Building operations performance measurements assess the energy consumption of a home or business, and how efficiently that energy is utilized. In the last several years, commercial facility owners as well as residential homeowners have exhibited increased regard for the energy efficiency of their premises.
Common sense indicates that less is better when it comes to energy consumption. In a climate of economic upheaval and political unrest, the world has come to believe that limited resources such as oil and water are, in fact, limited. But, aside from political or ethical considerations, the global population has also realized and understood one simple equation: less energy use = lower utility bills.
One typical and formal way to examine the building operations performance of a commercial facility, for example, is to conduct a commercial energy audit to determine a facility’s sustainability. The results of the inspection, which among other things evaluates the facility’s output of heat load and carbon dioxide emissions, are based on the professional evaluation of the facility’s system operations. Water, plumbing, electric and gas systems all are examined and, if necessary, subject to replacement or overhaul. In addition, adjustments in lighting and air conditioner use, for example, may yield positive results in terms of energy conservation and potentially considerable utility cost savings, as well as environmental impact.
A driving force in the advancement of “Green Building Operation and Maintenance” is the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). According to the organization, LEED helps “deliver energy and water efficient, healthy, environmentally-friendly cost saving buildings, homes and communities.” LEED maintains that flaws in design, construction and operations are responsible for the more than 30 percent of energy facilities consumed in the United States annually, along with the emission of about a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. In addition, facilities consume more than 60 percent of the electricity used in the United States, according to the organization. LEED officials say assessments of building operations performance and the subsequent implementation of remedial measures are critical to stem energy waste and reduce its negative impact on the environment.
The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have designed a national Energy Performance Rating system (EPR) in an effort to measure and compare building operations performance in terms of energy efficiency. Facilities that rank within the top 25 percent of sustainability among peers are recognized with the Energy Star designation as an indicator of their excellence. Studies have shown that Energy Star facilities not only use approximately 40 percent less energy than the average facility, they also are about 40 percent less cost intensive.
Innovations in architectural design and materials, as well as the implementation of ever-advancing technologies, have facilitated the trend to go green in new construction. In addition, more and more existing facilities undergo a building operations performance evaluation to drive the optimization of energy use in an effort to save both resources and money.
The first step to increasing an existing facility’s energy efficiency is to conduct a professional commercial energy audit. Companies like Soluxe Energy Solutions are ready to help with the process, readying businesses for a greener, more cost-effective tomorrow.