Tips for Increasing Performance and Cutting Operating Costs
According to the National Institute of Building Sciences (“About the Council,” 2016) a high performance building is qualified as a building that integrates energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupant productivity. High performance buildings (HPB’s) can be anything from a 1-story elementary school to a high-tech college laboratory to a commercial office complex. So how does an owner achieve high performance building status and reduce operating cost?
Many will argue that it first begins with a focus on energy savings through operating building systems efficiently. By using MEP engineering services, owners can explore many methods of cutting costs and energy usage that are often project specific for their HPB. However, we’ve put together a suggested list of the top 3 most important ways to design and implement a high-performance building without the added sticker shock.
Commissioning your building can reduce operation, maintenance, and equipment replacement costs. Building systems and equipment that have been commissioned retain their value longer, and if well-maintained, they are worth more to investors than noncommissioned buildings. Ultimately, commissioning provides a systematic approach to looking at your whole building’s potential performance, and often reveals a multitude of possible energy-related problems. Plus a commissioned building has significantly reduced operational and energy costs, often 8-20% below the costs of operating a comparable non-commissioned building.
Energy modeling when considering building additions, renovations or new building construction, can guide building owners toward a more cost effective HVAC solution that provides the same level of comfort and lower operating costs. Life cycle cost analysis can estimate the total cost of facility ownership, including maintenance and energy costs, which can assist in choosing the right systems.
The more common Building Management Systems are now being replaced by cloud-based Building Management System Analytics software, which brings with it diagnostic capabilities that can ultimately save time and money for facility staff, while providing optimal occupant comfort to end users. The programs were developed in consideration of non-technical staff, in order to provide information in an easier to follow format and to provide faster system training capabilities. Unlike its predecessor, building analytics not only identifies problem areas, but also suggests actions for quickly remedying the problems. When properly programmed and integrated with existing systems, an owner can gain the most benefit from the advanced system’s software.
All of these suggestions will help your new or existing facility on its way to becoming a high performance building and will ultimately save you time and money in operational costs, all while making the continued comfort and satisfaction of your tenants a top priority.