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Energy Retrofits and Building Automation Save the Life and Expenses of a Building

The environmental impact buildings have on the United States is at alarming levels — accounting for 40% of the nation’s energy usage and an equal percentage of carbon output, and adding to that water consumption, waste management and vehicle transportation for waste management as well as employees of the building, it is clear change is necessary.

Building automation is the leading solution towards streamlining building energy management.   Although LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a goal for many new buildings, oftentimes the certification covers only the construction and design process.  It’s simple when it’s a project being worked on externally by a team. But once the building is occupied and in use, oftentimes the building maintenance team poorly manages lighting control, elevator access control, heating / ventilation and air conditioning, the building’s efficiency potential is not met, and the building uses an unnecessary amount of energy.

Not only should the focus be on constructing a sustainable Building Solution, but also on retrofitting old buildings to also be greener and more energy efficient.  By conserving water and utilizing renewable energy, as well as implementing building automation systems, even older buildings can benefit from energy retrofittings.

Most building occupants applaud and welcome the idea of greening a building, but when it comes to behavioral change for the individual, many fail to change their ways, keeping the greening process from reaching its potential. Simple habit changes such as manually turning lights on after a timer has shut them off, or returning cutlery and dishes to the dishwasher instead of tossing out disposable plasticware can be unwelcomed by employees.

Old buildings represent only 4% of LEED-certified square footage, but account for a fifth of LEED registered square feet.  Making existing buildings greener poses a number of challenges, as it is a multi-faceted project to attack and integrate building systems.  The coordination of a number of priorities is necessary, and oftentimes, they are clashing. For instance, meeting the requirements of energy efficiency with heating and air conditioning, while meeting the the comfort needs of occupants.  Oftentimes instead of the greening falling under one large project, it is broken into conflicting pieces where different departments overlook a specific aspect of the building while it clashes with the energy needs of another aspect.

Above all other challenges, the budget for going green is the most difficult for building owners and building management to monitor and control.  Most organizations have a long list of budget priorities and constraints, with an aim to increase their bottom line as much as possible.  While going green does provide an increased return on investment, it takes some time to create and see the changes.

Building Automation, Energy Retrofits Among Rising Energy Management and Energy Efficient Trends

With a number of green energy management trends becoming the rule rather than the exception, building automation in Florida and energy retrofitting for buildings around the nation is widely popularized.  The movement towards sustainable buildings is solidifying, and there is a lot to hope for and look forward to in the upcoming year.

Congress has long been discussing raising standards of current building and energy codes.  By creating nation-wide universal standards, companies providing products or services in the green energy market or that aid in retrofitting buildings and creating energy-efficient solutions will have a firmer grip on the standards necessary for these projects.

America’s buildings account for 40% of the nation’s energy consumption. Without integrated systems, these structures are wasting energy through heating, air conditioning, poor insulation, as well as a lack of lighting control and elevator access controlSystem integration and building automation are just the beginning of creating energy-efficient buildings. Additionally, with improved insulation and replacing old heating and cooling systems, these changes pay for themselves in time, as energy bills face reduction with newer and more energy-efficient systems.  With so much talk in Washington in regards to new jobs being developed for these projects, the green energy movement is gaining momentum.

Building energy retrofits optimize energy performance as well as building maintenance in regards to heating and cooling.  Retrofits lead to energy cost reductions as high as 30%.  Commercial buildings that are older than five years typically benefit from retrofits, seeing a return on investment and reduction in energy costs in under five years. The market for building retrofits is expected to face growth from under $4 billion in 2009 to a potential $15 billion in 5 years.

Advanced Control Corporation provides a number of energy-efficient solutions from building automation and energy management to building access control and security measures such as CCTV Solutions. Our experience and continuing work in building automation solutions gives us the skill set necessary to produce optimal results for every project.

Energy Efficient Grants and Building Automation Provide Hope for Cities with Poor Energy Management

Urban cities with a high concentration of renting tenants tend to face a number of energy management and building energy efficiency problems. One such town plans to make a stronger move towards building automation and energy efficiency upgrades that not only decrease the amount of energy wasted, but helps lower the energy bills of tenants. Boston, Massachusetts is hoping to put into place a city-wide program benefitting from federal funds to provide incentives that encourage landlords to invest in retrofitting their buildings and focusing more on energy management.

Governor Deval L. Patrick and his administration is seeking to upgrade energy efficiency practices for entire neighborhoods throughout Massachusetts through an application for a federal stimulus grant in the amount of $60 million. Boston plans to target a specific high-rental area that could potentially face energy bill savings of $8.6 million within 5 years of beginning the program.

Massachusetts plans to put $45 million toward energy-efficient retrofits throughout the state, and $15 million toward an energy retrofit program in Boston’s Blue Hill Avenue corridor, an area with a high amount of rental properties.  The administration estimates energy upgrades would produce over $41 million in energy bill savings by the end of the project’s third year.  Within the three-year period, the projects is estimated to create or retain nearly 5,000 green economy jobs throughout the state, including HVAC vendors and installers, weatherization contractors,energy assessors, and project support employees.

Over the next three month, the United States Department of Energy is reported to be rewarding funds for 20 projects costing anywhere from $5 million to $75 million to help perpetuate energy efficiency upgrades throughout the nation, and Massachusetts hopes to be among recipients.

Advanced Control Corporation offers a large selection of environmentally-sound, energy-efficient building solutions for building automation, energy management, access control and CCTV Security Solutions. Our experience in building automation solutions and security  automation solutions give us the skill set necessary to produce optimal results every time for our clientele.

Energy Experts say the key to greener buildings is Systems Integration and Building Automation

Industry experts are increasingly recommending that officials must integrate systems that control daily operations of buildings into an enterprise network for improved communications and efficiency between and amongst the devices.  By doing so, crucial improvements in energy management and energy efficiency will occur, and buildings will perform better.

By using system integration, connecting buildings will provide more intelligent and green buildings for both new structures designed with building automation solutions, and older ones that undergo energy retrofits.

Those who attended the “Designing Government Buildings for the 21st Century” event in Washington D.C. took away some worthwhile information.  Buildings, which account for about 40% of energy consumption in the United States, are currently performing in counterintuitive ways, wasting energy through lighting, HVAC, lack of elevator access control and more.  These systems remain disconnected from one another, and more often than not are pulling energy at times when there is no need for it.

Currently the federal government is mandating a ZeroNet Building Solution, setting goals for federal building management to reduct carbon emissions to zero over the next 20 years.  The Obama administration is focusing on the environment, looking to achieve energy efficiency through integrating building systems.

By focusing on technology to automate buildings as well as monitor and control building control systems, building management can make buildings perform smarter and greener.  Through system networks, systems can be combined into a set that connects and automates a number of variables within a building, including communications, computing, power, control and closed circuit television (CCTV) security systems.

Whether a building is undergoing retrofits, or is being newly constructed, building managers who are integrating systems or choosing building automation are adding at least six different server devices that run and manage HVAC, lighting control, power, security, and elevators, and more often than not these systems do not communicate with each other.

Building energy management and IT must integrate systems by aligning the systems through their logical and physical networks.  Emerging technology such as power-over-Ethernet is a vital means of distributing local electricity to necessary devices or areas.  By converging systems, buildings run more efficiently and the systems communication improves.

LEED Certification Steps up Game With Regular Audits of Green Buildings and Building Automation

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program is constantly evolving, and a desirable LEED certification doesn’t necessarily mean a structure and its operations is the same green project the LEED organization endorses.

LEED-Certified buildings are expected not only to gain certification for their building automation projects, but to continue maintaining their low environmental impact once the building is occupied and used for its intended purposes. 

The U.S. Green Building Council sponsors the LEED certification, but realized a significant number of buildings certified by LEED for Earth-friendly design and construction have turned out to have a higher carbon footprint than intended once they’re up and running.

As a result, USGBC is launching an initiative to ensure the LEED certified buildings are performing up to the expectations and regulations of LEED standards.  Ongoing LEED building energy performance audits will be performed, and standards will be adjusted while the program assists LEED-certified structures to stay within limits.

Interest in how a building automation system performs once it’s functioning instead of a focus on how it is expected to perform based on construction and design is an important investment.  Results from a 2008 study funded by Green Building Council and the U.S. Environmental Protection agency and performed by New Buildings Institute found that a quarter of LEED buildings surveyed were consuming more energy than similar non-LEED-certified buildings. 

A sharper focus on optimizing energy performance and keeping an eye on building performance came about for the Green Building Council when it announced in June that it would require regular submissions of energy and water consumption information from building management representatives of LEED certified structures.

 To  help the initiative, GBC is providing complimentary analytical services of the information they receive from building managers to help building owners increase the building energy optimization.

Advanced Control Corporation offers an array of environmentally sound solutions for building automation, energy management, access control and CCTV Solutions. Our experience and continuing work in building automation solutions and security automation solutions give us the skill set necessary to produce optimal results every time for our clientele.

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