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IN THIS ISSUE: Alternative Energy Sources for Commercial Buildings


Summer 2012 TM

The Nation’s First LEED for Schools Gold Rating 8 Development and Management Data Centers

Requires Careful Planning

12 Where Are We Headed? LEED



Management Commits to Energy Efficiency

Department - Author

Contents Colorado


Summer 2012 TM

Data Centers Colorado Springs Offers Advantages to Data Center Developments


Office Facilities


Educational Facilities

Management at 1670 Broadway Commits to Energ y Efficiency

Bethke Elementar y Achieves Nation’s First LEED for Schools Gold Rating

Departments LEED 2012


Where Are We Headed?

Photo courtesy of Shaffer · Baucom Engineering & Consulting

About The Cover A new elementary school’s building automation system uses submeters to track electrical consumption and demand, a key measurement required by high-performance building assessment programs like the USGBC’s LEED and GBI’s Green Globes rating systems. Read more about it beginning on Page 20.

Management Systems 16 Bridging the Gap in Energy System Displays

Energy Alternatives 18 Alternative Energy Sources for Commercial Buildings


Building owners and property managers have been charged with an outstanding assignment. As stewards of commercial buildings (the largest energy users in the country), they are responsible for minimizing the significant impact these structures have on our environment. Nearly $200 billion is spent annually on energy used to operate commercial buildings in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Approximately 30 percent of that energy is wasted. Commercial building owners have been challenged by President Barack Obama to make their facilities 20 percent more efficient by 2020 – an initiative known as the Better Buildings Challenge. Upgrading the energy efficiency of America’s buildings is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest ways to save money, cut down on harmful pollution and create good jobs, according to the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado who has teamed up with Better Buildings Denver to meet the Better Buildings Challenge in Colorado. Colorado building owners are well on their way, with more than 600 million square feet of commercial building space committed to reducing energy through Better Buildings Denver. A number of resources helping participants meet the challenge are available through Better Buildings Denver. These include energy audits, weatherization upgrades, educational resources, technical assistance and certification programs. Colorado Facilities Magazine can also be a reliable resource for facilities professionals who are taking on the Better Buildings Challenge or who are just interested in making their buildings more sustainable. In this issue, learn about building a customized management system for your building, read about retrofitting your windows or discover alternatives to powering your facility. We hope these articles will ease the burden of your stewardship. Good luck!

CONTACTS PUBLISHER Travis Barrington EXECUTIVE EDITOR Kelly Lux ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kristen Hutchings DESIGN DIRECTOR Brett Mickelson DESIGNER Doug Conboy PHOTOGRAPHERS Dana Sohm Roger Ottoway CONTRIBUTORS Lisa Bruns, Sim Gurewitz, Tom Prugh, Phillip Saieg, Amanda Timmons, Dave Wortman

Colorado Facilities A PUBLICATION OF JENGO MEDIA PO Box 970281 Orem, Utah 84097 Office: 801.796.5503 Fax: 801.407.1602 Web: POSTMASTER: Send address changes to JENGO MEDIA, P.O. Box 970281, Orem, UT 84097-0281. The publisher is not responsible for the accuracy of the articles in Colorado Facilities. The information contained within has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on this material. Appropriate professional advice should be sought before making decisions.

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Centers Colorado Springs Offers Advantages to Data Center Developments

Photo courtesy of


By Kelly Lux Executive Editor


reating a sustainable development has been a fundamental concept to the developers of the Vineyard Data Center Park since the land along Interstate 24 and Circle in Colorado Springs was purchased in 2005. Now, as the initial construction of the 800,000 squarefoot data center park is underway, the owners of Vineyard LLC can watch as their sustainable efforts come to fruition on the 108 acres designated for the $1 billion project. “Everything we do is sustainable and responsible,” says Vince Colarelli, a principle with Vineyard LLC and owner of Colarelli Construction. “In the data center world, we work with strong corporate entities who are also committed to sustainability. We began with our own commitment to be socially responsible, and then it was really reinforced by the organizations we are dealing with.” Colorado Springs has become a data center hub with close to 10 facilities in the area, including FedEx, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Progressive Insurance. Wal-Mart Corporate is also planning to bring one more data center to Colorado Springs in addition to Vineyard, says Tammy Fields, vice

president of business attraction for The Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC. “We are a mature market, to begin with, and an emerging market on a national level,” Colarelli says, pointing out that Colorado Springs was named one of the 10 best cities for data centers

“Vineyard will help to increase the data center presence in Colorado Springs and continue to build that brand of a green technology center. ” by American Banker due to the cost of operations and security of the area. “It is a very hot market, and we are blessed to be in this position.” Colorado Springs offers a low-risk environment free of most natural disasters, low power rates (specifically for data centers), political support and various tax incentives – all appealing

criteria for data centers, says Fields. Additionally, the climate in Colorado Springs is quite beneficial to data centers, offering more than 8,000 hours of free cooling with the use of sustainable chillers. Vineyard is taking advantage of these offerings with the construction of the new data center campus while also implementing sustainable programs made available through various organizations in Colorado Springs. “Vineyard is slated to be a very greenfocused type of data center park,” Fields says. “Vineyard will help to increase the data center presence in Colorado Springs and continue to build that brand of a green technology center. Data centers are usually tagged as energy hogs, Vineyard will help to mitigate some of that and will allow us to continue to attract that technology without the bad name.” Colorado Springs Utilities has been considering a 50MW biomass and wasteto-energy plant to provide renewable and independent sources of power to Vineyard Park. In addition, Colorado Springs Utilities will partner with the City of Colorado to allow the data center to use non-potable water directly from continued on page 10


FedEx Operates Green Data Center in Colorado Springs FedEx Corp opened its first environmentally sustainable data center nearly a year ago in Colorado Springs. The Enterprise Data CenterWest, which was built next to the existing FedEx Rocky Mountain Tech Center, is considered one of the most energy efficient data centers in the United States. The 140,000 square-foot building was completed in 2008. The EDC-W has a range of redundant mechanical and electrical systems that provide a high level of energy efficiency. The EDC-W takes advantage of the Colorado Springs climate, benefiting from more than 5,000 hours of free cooling during a normal year. FedEx applied for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certification for the data center. For more information, visit


continued from page 9 Fountain Creek when treated water is unnecessary. Vineyard Data Center Park will also use an industrial tariff rate on utilities that will incentivize the use of power. The sustainable and master planned development of Vineyard, which will be built in phases with some speculative construction, is taking its commitment to green beyond those incentives offered through state and city entities. Developers plan to exceed the requirements set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, according to Colarelli. Pervious paving, a greywater system, low-irrigation landscaping, reflective, white rooftops, free cooling, chilled water storage and LED lighting are all green features that will be incorporated into the project. Their efforts to build a sustainable facility will hopefully earn Vineyard Data Centers LEED Platinum New Construction. As for landscaping, the trees that were growing on the site prior to construction were harvested in a way that they could be reused on the property. Nearly 40 acres of the development will be dedicated to Colorado Springs as a park. Additionally, the developers will be conducting streamside restoration, stormwater management, riparian habitat restoration and wetlands restoration. The restoration of the Santa Fe Bike Trail will also be part of the project. “The developers of Vineyard are really trying to be cutting edge and making sure they are thinking about the environment and mitigating concerns that people have about data centers,” Fields says. “That is what is unique about Vineyard – all of the green technologies that will be implemented in the park.” Construction crews are currently installing the infrastructure needed for Vineyard Data Center Park. Construction on Phase 1 – the first 75,000 square-foot building in the project – will begin shortly after, with completion scheduled for the end of 2012. Subsequently, the other buildings

Cut Costs without Sacrificing Reliability By Lisa Bruns A system shutdown is unthinkable for any information technology or facilities manager. The loss of internet or computer function can mean millions of dollars lost every minute. Making upgrades to equipment for the sake of efficiency may have been unfeasible in the past due to fears of reliability issues. Now those fears can be laid to rest with a data center efficiency program. A data center efficiency program can help facilities managers identify ways to reduce IT operating costs and energy consumption while maintaining the integrity of systems. Combining forces with facilities managers and IT managers can create a solution that will positively affect any business’ bottom line. A data center efficiency program considers many things to reduce energy consumption: High-Efficiency Servers: Experts estimate that new servers are 25 percent more efficient than standard servers, and Energy Star-rated servers can be even better. Server Virtualization/Consolidation: Historically, software programs have been dedicated on a one-to-one relationship with servers. Virtualization software eliminates the need for dedicated servers. Consolidating allows servers to operate at a much higher load factor. Virtualization and consolidation can increase server load factors from a typical 10 percent up to

in the project will be built as tenants are secured. The single-story, new concrete construction at Vineyard Data Center will utilize modular cell design philosophy, with 11,140 square feet of technical space per modular cell and 150-325 watts per square foot. The A/C units will maintain a climate of 72 degrees and 30 to 60 percent humidity as well as 8,500 hours of ambient cooling. The facilities will also utilize chilled water

70 percent without suffering any loss in reliability and may result in a reduction of energy use by up to 80 percent. Airflow Improvements: The amount of air needed to cool the servers in a data center should be efficiently managed. Strategies include optimizing air inlet and return, minimizing the mixing of hot and cold air and directing air only to where it is needed. These will improve the efficiency of air flow,

improving distribution of the air. This allows greater use of air-side and waterside economizers, which reduce the need for central plant cooling. Humidification: Best practices for data center operation have relaxed humidity controls to a range of 25 to 60 percent. More efficient methods of humidifying include evaporative and ultrasonic mechanisms. Power Systems: Opportunities to save can be found from transformer to UPS On the Web (uninterruptible power supply) to high-efficiency power supply. More on the data center efficiency In some cases, these are up to 15 percent more efficient than program offered by Xcel Energy similar systems that are five or can be found at http://business. more years old. High-Efficiency Lighting programs/data-center-efficiency Equipment: Although lighting is generally a small portion of the total energy usage in the data which has a significant impact on the center (around 5 percent), there is amount of fan energy needed to opportunity to install high-efficiency direct cooled air to the appropriate lighting when retrofitting existing or equipment. designing new data centers. Electrical Equipment: Savings are available from high-efficiency batteries, Lisa Bruns is the media planning transformers and inverters as well as supervisor with Vladimir Jones more efficient power supplies in the representing Xcel Energy. To learn more, IT cabinets and high-efficiency storage call 1.800.481.4700 or email devices. High-Efficiency Cooling Equipment: In addition to high-efficiency chillers and rooftop units, technology can raise the supply air temp to the racks by

storage. The UPS system will parallel 2N configuration and is designed to support full load. A CSU substitution and 2N CSU generators will be on site. Security services will include card access control, exterior and interior CCTV coverage, on-site security 24/7 and phone systems for correspondence with security personnel. Fiber connectivity will be available from Level 3, TWT, Qwest, Verizon and Cogent, with diverse entry points located on opposite sides of the park.

“We have been really fortunate to have a lot of people who have been very supportive of putting this project together,” Colarelli said. “This came about as a result of good work and the commitment of an awful lot of people across the state and in different communities. It is going to be a legacy project for the city and a branding opportunity for the state.”



LEED 2012: Where Are We Headed? By Amanda Timmons


rom March 1 to March 27, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) opened a record third public comment period for the upcoming versions of the LEED rating systems. The ballot period for USGBC members is currently scheduled for June. The USGBC is hearing feedback and implementing it into LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance.

of 75 received four points toward its certification. Under the current draft of LEED 2012, the building would receive no points and only fulfill the prerequisite. The other major factor in achieving LEED certification will be implementing proper submetering of building data center spaces in Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager. As of June 1, 2012, buildings applying for Energy

are truly collaborative between the building management team and the occupants of the building. Buildings without convenient access to public transportation will continue to struggle for gold and platinum certification without significant efforts to change traditional commuting behaviors.

Site Management Landscaping practices must continue to evolve. The third draft continues to emphasize lower emissions Different Building Types On the Web or emissions-free approaches to The 2012 version will have specific applications defined For more on the LEED 2012 Rating landscaping, soil testing prior to fertilization and mulching of for certain types of existing Systems, visit landscape waste. A new credit is buildings, including office, available to create a site plan with a data centers, retail, warehouses, civil engineer or a landscape architect Star must properly submeter IT schools and hospitality. for integrated improvement to the site. equipment (excluding the associated cooling equipment) in the qualifying Energy Star Plumbing Water Efficiency data center space. Therefore, 12 LEED EBOM will now require Part of the proposed plumbing months of properly submetered data an Energy Performance Rating of 75 prerequisite includes a commitment to will be required to apply for Energy as a prerequisite. During the third future purchases of EPA WaterSense Star after June 1, 2012. comment period, the Energy Star fixtures (i.e. 1.28 gallon per flush credit (EAc1) will continue to have the toilets and 0.5 gallon per flush urinals). Alternative Transportation most associated points available (up This may prove challenging for older The third draft continues to show to 20), but the points start at a higher buildings with plumbing infrastructure 15 credits available for alternative threshold. A building that applied built for toilets using three or transportation. This emphasizes for LEED EBOM using the 2009 more gallons per flush. However, version with an Energy Star rating that applications for LEED EBOM


Demand Response A credit relating to energy demand will now be available. The previous versions of LEED focused on efficiency in terms of overall consumption but did not have a credit available specific to demand. Major Alterations and Additions Policy This is a comprehensive prerequisite with requirements for construction purchases (including those made by tenants), construction waste management and protecting indoor air quality. The IAQ piece was formerly a credit in the Indoor Environmental Quality category. This prerequisite will now require implementation of SMACNA strategies during construction and development of a plan to address whether a flush-out or air testing will be required prior to occupancy of the space. Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance Buildings will now need to comply

with ASHRAE 62.1-2010. Those that cannot meet ASHRAE 62.1-2010 can continue to meet the prerequisite by showing at least 10 CFM of air per person.

sustainable equipment purchases increase from 20 percent (2009) to 40 percent along with a plan to increase the equipment to 80 percent sustainable over time (2012).

Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control Buildings that applied for previous versions of LEED may need to change the signage at building entries indicating the no smoking policy. Simple signage such as “No Smoking� or the no smoking logo may no longer be adequate to meet this prerequisite.

LEED AP To achieve the LEED AP credit, the LEED AP must have the specialty for the project type (i.e. a LEED AP O+M must be on a LEED EBOM project team).

Interior Lighting At least 50 percent of occupant spaces must have lighting controls with three settings (on, off and mid-level). Previously, an on/off control, such as a simple switch, counted for this credit. Green Cleaning For the cleaning assessment credit, the overall APPA score increases from 3 (2009) to 2.5 (2012). For the cleaning products credit, sustainable purchases increase from 30 percent by cost (2009) to 75 percent by cost (2012). For the cleaning equipment credit,

Amanda Timmons is a consultant specializing in LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Rating System. She has been a LEED AP since 2007 and can be reached at This article was written prior to release of the final draft, so the credits and prerequisites highlighted herein are subject to change.



technologies continue to improve for water efficient fixtures.


Eye for

Management at 1670 Broadway Commits to Energy Efficiency

Green By Kristen Hutchings Associate Editor

An iconic sentinel towering above the “Wall Street of the Rockies” at the apex of 17th Street and Broadway in Downtown Denver, the building known as 1670 Broadway stands as an established 36-story landmark and an example of one of Colorado’s tall green facilities.


Photo courtesy of Jim Havey with Havey Productions

ue to many recently implemented energy-efficient projects, 1670 Broadway was dubbed a new color: LEED Silver. The LEED Certification of 1670 Broadway was largely a product of hard work and dedication of the management and engineering staff of Cushman & Wakefield of Colorado, Inc. With almost 30 years affiliation with 1670 Broadway, Judith PurvianceAnderson, general manager of 1670 Broadway, has seen the building evolve through adolescence and well into maturity. Anderson followed two previous managers who by continually upgrading the property to perform at its highest and best use positioned the property to be easily adaptable to the tenant and market demands of today. The building and its tenants have ebbed and flowed with the times – especially with the continuous advancement of and demands for technology. Increasing amounts of computers and related monitors, printers


and IT and telecom equipment as well as large-scale appliances are brought into the facility by its tenants, putting increased demands on the building’s electrical and mechanical infrastructure. To combat this stress, the management and engineering staff are dedicated in their endless search for new ways to increase building efficiency. However, as the funding for large capital projects becomes harder and harder for large commercial buildings to secure, the team is constantly challenged to identify low- or no-cost ways to green the building and still serve its tenants. “It’s helpful to be a little more aggressive and identify those things you can do to reduce energy use and increase building efficiency without expending an extraordinary amount of capital funds,” Anderson said. “We began with an ongoing retro-assessment of the tower, performed by staff. We looked at programmed operations, daily tenant use and demands, lease requirements and overall performance and modified

how the building is operated. We evaluate building operations off-hours. There’s no better way to learn what your building is doing. What worked before may no longer be appropriate. Constantly observing what is happening in your building and adapting operations accordingly can save money without a lot of cost.” The size of 1670 Broadway, slightly less than 700,000 square feet, can create operational challenges and opportunities. Many building leases identify Saturday mornings as a typical business day wherein the building is programmed to operate as though it were fully occupied. Since a small percentage of tenants actually work on Saturdays, building hours were modified to not arbitrarily run when tenants were not on the floors during the weekend, thus turning off an unoccupied building. Going Up In a building of this size, elevators are integral to building operations. However, elevators, if not programmed properly, can spike utility costs in large commercial buildings. A simple test of building elevator motors indicated that each time a call was entered, an elevator used up to 75 amps to activate an elevator into service. The facility management team worked with tenants and found they could reduce the number of active elevators from five to two in each bank during off hours, holidays and weekends to facilitate a no-cost operational change that merely required minor reprogramming of the building’s remaining elevators. Cooling Down A white membrane roof with a high solar reflection rate was installed on the roof to reduce heat absorption. A new flat plate heat exchanger will increase capacity and efficiency. In addition, variable frequency drives were installed on Joy fans and pumps and MERV 13 filters were installed on the main air handlers. Cooling towers were retrofitted. A lighter, reflective surface reducing heat island effect will be placed in the plaza.

Retrofits have been implemented in light fixtures, water closets, urinals and faucets. Under a new restroom design, solar powered faucet will replace older faucets. Other efficiency methods implemented by Anderson include closing the blinds at night to lower the costs of pre-heating or pre-cooling the building the next morning. 1670 Broadway utilizes other green techniques typical of energy-efficient buildings like practicing green cleaning, installing bike racks and staging lighting operation in the 534-space garage while still maintaining safety. Future plans involve updating the building’s extensive electrical metering backbone to more fully segregate tenant electrical loads. The building is currently undergoing a formal retro-commissioning process wherein initial testing results indicate an estimated savings of 15 percent of their annual electric bill may be realized. An Invitation to Participate To assist tenants with their recycling efforts and to become more efficient, full-stream recycling is provided. 1670 Broadway added a dual compactor in 2007 – the first to be installed in the Denver Metro area. A smaller electronic recycling receptacle was constructed for phones, batteries and other technology. Every Earth Day, management hosts an electronic recycling event, collecting larger recyclable electronics like computers and televisions. In 2012, the building collected just under one ton of electronic recyclables. “Invite and involve your tenants to participate,” Anderson said. “We’ve found that our tenants are more than willing to assist where they can. They are fully aware that they pay for the building’s operational efficiencies or its deficiencies.” Words of Wisdom The wisest way to green your building? Decide what is reasonable and feasible. It’s a balance of what is sustainable and what is cost effective for the building, Anderson said.

“Just because something is green, doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective or efficient,” said Anderson. “You need to assess whether it’s going to work for your property. You have to look at the pros and cons of what you’re doing. Just because something is labeled green, doesn’t mean it’s the right resolution for your particular operation.” The current green trend among the commercial industry has influenced many building owners and managers to be more efficient and wise in their dealings with energy, but that’s not the case with 1670 Broadway. Anderson and her team have been dedicated to running their building efficiently since their first day on the job. Even a green building, poorly operated and maintained, can result in increased operating costs. “It’s the right way to do business, and it’s the right way to run a building. And that, of course, is what the industry requires,” said Anderson. “We’re not pushing for green just because this is the flavor of the month; it’s because it’s the right way to do it for your owner, tenants and investors.”

Judith Purviance-Anderson


Management systems

Bridging the Gap in Energy System Displays Build a Customized Approach for Smaller Buildings By Dave Wortman


n the past few years building owners and facility managers have witnessed a boom in the market for building energy displays and management systems. These next-generation systems – building on their predecessors developed for large building applications by Johnson Controls, Siemens, Trane and others – are increasingly catering to smaller buildings with information sharing and control capabilities. The drivers for these trends are many, including growing interest in sharing building performance information with occupants and visitors, as well as broadening attention to smart metering of systems, demand response capabilities and integrating renewable energy technologies. While the market for energy display and management systems is rapidly evolving, those looking for a costeffective, off-the-shelf solution tailored to smaller buildings will still find gaps in the marketplace. The choices in software packages that monitor energy use and power in real time or near real time are significantly limited. Such systems still tend to be prohibitively expensive for small buildings, including hardware and installation costs, difficulty scaling down applications to smaller buildings and increased effort needed to train employees and maintain systems. While many can monitor energy use at the meter level, far fewer allow for easy and cost-effective monitoring at the equipment level. A Custom Approach Faced with such market limitations, a team of engineers at Brendle Group, an engineering firm in Colorado with a focus on energy and sustainability, sought to develop a more customized solution for the renovation of their new office building in downtown Fort Collins, a project completed in early 2011 that recently received Gold certification

Photo by Dan Bihn under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The team’s objective was to develop an energy display and management system that would be cost-appropriate for small- to medium-sized buildings – both existing and new – and would provide the flexibility to monitor energy use down to the equipment level. The system would also provide the ability to control loads and integrate renewable energy technologies. Providing feedback to building users and education to guests in the form of an in-lobby display and real time web interface was also important to allow the building to serve as a living laboratory for the company’s clients and the community. After researching several options, the team selected hardware provided by Spinwave Systems, a developer of wireless sensor networks and sensing products to cost-reduce and simplify monitoring and control of commercial and industrial buildings. Using ZigBee-based communication protocols with a mesh network, the wireless platform provided


an easy-to-install solution, preventing the need to re-wire systems. The solution included wireless thermostats as well as wireless sub-metering of building energy loads, from lighting to appliances. Spinwave Systems’ hardware was paired with AzeoTech’s DAQFactory software, a cost-effective supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software that can be used to extract data from Spinwave for control of systems, alarming of undesirable conditions, logging for future analysis and real time display. Further in-house development allowed for the development of custom visualization. One of the unique aspects of this customized application was the high level of sub-metering for electrical loads that was possible and the resulting amount of detail available on the building’s various electrical loads. Such fine-grained information on energy use can not only help inform occupant behavior, it can also have ancillary benefits, such as contributing to credits under LEED, as well as support the effectiveness of building commissioning efforts. From a cost perspective, the customized

The Results With more than 15 months of data from the building’s system in the books, the company is already reaping many rewards. One significant advantage has been the ability to closely monitor the energy performance of the building, trend past performance and make changes to reduce consumption – from scheduling of thermostats and lighting to tracking performance of economizers. This has been particularly valuable to support the company’s aggressive energy use goals for the building, which is already performing more than 75 percent better than comparable building stock in the region. The team was able to further reduce overall building energy use between 2011 and 2012, in part due to the data-driven ability to understand how the building was operating and to take appropriate action. One of the other biggest advantages of the system has been its value as a troubleshooting tool. The system, for example, was able to detect a drop in renewable energy production, alerting building managers to issues with the performance of one of the building’s three solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays. The building’s in-lobby display has also been a valuable teaching tool for both occupants and the more than 500 visitors the building has hosted, from university classes to the local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council and international clean technology delegations. The customized display not only shows daily trends in electricity pulled from the grid,

it also tracks exports to the grid from PV production and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions impacts. The display also benchmarks the building’s performance against typical office buildings in the region. For those on electric rate schedules with peak demand charges, the system also provides the ability to shed loads during times of peak demand, either automatically or manually, based on a signal from the electric utility. These capabilities have historically been limited to systems for larger buildings. Opportunities for Replication Overall, this custom solution offers significant opportunity for replication in other small buildings – an opportunity the company is hoping to roll out to its customers as a package of products and services. While the system has shown benefits in a small building application, it also offers the opportunity and flexibility to scale up to larger office buildings with multiple tenants. For those who are interested in driving behavior change with a respect to energy consumption, a field of significantly growing interest, the system also offers the ability for building occupants to directly see the effects of their efforts and claim associated energy and cost savings. Finally, significant energy and cost saving opportunities can be found in the ability of building managers to track and manage building energy use remotely (from lights left on to managing temperature setbacks for heating and cooling) during evenings and weekends. Dave Wortman is program manager for Brendle Group, an engineering consulting firm focused on sustainability. Contact him at



solution was a fraction of the cost of many of today’s off-the-shelf energy management and display systems. Employing wireless controls avoided the need for more costly re-wiring of the building, while the DAQFactory software was easy to use and required little staff training.


Alternative Energy Sources for Commercial Buildings Deep Energy Retrofits and Solar Power Viable Replacements of Coal and Gas By Phillip Saieg and Tom Prugh


uilding owners and managers interested in boosting their buildings’ performance, reducing costs and/or going green may wish there was some alternative to the conventional lineup of energy sources: electricity from the grid (coal, gas- or nuclear-generated), natural gas for heating, or .... Actually, that’s about it. Those are typically the only options. Few buildings burn coal on-site anymore. Some (many more in Europe than in the United States) benefit from being part of district heating systems, in which waste heat from power plants or factories is circulated to homes or businesses for space or water heating. No doubt a few use heating oil or even propane. Lots of buildings (hospitals, for instance) have backup generators that run on diesel fuel. Anyone seeking a wholesale replacement for the usual energy sources – at least until cold fusion can be made to work – is going to be disappointed.

On the other hand, looking at the idea of alternative energy from another perspective opens up a world of possibilities. Solar If a building owner has worked hard at making a building more efficient but wants to go deeper into the green, another option is solar energy. Daylighting uses passive solar rather than electricity to light work spaces. Commercial buildings may have plenty of windows, but admitted light, which travels 93 million miles across empty space, can’t manage the extra few feet into the interior without a little help. If installing skylights in the roof (a strategy that has saved Walmart a bundle) isn’t feasible, simple passive technologies, such as light shelves, can reflect daylight laterally into interiors. Roof-mounted light tubes can convey the light vertically downward to lower floors in tall buildings. Electric lighting in areas served by


skylights, light shelves or light tubes can be sensor-controlled to adjust automatically to high or low levels of daylighting. Passive heating and cooling technologies can be equally simple in the right applications. For heating, allow sunlight to pass through windows and warm a flagstone or concrete floor or a brick interior wall. The accumulated heat will warm the space for some hours. As for cooling, buildings with a bit of thermal mass, say, a brick exterior, and operable windows can take advantage of that mass by opening the windows. On hot days, the sun’s heat is absorbed by the brick, taking time to warm the interior, particularly if the windows on that side are equipped with shades or blinds. The windows can be opened at night to flush the warm air out and draw in cooler air to reduce mechanical cooling loads. Solar hot water has found applications in apartment and office

Taking Credits One more option is renewable energy certificates. According to a useful primer on RECs from the Environmental Tracking Network of North America, a REC is “a tradable environmental commodity used … to represent proof that one megawatthour (MWh) of electricity was generated by an ‘eligible’ renewable energy resource.” RECs (also called green tags and renewable energy credits) are a way to buy renewable energy without actually owning, or even being connected to, a single solar PV array or wind turbine. Renewable power generators can sell their power to buyers looking for green

A Vast, Low-Cost Energy Resource No, it’s not shale gas. A 2009 McKinsey report on energy efficiency potential in the United States, says, “If executed at scale, a holistic approach would yield gross energy savings worth more than $1.2 trillion, well above the $520 billion needed through 2020 for upfront investment in energy efficiency measures.” A report from experts at the University of Colorado/Boulder and Rocky Mountain Institute calls deep energy retrofits a “multi-billion dollar market opportunity.” It’s also the greenest option to begin with. Astounding returns are available on investing in building energy efficiency waiting to be harvested. Individual building owners can tap their share. About half of the existing U.S. building stock will be renovated in the next 30 years, and about 30 percent of U.S. commercial building space is due for renovation right now. Even a conventional retrofit will typically return 15-25 percent in energy savings and be financially attractive. A deep energy retrofit,

energy, even if the two are not in the same service area or even the same geographic region. RECs are a big and growing business, especially in the compliance market driven by the 29 states with renewable portfolio standards, which require minimum percentages of electricity consumed in the state to come from renewable sources. (There is also a voluntary market servicing organizations and individuals who

one that uses integrated delivery and looks more carefully at how renovation of various systems can be strategically meshed, can typically achieve savings of 50 percent. If that isn’t enticing enough, a number of local, state and federal tax credits and rebates are available to sweeten the pot. For example, the federal government offers a corporate deduction worth up to $1.80 per square foot to owners of new or existing buildings who install interior lighting, building envelope systems or heating, cooling, ventilation or hot water systems that reduce the building’s total energy and power cost by 50 percent or more in comparison to a building meeting minimum ASHRAE requirements. This particular tax break is available until the end of 2013. Dozens more incentives are listed in the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE), which despite the name, includes federal, local and utility incentives as well as state ones.

simply want to green their energy.) The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that compliancerelated RECs demand was 55 million megawatt hours (MWh) in 2010 and will reach 150 MWh by 2015. Phillip Saieg is director of Sustainable Building at the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado in Denver. Tom Prugh is the Alliance’s senior researcher.



buildings, hospitals, farms, hotels, laundries, swimming pools and even prisons. Thermal solar collectors, typically circulating a fluid much like antifreeze, absorb the sun’s heat and transfer it to water via a heat-exchange system. This way of heating water can offset some of the energy consumed by gas or electric water heaters. Photovoltaic modules can be complicated when it comes to calculating cost benefit. A building with a large footprint and lots of roof space will benefit more from solar PV than a tall skinny building. Location matters too. The Southwest generally has the best insolation. But even if your building is in Schenectady rather than sunny Santa Fe, a solar array on the roof may make economic sense, depending on the local cost of electricity, the cost per watt of installing the array, available incentives (check the DSIRE website) and other factors.


It’s Elementary By Sim Gurewitz

A new elementary school’s building automation system uses submeters to track electrical consumption and demand, a key measurement required by high-performance building assessment programs like the USGBC’s LEED and GBI’s Green Globes rating systems.


ince its doors opened for business in August 2008, Bethke Elementary School in Timnath, Colorado, has gained national attention as one of the state’s outstanding K-5 learning environments. To Principal Ann Alfonso, Bethke is a hands-on community that values close partnerships. “It’s very satisfying to see our staff, parents and families pulling together to create the kind of atmosphere that facilitates educational excellence by optimizing the learning potential of every student. The late Dr. Bethke, our namesake, used to say, ‘There has to be a better way.’ We’re proud that Bethke School exemplifies that vision, not only for our students but for the entire community,” Alfonso said.  No small contributor to the school’s growing reputation for excellence is the 63,000 square-foot physical plant that was named the nation’s first GoldCertified facility under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED for Schools rating system – an honor that was duplicated by the first “Three Green Globes” award for schools by the Green Building Institute (GBI).

Sustainable Design Features As Poudre School District’s first prototype school to be submitted for LEED Certification, Bethke’s improved energy-efficiency measures help to reduce facility operating costs by up to 50 percent through use of an indirect evaporative cooling airconditioning system, high-efficiency boilers, operable windows, 90 percent day-lit building spaces and other leading-edge sustainable design features. Renewable energy use has already replaced traditional power-generation. Poudre School District Energy Manager Stu Reeve notes that Bethke currently buys 100 percent wind power from Xcel Energy, but the facility design also incorporates the electrical harness for a yet-to-be-installed photovoltaic system that will provide sunlight-generated onsite electrical power in the future.

energy measurement parameters was a collaborative effort between Reeve and Rick Webster, project manager at LONG Building Technologies, a developer of energy management and building automation systems in Ft. Collins. Sorin Barbalata, P.E., reviewed and signed off on the final design prior to installation.

Building Automation System Of special interest is the brain of Bethke’s operational infrastructure, the Building Automation System (BAS) monitors, controls and reports on the operational condition of the school’s building envelope. Defining the system’s

Data Acquisition Front End The BAS continuously gathers electrical data in the form of kilowatt hours (kWh) consumed and peak demand (kW) for evaluation and reporting by the school district. The raw energy data is collected every 15


Photo courtesy of Shaffer · Baucom Engineering & Consulting

Electric Submeters Help Bethke Elementary Achieve Nation’s First LEED for Schools Gold Rating

minutes and communicated to the energy manager’s PC via the facility’s Ethernet local area network. The raw energy data is provided by three Class 2000 electric submeters from E-Mon, LLC of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, a leading provider of energy monitoring hardware and software solutions. Familiar with the E-Mon products from installations at other PSD schools, the building’s consulting engineering firm knew them to be good performers at a competitive price. One product is installed on the kitchen panel board and continued on page 22

LEED Certification Category

Core & Shell Core & Shell Existing Buildings Existing Buildings Existing Buildings New Construction New Construction Commercial Interiors Commercial Interiors Schools Healthcare Healthcare Healthcare Credit



Credit 5.1 Credit 5.2 Credit 1.2 Credit 3.2 Credit 3.3 Credit 5.1 - 5.3 Credit 6 Credit Prerequisite 2 Credit 5 Credit 1 Credit 3 Credit 5 Credit 2 Credit 1

Certification Points

Applicable Guideline

1 1 1 1 1 1-3 1 1 1 1-2 1 1 2-10

Measurement & Verification - Base Building Measurement & Verification Tenent Submetering Water Performance Measurement:: Submetering Building Operations & Maintenance Building Operations & Maintenance Performance Measurement: Enhanced Metering Documenting Sustainable Building Cost Miminum Energy Performance Measurement and Verification Optimize Energy Performance Energy Use, Measurement & Payment Accountability Measurement and Verification Potable Water Use Reduction: Measurement & Verification Optimize Energy Performance

Table 1: Submeters contribute directly toward points under several LEED rating system categories. Source: courtesy Shaffer · Baucom Engineering & Consulting


continued from page 21

LEED for Schools – Project Checklist by Major Category

another on the mechanical room panel board. A third meter monitors the lighting system panel. The three-phase, four-wire meters monitor 200A and 250A circuits using 480Y/277V and 208Y/120V configurations, respectively, and communicate the data in the form of a pulse output to the monitoring location. How Submeters Facilitate the Sustainable Environment Recent industry studies show that green building construction will continue as a major trend across the facility landscape for the foreseeable future. As front-end energy data acquisition devices, submeters can contribute directly to certification of facilities of all types under major energy initiative guidelines. The industry’s most widely used sustainable building assessment tool, for example, is the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Of the system’s nine categories, one column lists those areas in which submeters can play a major contributory role for obtaining certification points. Introduced some 25 years ago, submeters continue to grow in functionality and usefulness, providing great value to school districts like Poudre and other facility operators as front line energy data gathering tools. In an era of rising utility costs and tightening budgets, today’s green submeters are even coming out of the electrical room to let people see actual energy usage and its impact in terms of CO2 emissions, kilowatt hour (kWh) dollars and other parameters that can be easily understood by non-technical people. Submeters not only improve the facility’s bottom line, but facilitate compliance with major energy initiatives while also encouraging every level of the enterprise to become a stakeholder in the energy management and conservation process.

Certification Category

Possible Points

Bethke Points

Sustainable Sites Water Efficiency Energy & Atmosphere Materials & Resources Indoor Environmental Quality Innovation & Design Process Project Totals

16 7 17 13 20 6 79

9 4 15 4 11 6 49

Certified: 29-36

Gold: 44-57

Platinum: 58-79

Table 2: Summary of the LEED certification points by category achieved by Bethke Elementary School. The full project checklist includes more than 70 subcategories, including required prerequisites in most major categories. Source: courtesy E-Mon

Bethke Goes for the LEED Gold Designed by Fort Collins-based RB+B Architects using PSD’s nationally recognized Sustainable Design Guidelines, Bethke incorporates lessons learned from three previous prototype schools designed and built by PSD and its partner firms. One of these, Lakewood, Colorado-based Shaffer • Baucom Engineering & Consulting, is a full-service mechanical and electrical engineering design firm specializing in LEED projects. Poudre tasked SBEC with designing the new $9.9 million facility’s operational infrastructure with the latest high-efficiency electrical and mechanical design and construction features. As SBEC’s senior electrical designer on the project, Art St. John said, “The teamwork between the school district, architect, consultants and suppliers was instrumental to our overall success and to the delivery of a quality finished product.” This teamwork allowed construction costs to be 10 percent lower than other area schools. In keeping with the facility’s highperformance design philosophy (Table 2), many of the sustainable systems were intentionally left accessible to public view, including structural and mechanical systems, fire sprinkler risers and piping, data management equipment and building monitoring equipment. These and other systems are exposed inside the school to display their functions and, in so


doing, provide dozens of potential learning opportunities that contributed toward the LEED Gold rating under the Innovation and Design Process category’s “School as a Teaching Tool” credit. Moving Forward Submeters helped Bethke achieve its LEED Gold Certification by providing energy data collection capability that may be viewed as consumption and demand on the BAS display terminal and used as a teaching aid by the school. From an operations standpoint, the submeters provide an energy management tool that allows the district to carefully monitor and evaluate electrical consumption for potential corrective action should the kWh/kW levels suddenly trend upward. This system is currently in use at other Poudre School District campuses and, based on these successes, additional installations are being planned for refurbished schools and new construction. In addition to being a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) with more than 20 years of experience in the built environment, Sim Gurewitz, E-Mon’s Western Regional Manager, is a Certified Sustainability Development Professional (CSDP) and Certified Energy Auditor (CEA). He may be contacted at

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