What does it mean to be a High-Performance Building?

Posted on April 27th, 2012 by

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 47 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are from existing buildings. From a global perspective, reducing energy consumption in buildings is imperative for a sustainable future.

So when property owners and managers transform an existing facility into one that’s a high-performance building, what does that mean? Essentially, it means doing more with less. High-performance buildings are energy efficient, and therefore, easier and more affordable to operate and maintain. They provide healthier and more comfortable workspaces, making them more attractive to tenants and more desirable to own.

Owners, managers and investors can transform properties into high-performance buildings by focusing on strategies, technologies and expertise to save energy, water and building materials. Building technologies are rapidly improving while costs are declining, making it easier to reduce energy use and costs without sacrificing comfort and productivity, or spending a great deal of money.  This technology can also provide comfortable working conditions, the right temperature and humidity, and the right level of lighting in a very efficient and cost-effective way. Examples include high-efficiency replacement motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs), lighting and controls for heating and cooling. Chiller and refrigeration upgrades, industrial process improvements and compressed air system improvements also help save on energy and maintenance costs, while improving a building’s carbon footprint.

The good news is that there are substantial incentives available on the Federal, state and city levels, as well as from utilities, to help businesses make smart investments in energy efficiency. Before you implement an energy management plan, check to see what funding may be available in your area. For example, in New York City, the Con Edison Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Program offers rebates and incentives for high efficiency electric and gas equipment, customized energy efficiency projects and energy audits.

You can learn how to transform your property into a high-performance building at the Con Edison 2012 Energy Efficiency Summit on May 1 at the New York Hilton. For more information and to register, visit www.conEdsummit.com.


The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author David Pospisil, is Program Manager of Con Edison’s Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Program, New York, N.Y. For more information about the C&I Energy Efficiency Program, contact the Con Edison Green Team at 1-877-860-6118 or visit www.conEd.com/greenteam.


About the image:

Grubb & Ellis Management Services is saving $21,000 a year on energy costs at its skyscraper at 420 Fifth Avenue, thanks to an elevator overhaul paid for with incentives from Con Edison’s Green Team. Con Edison Market Partner Century Elevator replaced the building’s aging elevators, including motors and motor controls, with a modern, more energy-efficient system. The new elevators use 40 percent less energy than before, saving 197,000 kWh a year.


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One Person has left comments on this post

» K Stoural said: { Apr 27, 2012 - 01:04:12 }

One thing to keep in mind when looking for high performance from a building, is that the building is only as good as the occupants who use and maintain the building.
Engagement and education are critical to achieving and maintaining a high performing building.
Dashboards and engagement tools are one way to do that. You’ve got to keep it simple, and make it fun, otherwise occupants just won’t care.

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