Notes From the 2018 Montgomery County Energy Summit

Montgomery County Energy Summit Highlights

 

This year’s Montgomery County Energy Summit, hosted by Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and USGBC National Capital Region’s Montgomery County Committee focused on the latest trends in commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy to create a greener built environment. Below, we’ve summarized three notable sessions we attended at the summit:

Four Data Driven Methods for Enhanced Energy Savings

Knowing where to begin with energy use optimization in buildings poses unique challenges. To effectively implement energy saving practices, use the following data driven methods.

  1. Monthly Data: Collected from monthly utility usage.

          Pros:     Easy to track the building’s year-to-year consumption and useful for long-term tracking.

          Cons:    Sometimes obtaining information late causes building owners to miss trends later shown in billing invoices.

  1. Interval Data: Involves 15-minute intervals of monitoring from Building Monitoring System (BMS).

          Pros:     Allows day-to-day activity comparison to track daily to weekly trends.

          Cons:    Occasionally, 15 minutes provides no clear picture of how systems communicate with        each other within a specific cycle.

  1. Energy Audit: Incorporates both interval and monthly data.

          Pros:     Helpful in diagnosing issues and viewing implementation of optimization tactics.

          Cons:    This method can be cost prohibitive.

  1. Continuous, Real Time: Use of nodes on specific equipment for monitoring, which allows tracking of real time trends on a dashboard via Wi-Fi connection.

          Pros:    10 – 15% cost savings.

          Cons:    Must be specific when placing nodes on equipment to avoid information overload.

Various energy providers, including BG&E and PEPCO offer rebates to companies for implementing these methods – another incentive to use commissioning-based monitoring.

Diagnostic Tools for Ongoing Optimization of Building Operations

Energy saving works as a constant circle: Benchmarking >Analysis>Action>Benchmarking, perpetually evolving to allow constant improvement.

Benchmarking lets clients see how buildings perform on various levels. Whether on a base level, comparing year-over-year energy usage, or down to the minutiae, monitoring flow or temperature into each piece of equipment every 15 minutes, tracking performance provides valuable information.

Benchmarking tools help track the changes caused by proper maintenance or small upgrades. Information gathered using analysis tools such as flow monitors and humidity/temperature sensors, provides diagnoses for issues, finds wasteful energy sinks, and allows performance tracking of specific equipment.

Pro Tips and Case Studies on Multifamily Energy Efficiency

Cutting-edge strategies are crucial when implementing energy efficiency in multiple end-uses of multifamily residential buildings. Five useful tips below outline the most effective ways of achieving energy efficiency goals:

  1. Reduce demand: Choose more efficient equipment – up to 40% of energy consumption in multifamily buildings comes from HVAC. Importance of energy efficiency in the design phase includes choosing the correct type of windows, shading, building skin, etc.
  2. Harvest – free energy: Use of solar panels.
  3. Increase efficiency: Designing the HVAC system to fit specific needs.
  4. Recovering waste energy: Recycling energy, use return hot water to preheat equipment or help condition spaces.
  5. Tenant education: Communicate best practices for optimizing energy usage to tenants.

 

Creating a more sustainable building system provides increased value and financial benefit, making the payback of efficiency worth the effort. For a specific approach to achieving this in your building, contact our sustainable programs team.

As an Operations and Energy Services Representative for GHT, Catherine Jones supports our clients in developing solutions for long-term energy efficiency.