- Regenerative Buildings
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For many of our new building projects, Owners ask about the expected energy costs of the proposed building so that they can financially plan for those costs. Benchmarking against the industry averages is a good first step. The table below, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), outlines the expected energy costs for code-compliant buildings of various occupancy types.
To prevent the unintended utilization of extension cords and to eliminate daisy-chains of “power strips”, the 2017 version of the National Electrical Code (NEC) now provides guidelines for locations and quantities of receptacles provided in meeting rooms. Historically, the NEC has not dictated receptacle layouts for individual space types in non-residential construction.
Per the NEC, meeting rooms are typically designed or intended for the gathering of seated occupants for such purposes as conferences, deliberations, or similar purposes, where portable electronic equipment is likely to be used. The infographic below helps explain the receptacle and floor box layout process, but Article 210-71 in the 2017 NEC outlines the actual requirements.
Technological advancements in the building design and construction industry are allowing the performance envelope to be pushed from all directions. Reducing energy usage, improving occupant comfort, optimizing lighting levels, and integrating systems to simplify operation and maintenance practices are all examples of issues that require close scrutiny and expertise when designing high performance buildings. To achieve success with such projects, high performance buildings require a more collaborative approach to design and construction. In order to produce and sustain the performance levels of these types of facilities, owners are actively involved during the design process and have upgraded their approach to operations and maintenance. more
Two years ago, I was invited to visit the Atlanta corporate campus of Assurant, Inc. to discuss their Energy Star score – it was too low and they wanted to do something about it. The twelve story office building was burdened by a chiller plant that was all original construction. Chillers, pumps, and cooling towers were well-maintained, but after more than 27 years of service, they were showing their age and not performing at the level they once did. This initial meeting unofficially began design efforts that have resulted in the recent completion of a $5.7 million upgrade to the HVAC and Electrical systems, a construction project that already has proven itself with lower electrical bills that bring a smile to Tony Ring, Manager of Maintenance Operations for Assurant. more
In simplest terms, Net Zero Energy (NZE) buildings produce as much energy as they consume. However, it isn’t enough to design and build a net zero energy building. Long term success is based on the interdependence and collaboration between design, construction, operations and occupant behavior. more
Many groups in the facilities industry are becoming aware of the greatest potential of the commissioning revolution—retrocommissioning. Retrocommissioning is the systematic process by which owners ensure that their buildings and their systems are optimized to perform interactively to meet the current operational needs as closely as possible. This process may include remedial design and construction to accomplish this goal. more
In its simplest sense, commissioning verifies that systems operate in a manner consistent with construction or procurement documents. This includes identifying and labeling devices, cabling and equipment; cleaning; preparing O&M documentation; testing and adjusting; and training personnel more
Despite the recent scrutiny and criticism of primary-secondary chilled water pumping systems, many owners still decide these systems are appropriate for their facility. Factors such as simplicity, familiarity, and experience are considered, in some cases, to have benefits to the owner that overshadow efficiency and first costs. Primary-Secondary pumping is not appropriate for all projects, but when the decision has been made to use it, properly addressing technical aspects of such designs and adequately addressing facility users’ needs significantly contributes to the project’s success. This article explores key issues to consider when designing a primary-secondary chilled water plant. more