to reduce energy use and cost while improving system operation and occupant comfort in existing buildings. RCx may solve problems that are due to the original design and construction of the building or uncover issues that were created during operation and tenant improvements. However, an extensive process may not be appropriate for every facility. Healthy Buildings can conduct a feasibility study to be used as a tool to determine which facilities are best suited to undergo an RCx effort, and to what level. Identifying those buildings with greater opportunities allows property owners / portfolio managers to make educated business decisions on how best to allocate financial resources.

While documenting the program is an absolutely critical step in any RCx effort, Healthy Buildings believes maximum benefit is achieved through a rigorous “rubber-meets-the-road” approach rather than an “executive” level paperwork process. Detailed functional performance test procedures methodically put building equipment / systems through their operational ranges. The RCx value is maximized by Healthy Buildings’ in-house Certified Building Commissioning Professionals (CBCP) directly applying years of hands-on knowledge and experience to the systems as the test procedures are executed. However, test procedures in which systems are manipulated do not always tell the whole story. In conjunction with manual testing, building automation system (BAS) trend analysis and stand-alone data logging provide the commissioning agent with valuable information for a complete picture of system operation.

The RCx process will undoubtedly discover system issues and identify areas for improvement. As a result, RCx can become adversarial or fail to realize full potential if operators are made to feel defensive. Therefore a key component to any successful RCx program is collaboration and Healthy Buildings works very deliberately to build a team approach. In addition to facilitating the process, including operations staff provides other tangible benefits. Living with the building every day, operators are a great source of information. A deeper understanding about “why and how” system modifications are implemented by the RCx agent alleviates the response of, “well, that’s not how we’ve always done it”, and there is a much greater chance the improvements will be maintained, or improved, over time.

Maintenance is frequently regarded as an overhead cost rather than a contributor to profits. This traditional mindset is typically the direct result of the maintenance department’s limited resources to capitalize on its many opportunities to increase efficiency, maximize revenues, and improve the performance cost. We benefit our clients by improving a building’s operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures and documenting the value of the improvements achieved through process and technology in maintenance and reliability. Our depth of expertise in building systems operations, facility services, and management analysis allows us to develop a comprehensive and integrated master energy and resource plan recognizing scheduled and unplanned activities and tasks.

Our team can perform LEED related energy services to support your buildings LEED certification efforts.
Energy modeling, or simulation, is a method for predicting building energy consumption in order to understand a building’s energy performance, guide informed design practices, and generate savings opportunities. When utilized early in the iterative design process, an energy model can be used by designers and engineers to help make decisions to maximize system efficiency while not compromising performance. The model is based on the building’s thermal characteristics including the building envelope, wall materials, size and orientation of the building, building occupancy, and operations and maintenance practices. The models are always normalized by weather in the local climate.

Healthy Buildings’ engineers utilize a wide range of energy modeling software, including eQuest, Energy PRO, Trane Trace, and more, depending on which is most suitable for the project. Energy modeling software allows our engineers to utilize local weather data and reasonable utility consumption information to build complex building system models in the design process. Furthermore, energy modeling may be utilized during the energy audit process to develop a base case scenario and compare with the predicted consumption levels associated with energy conservation measures identified by the engineering team. In this manner, the modeling is integral to determining the cost-effectiveness of each measure.

We can help your building identify energy conservation measures and implement energy efficiency programs.
We perform Energy Star Benchmark for building owners and property managers of commercial buildings.