What Does it Mean to be a High Performance Building?

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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.

Article by David Pospisil, 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 Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.