Stratford, ON to investigate upgrade to LEDs

Stratford ON

Stratford, ON, is famous for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Perhaps they'll also become famous for their LED lighting.

The City of Stratford, Ontario, has started a pilot project that will evaluate replacing existing streetlights (potentially as many as 4,000 units) with energy-efficient LED fixtures. This project has helped earn Stratford become one of the “Top Seven Intelligent Communities for 2012″ by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) a New York-based think tank dedicated to studying the use of information and communications technology to create the community of the 21st Century.

Stratford shares the kudos with communities having populations and economies many times its size: Austin, Texas; Oulu, Finland; Quebec City, Quebec; Riverside, California; Saint John, New Brunswick and Taichung City, Taiwan. All seven communities were feted last week at ICF’s annual “Building The Broadband Economy” summit conference in New York City. The goal of the awards program is to increase awareness of the role that broadband communications and information access technologies play in shaping the economic and social development of communities worldwide.

The pilot project will include Toshiba’s LED roadway and area lighting fixtures. These fixtures are a direct replacement for conventional high intensity discharge (HID) lighting, such as high-pressure sodium or metal halide lamps. With the new LED lighting fixtures, Stratford could save up to 30% in energy costs.

Stratford, Ontario is a city of 32,000 in southwestern Ontario, famous for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The city was twice designated one of the world’s Top Seven Intelligent Communities, in 2011 and 2012, by the New York-based broadband think tank, the Intelligent Community Forum.

More Companies Join Better Buildings Challenge

Department of EnergyThe Obama Administration announced recently that six new major U.S. companies are joining President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge, which encourages private sector leaders across the country to commit to reducing the energy use in their facilities by at least 20 percent by 2020.  Starbucks Coffee Company, Staples, and The J.R. Simplot Company will upgrade more than 50 million square feet of combined commercial building space, including 15 manufacturing facilities. Financial allies Samas Capital and Greenwood Energy will also make $200 million in financing available for energy efficiency upgrades through this national leadership initiative. Utility partner Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has also committed to offering expanded energy efficiency programs for its commercial customers, who are responsible for 30 million square feet of commercial building space.

The Better Buildings Challenge is part of the Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy to improve the competitiveness of American industry and business, by helping companies to save money by reducing energy waste in commercial and industrial buildings.  Under the Challenge, private sector CEOs, university presidents and state and local leaders commit to taking aggressive steps to reduce the energy used in their facilities and sharing data and best practices with others around the country.  With the addition of today’s partners and allies, nearly 70 organizations have now joined the Better Buildings Challenge.  Together, these organizations account for more than 1.7 billion square feet of building space, including more than 300 manufacturing plants, and have committed almost $2 billion to support energy efficiency improvements nationwide. For more information, please visit the Better Buildings Challenge website.

The energy to operate the buildings where we work, shop, and study costs the U.S. approximately $200 billion annually. Last year, commercial and industrial buildings consumed more than 40 percent of all the energy used by the U.S. economy.  The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to support building upgrades to make America’s buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade, while also reducing energy costs for American businesses and local governments by more than $40 billion and creating jobs for U.S. workers.

U.S. Green Building Council Announces Changes to LEED 2012

USGBC

“LEED pushes the envelope to bring transformation to the market – that’s what we do,” said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President, LEED. “We remain committed to that, and to making sure that what we deliver is complete and can be successfully implemented.”

In addition to the ballot date change, other actions include:

  • Keeping LEED 2009 open for registration for three years
  • Continuing to ask for the market’s assistance in “test driving” LEED v4 to gain important insight during a time when improvements in usability infrastructure can be made
  • Committing to a fifth public comment that will open on Oct. 2, 2012, and run through Dec. 10, 2012 to take advantage of Greenbuild where USGBC will hold public forums and educational sessions on site in San Francisco. This will help stakeholders better understand requirements as well as any final changes that may appear in the new draft. Greenbuild will also serve as a platform to debut new forms, submittal documents and LEED Online enhancements that will help improve and enhance the user experience

Said USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi,  “This is 100% in response to our members’ desire that we give them a bit more time to absorb the changes in this next version of the rating system.  We want to do everything we can to ensure that the market can fully embrace LEED v4 because it represents significant progress on carbon reduction and human health. Greenbuild will provide us the perfect venue to experience the look and feel of the new system as an integrated package. Then we can take the first part of 2013 to make sure the consensus body has everything it needs for a successful ballot.”

For more information please visit usgbc.org/LEEDv4.

California to require ‘solar ready roofs’ on new commercial buildings

CA Energy CommissionAccording to the San Jose Mercury News, the California Energy Commission has approved new energy efficiency standards for new residential and commercial buildings. The new standards, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, will require new commercial buildings to have solar-ready roofs, as well as so-called high-performance windows and lights controlled by sensors.

The new standards were backed by environmentalists, major utilities and the California Building Industry Association.

DOE Announces First Product to Meet the Commercial Rooftop Air Conditioner Challenge

Department of EnergyAs part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to help American families and businesses save money on their energy bills, the U.S. Department of Energy today announced that Daikin McQuay’s Rebel rooftop unit system is the first to meet DOE’s Rooftop Unit (RTU) Challenge. Five manufacturers—Daikin McQuay, Carrier, Lennox, 7AC Technologies, and Rheem—are participating in this challenge to commercialize highly efficient commercial air conditioners that satisfy a DOE-issued specification for energy savings and performance. The companies have until April 1, 2013 to submit a product for independent evaluation according to the specification. When built to meet the specification, these units are expected to reduce energy use by as much as 50% over current standards. Nationwide, if all 10 to 20 ton RTUs met the specification, businesses would save over $1 billion each year in energy costs, helping American companies better compete on a global scale.

Manufacturers nationwide have a strong motivation to produce highly energy-efficient air conditioning units for commercial buildings. Members in DOE’s Commercial Buildings Energy Alliances (CBEA), such as Target, Walmart, and other participating commercial building owners have expressed an interest in equipment that meets the new energy efficiency specification at an affordable price. The Department of Energy is evaluating potential demonstration sites for high performing products that meet the RTU Challenge. In addition, the Department is also developing analytical tools that enable businesses to more accurately estimate the energy and cost savings of using high performance RTUs in their facilities.

The RTU Challenge, aimed at spurring the market introduction of cost-effective, high-performance commercial rooftop unit air conditioners, was announced in January 2011. The specification that underpins the RTU Challenge was developed by DOE technical experts and informed by industry partners.

The final participant list was announced by Dr. Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, at the Energy Department’s first CBEA Efficiency Forum, a public stakeholder engagement event hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. In addition to today’s announcements, the forum also featured a series of information exchanges on other energy efficiency initiatives that are underway. A full meeting report will be available on the CBEA Web page in the coming weeks. CBEA is comprised of building owners, managers, and operators that collaborate with the Energy Department and with each other to develop and deploy best practices, key decision-making tools, and advanced technologies for significant energy savings.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about the CBEA, Efficiency Forum, and RTU Challenge.

MD Governor Signs Landmark Geothermal Heat Pump Bill

Flag of MarylandMaryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) has signed the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard – Geothermal Heating and Cooling bill (SB 652) into law, making Maryland the first state in the nation to allow utilities to claim credits for the installation of geothermal heat pumps. The measure passed the state legislature on April 13.

The legislation makes GHPs an accepted technology for utilities to use toward earning Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Geothermal heat pumps address one of the biggest consumers of U.S. energy – buildings. Buildings account for more than 70 percent of the nation’s electricity usage, and geothermal heat pumps have the potential to reduce energy use by as much as 40-70 percent in a typical building.

The Maryland RPS stipulates that electricity suppliers (utilities and competitive retail suppliers) use renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and biomass to generate a minimum portion of their retail sales, in annual percentage increments to a level of 20% by 2022.

Electricity suppliers demonstrate compliance with the RPS by accumulating RECs that are issued by the state for the renewable power they provide to their ratepayers. With the new law, GHPs offer yet another option for utilities to meet their renewable energy purchase requirements and earn RECs under the state’s RPS mandate.

Maryland and regional government and industry stakeholders are now forming the Mid-Atlantic Geothermal Industry Consortium (MAGIC) to educate surrounding states about the value of GHPs a compliance measure for their renewable energy purchase requirements.

GSA releases green building certification systems review

GSAThe General Services Administration (GSA) recently released its review of the Green Building Certification Systems.  Three certification systems passed GSA screening criteria: Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and the International Living Building Challenge.

Five years ago, only LEED passed the screening process.  In its most recent review, GSA determined Green Globes best advanced federal policies in new buildings and recommended LEED for existing buildings.  Out of more than 180 green building certification systems, GSA narrowed its consideration to whole building systems with a third party verification process.

The Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing (Center) has been an outspoken advocate of the federal government’s use of science and consensus-based green building certification systems.  In November 2011, the Center filed comments with GSA recommending the agency approve Green Globes based on the certification system’s “more economical approach to building certification and the implementation of a true accredited national standard using the ANSI process.”

On Wednesday, May 9th, the Center’s president Craig Silvertooth delivered testimony at a GSA sponsored meeting on the Green Building Certification Systems review in which he highlighted the potential opportunity and challenges involved in the GSA review process.

GSA oversees the leasing and construction of over 9,600 buildings in the federal building portfolio.  The agency is required under the Energy Independence and Security Act to evaluate green building certification systems every five years to ensure the federal government is using the most appropriate programs to promote its own initiatives.  A copy of the review is available on the GSA website.

Final Phase of Building Envelope Research Starts at ORNL

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has begun the final phase of a three-year Dynamic Building Envelope Research project. The program, which began in 2009, is aimed at evaluating the future needs of advanced metal roof and wall assemblies. In the final phase of the project, the synergies between various components of metal roof assemblies will be evaluated for their ability to improve energy efficiency. Components in the roof assemblies include insulation, radiant barriers, phase change materials, and above sheathing ventilation. In addition, the current research phase that has begun evaluates the interaction of cool metal roofing and Si crystalline photovoltaic modules in both steep slope and low slope orientations.

Full size roof mock ups are installed on the Envelope Systems Research Apparatus (ESRA) and the Roof Thermal Research Apparatus (RTRA) in the Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, TN. The multi-year research project is supported by the Glenview, IL-based MCA, which is the largest North American trade association representing metal building component manufacturers and material suppliers.

“This phase of the research will help us understand more impacts from the interaction between the various components of a roof assembly,” said Scott Kriner, MCA’s technical director. “Many of the experiments are designed to demonstrate how certain components can store heat or dissipate heat beneath the roof surface and minimize heat gain into the building space below the roof. Results from this final phase will allow us to optimize the design of a metal roof assembly to provide the most energy efficiency in a given climate.”

Kaushik Biswas, Ph.D., research and development associate at ORNL said, “Apart from demonstrating the reduction in through-the-roof heat gain/loss compared to commonly used shingle roofs, the data generated from these experimental roofs are invaluable from a modeling perspective. Validated simulation models can estimate the actual energy savings from each technology component for different climate zones and provide recommendations for optimum roof design.”

One of the missions of the ORNL Buildings Technology Research Center is to work with private industry to accelerate market penetration of the most promising energy efficient opaque building roof and wall technologies. MCA, ORNL, and several suppliers collaborated to install the experimental attic roofs on the ORNL campus. Aside from MCA member participation, other suppliers of materials included CertainTeed, a manufacturer of thermal insulation and building envelope materials, and Phase Change Energy Solutions, a manufacturer of bio-based phase change materials (PCMs).

DOE Updates High-Efficiency Parking Structure Lighting Specification

Dept. of EnergyA CBEA Project Team has updated the High-Efficiency Parking Structure Lighting Specification. First released in 2009, version 1.1, released on February 15, 2012, has updates related to IES TM-21 and anticipated RP-20 requirements. In addition to focusing on the efficiency of each of these technologies, the Project Team investigated how the role of controls and the specific use of each technology can lead to even greater energy savings. The maximum allowed installed power density within the specification is 40% below ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1-2007. Additional energy savings are possible from the use of lighting controls and daylighting.

Questions on this specification should be sent to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) at CBEA@pnnl.gov.

DOE guide can help you save energy

Department of EnergyThe U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released the third installment in a series of four 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs). This latest guide will help architects, engineers, and contractors design and build highly efficient retail buildings, helping to save energy and cut store operational costs. The 50% AEDG series provides a practical approach for designers and builders of retail stores, and other major commercial building types, to achieve 50% energy savings compared to the building energy code used in many parts of the nation. These commercial building guides support President Obama’s goal to reduce energy use in commercial buildings 20% by 2020. The Advanced Energy Design Guide for 50% energy savings in retail buildings is now available for download.

Beyond helping builders achieve efficiency exceeding the current energy code, the AEDGs also provide climate-specific recommendations to incorporate today’s off-the-shelf energy efficient building products. These recommendations help designers and builders choose advanced building assemblies, highly efficient heating and cooling systems, and incorporate other energy-saving measures such as daylighting and associated control systems. Additionally, efficiency measures found in the guides can be used in the development of future commercial building energy codes.

The 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide series is being developed through a partnership with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA). The Retail Buildings guide is the third installment in the 50% series, and follows the guides for small and medium office buildings and K-12 schools released in 2011. The final 50% savings guide for major commercial building types—large hospitals—is also in progress.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the economy, protect the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign oil. Learn more about EERE’s support of building technologies. Additional information on DOE’s efforts to support the development and adoption of building energy codes can be found on the Energy Codes website.