Equipment vs. Operations: Greatest Opportunity for Energy Efficiency
Are there greater opportunities for efficiency in building equipment or operations? How do you balance expending resources between the two to maximize efficiency?
I used to work for a municipality, so I've seen a wide range of both building equipment and building operation practices. This has ranged from brand-new, state-of-the-art equipment to utilizing equipment that is 30 plus years old (and worse). And the same can be said for building operating practices. Some buildings had control systems advanced enough to be operated remotely, while others were operated by nothing more than "feel." And while I'd like to think that my experience was unique, I have the feeling that it wasn't.
Every building is different and you have to first have an understanding of how the building is being operated. This is going to be a combination of equipment and operational practices. Just as you have a speedometer and an owner's manual for your car, you should also have metering data and an operations manual specific to your building. Until you have both of these items in place, you won't be able to determine what the balance between equipment and operations are — and thus where best to prioritize and expend resources.
Michael Kawecki is the founder and owner of Axiom Sustainable Consulting. He has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2003, and currently holds the LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, and O+M Credentials. He is one of the founding members of the North Texas Chapter of the USGBC and served as the Chair in 2007. He was also the 2008 Chair of the South Central Regional Council of the USGBC, and became USGBC Faculty in 2011.