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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.

Justification for Building Automation and Energy Retrofits Even for New Buildings

For many of those who own, lease, manage or operate buildings built after 2000, the idea of spending on retrofitting and energy-saving upgrades seems an outlandish idea:  Your investment hasn’t turned to profit, and upgrading equipment that is relatively new doesn’t seem an intuitive action to take.

However, aninvestment in optimizing energy performance today will increase the profits of your investment sooner, and for longer.  Investing early in retrofitting your building provides enough financial savings to justify the spending; oftentimes profit occurs within the first year.

In order to calculate expenses and potential profits that may arise by a retrofit, one must begin benchmarking the energy efficiency and performance of a building.  Add up the total dollar amount of your building’s energy bills for the past 12 months, then divide that number by the square footage of the building.

On average, the cost for most offices per square foot is $1.25.  If your numbers come out to an amount closer to or higher than $2 per square foot, it’s time to consider means by which you can increase your building’s energy efficiency.

Additional benchmarking tools are available at the Energy Star website.  This site allows you to input relevant data related to your energy consumption, then gives you a score  If your building scores above 75, it is eligible to become rated for the Energy Star.  A score below 50 indicates there is some work to be done in order to make your building more energy efficient.

If your building scores 50 or lower, the next step to take is to determine the cause of such high levels of energy consumption.  The key to reducing cost of energy is to use less, and with integrated building solutions, an automated system can be put into place to control different areas of your building as they are used, and these systems will turn off energy wasting devices such as lights and HVAC when they don’t need to be running.

Once a building automation system has been implemented, the most important thing to do is have competent building maintenance staff trained to use the automation system to your building’s advantages.

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.

Children’s Hospital Becomes first LEED Certified Children’s Hospital in the World

The Dell Children’s Hospital is to become the first LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Platinum Certified Hospital in the world.  Building automation strategies will be brought into the facility, which creates energy optimization and air quality points.

Located in central Texas, Dell Children’s medical Center is being granted this certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  This hospital works closely with the Seton family of Hospitals.  A building automation system is being installed, and the technology, implementation and project management skills are on hand in order for a structure to achieve a number of points necessary in order to be granted the unprecedented LEED Platinum Certification status.

A difficult-to-meet standard, LEED certification status is something many buildings strive for. However, hospitals face an enormous challenge due to the tremendous amount of energy consumption necessary to operate 24-hours a day.  Hospitals comprise nearly 4% of the world’s building stock, and consume 8% of the energy.

The majority of LEED certified buildings include commercial office structures, where energy management is achievable because occupants use the building and energy for a limited number of hours, so they are less likely to face regulation penalties or fines if, for instance, indoor air quality slips below the required levels.

There are a number of factors that make the achievement of LEED certification a difficult task for hospitals.  They include strict health regulatory codes, around-the-clock occupancy and patient care requirements.  Dell Children’s Hospital’s achievement becomes all the more significant because of this.

Six key LEED categories considered when Dell was in the process of considering aiming for the certification include water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor air quality, sustainable site development, and Innovation & design.

LEED has a maximum of 69 total points that can be obtained in the certification process, and Dell Children’s Hospital achieved 54 points in order to win LEED Platinum Certification.

One of the most critical considerations for Dell’s LEED designation was to attain points in the areas of Energy & Atmosphere, and Indoor Environmental Quality.  The engineering, integration adn implementation of a building automation system was a vital part of the process, helping achieve two of three LEED prerequisites in Energy & Atmosphere.

The main overall goal was optimizing energy performance. Building control and building automation are important contributors to Indoor Air quality, as building automation helps control the timing and temperature of air conditioning to different areas of the building.

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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