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Dec. 8, 2009: Publication Makes Case for Improving Efficiency in Existing Buildings

December 8, 2009
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ATLANTA - Because owners and managers of existing buildings need to understand the economic benefits of improving systems and operations in their facilities, a new publication provides guidance for the business case for pursuing improved energy efficiency, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Energy Efficiency Guide for Existing Commercial Buildings: The Business Case for Building Owners and Managers provides the rationale for making economic decisions related to improving and sustaining energy efficiency in existing buildings. Approximately 86 percent of U.S. annual building construction expenditures relate to renovation of existing buildings vs. new construction, said ASHRAE.

“Our goal is to enable business owners to break down the ‘mystery’ of energy conservation opportunities into business-based scenarios that are both practical and cost-justifiable,” said George Jackins, who chaired the committee overseeing the book. “To achieve true sustainability in the building industry, we must help owners learn that investing in energy efficiency translates into a high rate of return with a low associated risk. Owners and managers typically view buildings in terms of short-term economics. We must make the transition from best value vs. lowest first cost of buildings.”

Specifically, the guide is said to provide straightforward applications that could produce energy savings from 10 to 15 percent to a more aggressive approach that could save 30 percent or more.

The book is a collaboration between ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the U.S. General Services Administration, and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Important tips that owners and managers need to know to make their buildings energy efficient are:

• Know your current energy utilization index (EUI) (kBTU/SF-year).

• Establish a target EUI and an initial budget estimate for achieving this goal.

• Conduct an internal energy study/audit (using ASHRAE’s Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits as a basis) or have the facility retro-commissioned by a certified retro-commissioning firm. This activity may result in a modification to the original estimated budget amount.

• Identify energy efficiency measures with attractive rates of return on energy retrofit or renovation investments.

• Implement the recommended energy conservation measures that will get the facility to the desired goal with the stipulated budget.

• Commission the energy conservation measures by a certified commissioning firm. This process should include training of facility personnel on properly operating and maintaining equipment and systems.

The book is the first of three planned guides on energy efficiency. The second will be aimed at providing technical guidance in undertaking existing building renovation programs. The third will provide operation and maintenance guidance to help sustain the energy efficiency.

The cost of Energy Efficiency Guide for Existing Commercial Buildings: The Business Case for Building Owners and Managers is $69 ($59, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Service at 800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 404-321-5478, or visit www.ashrae.org/energyguide.

Publication date: 12/07/2009

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