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Untapped Potential for Energy Efficiency
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Energy Efficiency Projects With New LEED On The HorizonPt. 2: Equipment vs. Operations: Greatest Opportunity for Energy EfficiencyPt. 3: Making A Pitch For Energy Efficiency SpendingPt. 4: Best No- and Low-Cost Energy Efficiency ProjectsPt. 5: This Page
What area offers the most untapped potential for increased efficiency?
While it may sound counterintuitive, I think the most untapped area for potential is not directly an operations item but instead occupant awareness and engagement. Building operations is often a behind-the-scenes item which when performed correctly is not noticed at all. And because of that, priority can often be difficult.
So talk with your tenants and occupants. Do they understand the importance (and more importantly ease) of purchasing equipment that is Energy Star certified? And are those energy savings features actually being utilized? And are they aware of simple practices, like turning out the lights in unoccupied spaces. Most people innately want to do good, and if given the proper information and ability to effect incremental change, will be willing to do so. And in the process they become your champions.
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.