Budding Success with Green Roof Incentives

The silver city townhomes in Milwaukee, WI, earned a $172,278 grant from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Sewerage District toward its green roof project.PHOTO CREDIT: XERO FLOR AMERICA LLC If you want your next roofing project to come up roses, you might consider growing some up there – and if you really want to gild the lily, plant some incentive funding into the plot. …

10 Smart Building Myths Busted

Smart buildings are a no-brainer and more affordable than most building owners and investors realize. Smart buildings have been proven to save energy, streamline facilities management and prevent expensive equipment failures. Yet, to many property owners and investors, the value of smart buildings remains a mystery. The fact is, in most buildings, we can demonstrate a strong business case for …

Overlooked Low- and No-Cost Energy Efficient Opportunities

What is an often overlooked low- or no-cost technique for saving energy in building systems? Tenant engagement is a valuable tool to educate and get occupants on board with a building wide energy and sustainability program. How a space is designed and occupied plays a big role in the overall building energy performance, which is reflected in a building’s Energy …

Big Strides in HVAC and Lighting Efficiency

There have been big strides made recently in efficiency in HVAC and lighting. What do you see as the next area that offers the potential for improved energy efficiency? Tenant spaces typically account for 50-70 percent of a building’s overall energy use, and building owners who effectively engage with tenants to build out and operate energy efficient leased space will …

Getting Back On Energy Budget After a Rough Winter

Most of the country had a pretty rough winter, and that led to a lot of people going over their energy budget. What can facility managers do now that the weather’s improving to help make up for some of that spending? Spring is an excellent time to take stock of a building’s annual utility expenses and map out an energy …

Quick reads on variable refrigerant flow systems

1. Variable-refrigerant Flow (VRF) Systems: Weighing Benefits And Limitations Variable-refrigerant flow (VRF) systems have been used for the better part of three decades in Europe and Asia. While clearly not as common in North America, the design has been catching on — mostly for its ability to respond to fluctuations in space load conditions. Because of this, it excels at saving money …

Building Operators are Crucial to Energy Advancements

According to a study of energy-use behavior that focused on medium and large office buildings in California, reducing energy use in buildings requires more than isolated changes to technologies or individual behaviors. The study, Behavioral Strategies to Bridge the Gap Between Potential and Actual Savings in Commercial Buildings, conducted by the California Air Resources Board and the University of California Davis, recommends that future …

Net zero energy for retail is possible

Jason Robbins, Walgreens manager of mechanical engineering, and Jamie Meyers, manager of sustainability at Walgreens, discuss the energy-efficient technologies used in the net-zero drugstore in Evanston. Imagine paying pennies for your utility bill. Better yet, imagine paying nothing. That’s the chimera architects, scientists, and building owners have chased for decades. “Net-zero” energy is a simple enough concept; it’s the idea …

Facility Managers Can Educate Tenants To Reduce Complaints

One effective strategy for minimizing the number of complaints is to educate building occupants about the situation that is generating the complaints. Consider this story from Joan Woodard, president and CEO of Simons & Woodard Inc. Canada geese can be pests, so you’d think a story involving them would be about complaints around the noise, their waste, or how aggressive they …

California’s First Net Zero Energy Library

Editor’s Foreword: During my college years, I used to swing by the West Berkeley Public Library on University Avenue after shopping at the nearby art stores for my studio projects. I remember its dismal entrance, dim lighting, and run-down furniture squeezed into tight quarters. I’m so excited to learn that it has been replaced with a beautiful, modern, and green building, …