One of the primary considerations for architects and designers in green building design is the energy efficiency of the building as a functioning whole – and of course of the individual design elements that make up the building. Energy efficiency is playing an ever more important role in buildings that aim towards particular sustainability goals, such as Zero Net Energy.
While there are many tools – such as BIM tools – that can assist in the phasing and planning of energy efficiency considerations for your building, it always helps to have a guide. Here we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to achieve energy efficiency goals for your green building.
Step 1: Set Your Targets
According to an Acquire report that outlines these steps, gaining a deeper understanding of how your building truly operates can help you to make more educated decisions on how and where you can make improvements that are aligned with energy efficiency.
Using their building operations checklist can serve as a guideline necessary for knowing where to ask the critical questions about your building’s operational efficiency and further understanding how it can improve.
Setting your own targets can prove difficult if you don’t have a benchmark for how your building could and should be functioning optimally. Making use of tools such as EnergyStar’s benchmark performance for buildings is a great way to go about setting measurable and realistic energy performance targets specific to your project.
Step 2: Get Your Team on Board
Once you have outlined the key areas for improvements in energy efficiency in your building, you will need all members of your team – and others involved in the project – to align with the same goals you’ve set, if you want to affect any of the changes you want to make.
You can motivate them by using your Energy Star Score to set the benchmarks of where you want to get to with your energy performance. Communicate your targets – and your plan for reaching them – clearly and openly so that others can get involved in helping you reach them.
Step 3: Use Real-Time Data
If you really want to understand the performance of your building, you will need to listen to its pulse. There are a number of highly effective metering technologies available that will enable you to view the performance of your building in real-time during different stages of the day. In particular, web-enabled meters that connect to a cloud service are particularly effective for allowing everyone involved in the project to gain insights into how, when and where the building is using energy.
Once this information is gathered, it can then be used to optimize the scheduling of how much energy your building should be using and when. It can also be used to help lower the building’s baseload, to ensure that the building is not using energy when it doesn’t need to.
It is still important to monitor your real-time energy reports across the various platforms in place for processing the data even after the initial changes in energy use have been made. This will help to continue saving energy as the energy cycle of the building changes, and to avoid making costly mistakes.
Achieving energy efficient goals in a green building can be a mammoth task, but using the right processes at the right time, and keeping all key project members involved can help to make it easier and more manageable. Using the abovementioned steps in planning and changing your buildings’ energy use will help you reach those goals and go on to a true green building – a building for the future.