BusinessBrief.com » Energy ‘savers’ that waste money

Energy ‘savers’ that waste money

December 20, 2012 by Jim Giuliano
Posted in: Facility Management, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Operations


Your workplace gone “green” and been LEED-certified? That doesn’t mean you’re energy-efficient.

That’s why some federal agencies and the military aren’t bothering with LEED certification  (LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is a voluntary program that provides third-party verification of green buildings).

Consulting engineer Larry Spielvogel explained why at the Greater Philadelphia Building & Facility Management Show.

LEED approval requires meeting two ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards – 90.1 (energy efficiency) and 62.1 (ventilation).

The big problem, according to Spielvogel: Heating, cooling and ventilation calculations are the same whether your facility is located in Miami or Minneapolis, Chicago or Houston.

And envelope-efficiency is the same whether you’re a hotel that’s always occupied, or a storage facility with varying occupancy rates.

Even the HVAC experts paid big

Spielvogel cites numerous facilities that spent big bucks on upgrades because energy usage was too high.

His favorite example is  ASHRAE’s own office building.

During construction, ASHRAE learned its building would exceed energy-usage projections based on design and occupancy. So it issued a stop-work order and change orders, pushing the project up $250,000 – $8 more per square foot.

‘Show me the data!’

Facility managers know all buildings are different. What works for one may not be best for another.

Spielvogel recommends asking builders who tout the energy savings of their facilities a simple question:

“Show me your metered data.”

Proving his point, Spielvogel says the Department of Energy couldn’t give him metered data showing energy savings in its facilities.

Bottom line: A LEED rating is no guarantee of low energy costs.

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