HVAC Breaking News

Nov. 7, 2007: Report Says Majority of Commercial Buildings Fail to Meet Standards

PORTLAND, Ore. - Data in the newly released AirAdvice State of Building Performance Report 2007 indicates that more than nine out of 10 commercial buildings fail to meet fundamental standards for acceptable comfort and energy efficiency. According to AirAdvice, this and other key findings in the report suggest significant opportunities to reduce energy and operating costs as well as to improve building system performance and occupant satisfaction.

Commercial building assessments performed across North America show that:

• Most buildings suffer from two or more basic comfort or energy efficiency flaws.

• Conditions that are likely to generate comfort complaints exist in over 75 percent of buildings surveyed.

• Over-ventilation is the most common cause of excessive HVAC-related energy use.

The AirAdvice State of Building Performance Report 2007 combines the latest industry findings with the AirAdvice Indoor Environment and Building Performance Database (IEBPD), a collection of data from over 300 customized commercial building assessments conducted since June 2006 and over 3,700 individual indoor environment analyses conducted in cooperation with over 1,500 HVAC professionals since March 2004.

Overall, 96 percent of buildings analyzed failed to meet industry guidelines in at least one of five fundamental elements of building comfort and energy efficiency: temperatures that are too warm, too cool, fluctuate excessively, fail to match the setpoint, and evidence of over-ventilation.

“In addition to quantifying the prevalence and nature of commercial building performance issues, the AirAdvice State of Building Performance Report 2007 summarizes the significant economic costs of these issues,” said Gary Frayn, AirAdvice vice president of commercial development. “This report delivers critical information and insight to building owners, operations and facilities managers, as well as HVAC industry professionals, such that performance issues in commercial buildings can be effectively addressed and resolved, creating both new business opportunities within the industry as well as improved performance outcomes.”

The report provides building performance professionals with information to address today’s most common building performance issues: comfort complaints and occupant/employee satisfaction, high energy costs, and sustainability issues. For example, the report findings show that:

• Over 80 percent of buildings surveyed showed evidence of over-ventilation. Improving ventilation control offers a significant potential for energy savings, up to 40 percent in many cases.

• Less than half of buildings surveyed maintained temperatures within 2°F of the specified set point. One in five buildings surveyed experienced actual temperatures that were more than 5° from the specified set point. There is a direct relationship to temperature variation and comfort complaints. Based on American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) comfort models, the predicted rate of dissatisfaction is as high as 30 percent when the temperature swings are greater than 5°, resulting in productivity loss.

• Nearly one-quarter of buildings surveyed were found to have inefficient temperature control, with the temperature in the space significantly higher than the heating set point or lower than the cooling set point. The potential exists for energy savings of up to 10 percent if more precise temperature control at the specified set point could be achieved.

The report also summarizes data and insight from several industry studies, providing information about building owners’ perspectives on energy savings, comfort, and energy performance of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)®-certified projects, and quantitative data detailing the positive impact on productivity from improved thermal comfort.

The full AirAdvice State of Building Performance Report 2007 is available for download at www.airadvice.com/commercial/report-form.php. For additional commercial building performance information and resources, visit www.airadvice.com.

Publication date: 11/05/2007

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