Not Accepting Poor Performance

It’s no secret that most commercial buildings perform poorly in terms of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. The question is, why do we put up with it? As author Auden Schendler puts it in this post for Climate Progress it’s because “broken is normal” when it comes to the state of most commercial buildings. As he puts it “almost no buildings mechanical system operate as they’re supposed to. But nobody knows. Nobody checks. And life goes on”.Schendler’s correct that energy use monitoring and building commissioning are some of the best fixes around for this “broken state.” Both of these solutions are being addressed by NBI as major elements to reduce the amount of energy used and greenhouse gas emissions produced by commercial buildings. Staff at NBI have been working on Measured Performance as a way to provide the analysis that’s needed to ensure that buildings are performing as efficiently as possible. This includes work on the development of better Benchmarking and Feedback tools.NBI is also active in the code world and believes that some form of commissioning should be required by code. The recently approved commercial section of the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code includes new Testing and Verification requirements for HVAC systems and Lighting Controls that will help ensure that broken systems are identified and addressed before the building begins regular operation.