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In trying to help their buildings meet designed performance standards, facility managers must also focus on the internal barriers to behavior change and study their buildings.
Do some homework in your facilities. Determine how much money is being wasted keeping computers and lights on after hours and in unused areas. Identify how much energy is consumed keeping coffeemakers and other personal appliances in a standby mode. Having data to back up your behavioral prompts not only creates a sense of urgency and importance, it also helps benchmark and communicate future results. Inform occupants about tips and best practices — like closing windows and doors while conditioned air is cooling the facility — so they can take steps to prevent energy waste.
If changing behavior was easy, everyone would act exactly how they know they should. But that simply isn't the case. The barriers to changing behavior aren't unique to energy reduction — they're part of the complexity of human behavior. People continue to speed, accelerate too quickly, and drive their cars how they want to and not how they're designed, just as they continue to waste energy.
To meet your energy reduction goals you must implement creative, approachable ways to overcome your organization's barriers to change. Identify desired behaviors and eliminate barriers that impede occupants' adoption of those behaviors. Improving energy habits is like adding an insurance policy to your facility investments. Engaged occupants, along with efficient systems and effective operators, are the central pillars to maximizing efficiency and shrinking utility budgets. If you're unsure where to start, seek help from behavior-based energy consultants who are experts in driving low-cost energy-saving initiatives.
When your occupants have adopted habits that help rather than hinder your energy efficiency goals, you can maximize and sustain facility performance.
Ashley Ruiz is a program manager for McKinstry's powerED program, a behavior-focused energy awareness and operational efficiency program built on the philosophy that empowering and educating building occupants and operators is the most efficient way to save energy and cut waste.
Jesse Sycuro, P.E., CEM, LEED AP, is the operations manager for McKinstry's energy management group. Sycuro is responsible for consulting, designing, and implementing energy management solutions for clients across North America. He has experience in energy, building performance optimization, commissioning, and building technologies.
Data and standards in ASHRAE Standard 169, Climatic Data for Building Design Standards, have been updated to reflect the result of ASHRAE Research Project 1453, "Updating the ASHRAE Climatic Data for Design and Standards." Updates include an additional "Extremely Hot" Climate Zone 0 with humid (0A) and dry (0B) zones added, and the standard now includes climatic data for 5,564 locations throughout the world.
Standard 169 serves as a comprehensive source of climate data for those involved in building design, and provides a variety of climatic information for designing, planning, and sizing building energy systems and equipment. The standard also touches on dry-bulb, dew-point, and wet-bulb temperatures; enthalpy; humidity ratio; wind conditions; solar irradiation; latitude; longitude; and elevation for locations worldwide.
Focus on Barriers to Change and Study Your Buildings