ATLANTA — A building energy labeling program that allows the industry to zero in on opportunities to lower building operating cost and make informed decisions to increase value has been expanded to include an “As Designed” label.

The program now offers two labels in one: an as designed label that rates the building’s potential energy use under standardized conditions — independent of the building’s occupancy and usage — and an “In Operation” label that rates the building’s actual measured energy use as influenced by the building’s occupancy and usage.

A building’s utility costs are some of the largest, yet most controllable, operating expenses; therefore, managing a building’s energy efficiency is an integral part of the building’s operational and financial performance.

As the marketplace, the built environment industry, and the government look at reducing energy use and saving money, the Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) is an easily understood, yet technically sound tool for understanding a building’s energy use and identifying opportunities to reduce that use as needed. ASHRAE is the developer of bEQ.

“Owners, tenants, potential owners and tenants, and building managers need to have the information necessary to make informed decisions about the energy use of the existing buildings where we live, work, and play,” said Amy Musser, Ph.D., P.E., a consulting engineer in Ashville, N.C., and volunteer chair of the bEQ committee.

The as designed label is based on the results of an energy model with standardized inputs as compared to a baseline median EUI. The rating is based on simulated energy use independent of operational and occupancy variables. Since the label compares a building under a standardized set of operating assumptions, it is a useful tool for tenants who want to compare different buildings without including effects of the current occupants, as well as for operators to know whether they are achieving the full designed potential for a particular building. To receive an as designed rating, a standardized energy model must be performed by an ASHRAE-certified building energy modeling professional (BEMP).

The rating focuses on the building’s actual energy use for the preceding 12-18 months and is based on actual operating data. This helps building owners and operators see how their building’s energy usage compares to the energy usage of a median baseline building and highlights their building’s potential for energy performance improvement.

Buildings that participate in the program will receive a displayable label or plaque with an easily understood rating scale to allow a comparison of the building’s energy use with similar buildings, as well as demonstrate the building owner’s commitment to energy efficiency. Buildings can be labeled using both labels or just one.

Documentation accompanying the label and certificate provides the background information useful for engineers, architects, and technically savvy building owners or prospective owners in determining the current state of the building and opportunities for improving its energy use.

Publication date: 6/10/2013 

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