Huge benefit seen in raising energy efficiency

August 6, 2009

The International Herald Tribune, July 31, 2009 Friday – The biggest opportunity to improve the U.S. energy situation would be a major investment program to make homes and businesses more efficient, according to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

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How GE’s ‘Treasure Hunts’ Discovered More Than $110M in Energy Savings

May 18, 2009

…By the time teams return to the central location in the early evening, you can sense the buzz: Employees have seen opportunities for improvement, and are realizing how this whole process makes sense for the organization as a whole.

On Monday morning, teams interview facility employees about the opportunities identified for energy saving, a critical step to secure operator buy-in to the proposed change. Throughout the day, they continue to quantify their projects, getting cost and savings information from process experts, and ideas for operational change from the employees that run the operation. By Tuesday afternoon, each team has a list of at least 10 quantified ideas for energy savings — and most notably, these projects on average have a simple payback of less than two years!

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Ericsson Reducing Carbon Footprint by 40% per Subscriber

May 5, 2009

Ericsson has set a pretty great goal for itself. It wants to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% per subscriber within the next few years. Last year the company performed life-cycle analyses on its mobile and fixed broadband networks and mobile phones, and determined where it could cut out carbon. It pinpointed some interesting areas, for a mobile networks company.

We love this idea. Every business should begin the process of tracking not only carbon emissions, but also energy usage per “subscriber” or the appropriate Key Performance Indicator (KPI). We can only improve what we measure and we get more of whatever we place our attention on. For example, and one of the reasons ARM holdings has been so successful in mobile devices is that the KPI that drives their chip designs is “power use per chip size” compared to Intel’s KPI of “speed per chip size”. By implementing the appropriate KPI such as Energy-Cost-Per-Widget or Carbon-Footprint-Per-Subscriber, you’ll drive your organization to greater levels of efficiency.

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How to Cut Energy Use by 60% by 2050

May 4, 2009

New modeling by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) shows how energy use in buildings can be cut by 60 percent by 2050 – essential to meeting global climate change targets – but this will require immediate action to transform the building sector. This is the central message of the report from the WBCSD’s four-year, $15 million Efficiency in Buildings (EEB) research project, the most rigorous study ever conducted on the subject.

Six Principle Recommendations:
The project’s resulting report makes six principle recommendations:
* Strengthen building codes and energy labeling for increased transparency.
* Use subsidies and price signals to incentivize energy-efficient investments.
* Encourage integrated design approaches and innovations.
* Develop and use advanced technology to enable energy-saving behavior.
* Develop workforce capacity for energy saving.
* Mobilize for an energy-aware culture.

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Tackling Climate Change is about Good Economics!

May 2, 2009

President’s Clinton’s message to leaders at the Fortune Brainstorm Green on how best to address climate change was simple: It’s about “good economics.” He urged all of us to focus less on the “what” and more on the “how.” President Clinton outlined a clear strategy on how to make the case with a laundry list of opportunities and measured outcomes around building efficiencies, traffic congestion management, waste management strategies, utility modernization (including SmartGrid), low-income housing strategies and many more.

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The Proliferation of Green Building Ordinances

May 2, 2009

In 2008 alone, NAIOP monitored more than 110 different cities that are looking at implementing some sort of a green ordinance for buildings. These ordinances range from incentive-based approaches to strict green requirements.

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Test Your Energy IQ

May 1, 2009

EPA has some great new resources to help you celebrate Earth Day this year—and every day, in fact. Check out our new interactive quiz, Test Your Energy IQ,and create a friendly competition among your colleagues. Earth Day is also a great opportunity to organize a “Green Team” that will help your organization save energy and reduce waste. Get a head start with our new step-by-step Green Team Checklist. Finally, on Earth Day, turn your dial to the ENERGY STAR Web site and tune in to our latest video podcast, starring best-selling author and green guru Danny Seo! This 4-minute video will take viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of an ENERGY STAR qualified building and teach them what makes it energy efficient—from a cubicle to the boiler room, and everything in between! Tune in on Earth Day to watch the video.


A Greener World is a Safer One

May 1, 2009

On February 18, Edward Mazria appeared at the National Building Museum in DC with John Podesta who, as a key advisor to President Obama and President of the Center for American Progress, is another of today’s most influential minds. A video of the event, presented as part of the museum’s ongoing For the Greener Good lecture series, can now be seen online, with an interactive forum for posing questions to the speakers.

Watch here.


A Hog in a Tuxedo is Still a Hog

May 1, 2009

A Hog in a Tuxedo is Still a Hog
The NAIOP Disinformation Study

By Edward Mazria

I was wondering when it would happen, a Building Sector disinformation campaign launched by vested interests. Well, it’s happened. The campaign hit The New York Times on Saturday, and it comes from NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. It appears just as the country has come to grips with the fact that buildings are responsible for over 50% (50.1% to be exact*) of all the energy consumed in the US. It comes at a time when Americans are trying to reshape their energy policy and wean themselves from dependence on foreign oil, dwindling natural gas reserves and dirty conventional coal.

This disinformation campaign is obviously meant to stall, confuse and distort. The first salvo, a spurious study and press release, was issued two days before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on improving building energy code standards.

It is clear from a simple analysis of the study that NAIOP commissioned a building energy efficiency analysis to support predetermined results. They contracted with ConSol, an energy-modeling firm, and asked them to analyze five (yes, only five) efficiency measures for an imaginary, square-shaped, four-story office building with completely sealed windows and an equal amount of un-shaded glass on all four sides of the building. In other words, analyze an energy Hog.

They conducted the analysis for different cities and climates – Newport Beach, Chicago and Baltimore – without changing the design to respond to these very different climates. They did not study changing the shape of the building, its orientation or form, or redistributing windows or using different windows to take advantage of natural light for daylighting or sunlight for heating (office buildings are day-use facilities). They did not study shading the glass in summertime to reduce the need for air-conditioning, using operable windows for ventilation (not even in Newport Beach with its beautiful year-round climate), using landscaping to reduce micro-climatic impacts, employing cost-effective solar hot water heating systems, employing an energy management control system or even study the impact of using inexpensive energy-saving occupancy sensors in rooms to turn off lights.

In other words, NAIOP intentionally kept out of the analysis all the readily available low-cost, no-cost and cost-saving options to reduce a building’s energy consumption. This deliberate omission is glaringly apparent in their press release and in the NY Times article. In fact, they take so many inexpensive, energy-saving options off the table that it is impossible for the imaginary building to reach commonly achievable energy-consumption-reduction targets. They then add an inflammatory headline to their press release, “Results show efficiencies unable to reach 30 percent mandates”, and state that, “The study provides an unbiased insight into the energy targets practical to commercial development today.”

Using this analysis as their baseline, NAIOP goes on to report, without any objective basis, that “reaching a 30 percent reduction above the ASHRAE standard (a commercial building energy code standard) is not feasible using common design approaches and would exceed a 10-year payback.” They conclude, “achieving a 50 percent reduction above the standard is not currently reachable.”

Clearly, this study is meant to confuse the public and stall meaningful legislation, insuring that America remains dependent on foreign oil, natural gas and dirty conventional coal.

The U.S. peaked in oil production in 1970 and natural gas in 1973. Our reserves are in steep decline and 70% of the remaining world oil and gas reserves are located in the Middle East, an area stretching from Saudi Arabia and Iran to the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union. This type of activity by NAIOP not only hurts our country, it is also a disservice to their membership and all those in the Building Sector who work hard to deliver a high-quality, energy-efficient building product.

NAIOP touts itself as advancing responsible commercial real estate development and advocating for effective public policy. This study and misleading campaign accomplishes none of these goals.

The American public deserves better.