sustainability

Making a Difference

5/28/14


By Paul L. Jones
, Founder,
Director, Financial Advisory Services for Emerald Skyline Corporation

 

 

What is the purpose of life? Why are we alive?

These are questions I have asked myself off and on for all of my life – but especially in times of change….of transformation. Do you ever take a minute to ask yourself these questions? Are you living life to the fullest – and not in a hedonistic way?

We all get consumed by the world, with tending to the details at hand, with solving the problems that arise and with the people who mean the most to us. But what are we doing to fulfill our destiny here on earth. We are only given a short time – no more than 120 years and most between 60 and 80 years. It passes so quickly. So what will be our legacy?

Our top priority is to provide for our families. And, this is true. But providing for our family is more than putting a roof over the head and food in the stomach. More than providing a loving environment…even though these are great accomplishments in and of themselves, we also want to provide a better life for the next generation than we have experienced in ours.

We accomplish this by ensuring our families have what they need to survive and prosper – a good, moral code of ethics, a strong belief system, a quality education and as many opportunities as we can provide.

However, what if all of your efforts were for nothing, naught – because you and the rest of humanity failed to steward the resources that were at your disposal such that the life we seek on this planet is sustainable.

Yes, imagine a world where, because the prior generations were gluttonous in their need for comfort, lazy in their search for more efficient ways to provide modern amenities and greedy in their lust for profits that they squandered the rich bounty of resources that Mother Earth provides. This may not be the world we leave for our children but it could be for our children’s children’s children.

We do this by choosing to ignore the reality that all of our natural resources are limited. Yet, until we are able to populate space stations and other planets, these resources are to last until the end of time.

If we do not take to heart the teachings of all major religions and the cry of the scientists regarding climate change, we risk becoming known as the generation who failed to leave the world better off for having lived….we will have failed.

So, it is our responsibility to learn, think and act in a way that promotes the sustainability of our lives, of our businesses, of our planet….

For most, it is following the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle. Families will increasingly be able to use solar energy, buy local food at a farmer’s market, monitor their use of energy, recycle their plastic, glass and metals, and employ other ways to steward the resources at their disposal – which will simultaneously enable them to reduce their overhead leaving more funds for better things than leaving the air conditioning on high when no one is home.

For those of us in real estate, we have a greater opportunity – and responsibility -since commercial real estate accounts for almost 20% of the nation’s annual greenhouse gas emissions (Energy Star) and “the built environment accounts for 39% of total energy use in the US and 38% of total indirect CO2 emissions.” (From Energy efficiency and real estate: Opportunities for investors” commissioned from Mercer Family Fund by Ceres).

Consequently, owners, investors, developers, managers and advisors in real estate – commercial, residential, industrial, hospitality and institutional, have a significant opportunity to provide for their children and all life on this planet – simply by becoming good stewards of the real estate for which we are responsible or have the ability to improve.

Believe it or not, “a 10% decrease in energy use could lead to a 1.5% increase in net operating income (NOI) with even more impressive figures as the energy savings grow” (Energy Star). One of my mentors, Jim Klingeil, taught me over 30 years ago that a dollar saved is ten dollars earned (based on a 10% cap rate). The savings are better now – at today’s cap rates….

The benefits extend beyond the savings in utility costs, they influence tenant desirability and retention, employee morale and our good will in the community. So, becoming a good steward by making your real estate or your business or your home sustainable is now good business – and good for the soul.

Watch in the coming weeks for our Blog, Sustainable Benefits, with food for thought, practical ideas and news you can use….

Seek to make a difference! Be well and be blessed, Paul

Hotel Continues Sustainability Efforts

Boston’s Westin Copley Place upgrades its HVAC system and reaps savings.

By Paul Lin
View the original article here

February 14, 2014

Excluding labor, energy is typically the highest cost that hoteliers face and is the single fastest-growing operating cost in the hospitality industry.[1] According to Flex Your Power and ENERGY STAR statistics, the hospitality industry spends approximately $4 billion per year on energy, with electricity accounting for 60 to 70 percent of the utility costs. And the HVAC system accounts for more than 50 percent of a lodging property’s energy costs.[2] All of which significantly affect the bottom line.

The Environmental Protection Agency has calculated the associated cost savings and concluded that even a 10 percent improvement in energy efficiency is equivalent to increasing average daily room rates by 62 cents and $1.35 for limited-service and full-service hotels, respectively.[3]

Energy Efficiency and Hotels’ Bottom Line

In the hotel sector, reducing energy costs while continuing to meet the diverse needs of guests, owners and corporate requirements is challenging but by no means impossible. Energy efficiency provides hotel owners and operators cost savings that benefit the bottom line. Efficiency also improves the service of capital equipment, enhances guest comfort and demonstrates a commitment to climate stewardship. Environmental friendliness can be a market strength for a hotel brand, which can lead to a better reputation among consumers.

A report by Deloitte, “Risks and Rewards for Building Sustainable Hotels,” cites that both financial incentives and consumer demand are likely to encourage the hospitality industry to continue developing more environmentally friendly hotels, resorts, spas and convention centers. According to the report, “Travelers are increasingly considering sustainability in making travel plans. Business travelers increasingly consider a hotel’s sustainability in making their selections, and 40 percent of those surveyed are willing to pay a premium for it.”[4]

Companies in the lodging industry have realized that environmentally sound practices not only help the environment but can also lead to cost reductions, business expansion and profit growth.

Westin Copley Place

One such company, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, is dedicated to integrating enlightened environmental practices and sustainability principles into all aspects of its business strategy. By collaborating with hotel owners, franchisees, suppliers and business partners, the company actively works to reduce the environmental impact of hotel operations. The company recently set a target of reducing its energy consumption by 30 percent and reducing its water consumption by 20 percent by the year 2020. The goals are company-wide and apply to Starwood-owned and managed hotels.

Westin, one brand of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, incorporated a number of sustainable elements during a renovation of Westin Copley Place in Boston. This 803-room, 37-story hotel is not only determined to provide guests with a phenomenal stay, but the management also understands its responsibility to the environment. The hotel is a recipient of the prestigious Green Key Award in 2010 and one of four hotels in Massachusetts to be recognized as a Green Seal certified hotel.

Glenn Ralfs, Westin Copley Place’s director of engineering and an industry veteran, is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve energy efficiency. He recently participated in an upgrade to the hotel’s HVAC system by installing energy-efficient motors to the heating and cooling systems in the guestrooms. This entailed replacing existing motors with Regal Genteq Eon 42 ECM motors in all 803 guest rooms as a way to provide improved guestroom temperature resulting in a more satisfying guest experience.

Hydronic fan coils are heating and cooling devices that utilize hot and/or cold water as a thermal source. That water is typically provided by a central system, consisting of a boiler, chiller and other ancillary equipment. Fan coils are extremely quiet and reliable, have low operating costs and remarkably long life cycles. The Westin Copley Place utilizes a two-pipe system which circulates chilled water to provide cooling and an electric strip for heating.

“The benefits of this system are threefold: increased guests’ comfort, energy savings and motor controllability,” says Mike Rosenkranz, Gexpro energy specialist. Gexpro, an electrical distribution company, specializes in energy efficiency solutions which range from lighting, power quality, solar, energy management, drives and motors. Gexpro teamed up with JK Energy Solutions, a provider of energy efficiency services, to engineer a turnkey solution to help the Westin Copley Place achieve its energy efficiency goals.

The designers expect the guestroom energy management system is 80 percent more energy-efficient than the previous HVAC system and plan on saving the property an estimated 400,000 kWh annually. Additionally, due to the high kWh savings, the property expects a return on investment in approximately 2.3 years.

“In a hospitality property, unlike in some other commercial buildings, updated HVAC systems must be achieved with a high priority on quiet operation and good air quality to complete the guest experience,” says Ralfs. “Additionally, as the director of engineering, I need to be knowledgeable of ways to reduce our energy costs and consumption; ECM motors are an excellent way to meet all of these objectives.”

 

  1. www.cpr-energy.com/energy-awareness
  2. Joel Hill, “Boosting HVAC energy efficiency,” Lodging, February 13, 2013.
  3. www.energystar.gov/ia/business/EPA_BUM_Full.pdf (accessed 10/10/13).
  4. The Staying Power of Sustainability, Deloitte Publication, 2008.

Green Is the New Black: Levi’s, Nike Among Marketers Pushing Sustainability

View the original article here

Responding to a consumer behavior shift By Joan Voight

Levi’s boasts of designer jeans made out of used plastic bottles. Nike tempts runners with knitted sneakers that it claims cut manufacturing waste by 88 percent. These products may be the tip of a marketing iceberg, as new research shows a growing pool of global consumers are demanding that mainstream brands be sustainable.

“It’s not about offering a niche green product,” said Jonathan Kirby, vp of global men’s design for Levi Strauss. “We’re working to build sustainability into everything—from the cotton fields to our supply chain, to our stores, to our designs across product lines.”

Case in point: Each pair of Levi’s Waste<Less collection of jeans, launched in Spring 2012, is made from about eight recycled plastic bottles, Kirby said.

Nike takes a similar approach with the FlyKnit shoes it debuted last year, which are marketed as a high-tech advancement using yarn instead of leather uppers for a better fit and a reduction in waste. “FlyKnit is a great example of our innovation and commitment to products and services that are better for athletes, our planet and our investors,” said a company rep. “We’ve seen a strong response from runners and it’s safe to say it’s going to be a big [sales] year for FlyKnit.”

Numbers confirm that shoppers are increasingly seeing green. More than a third of global consumers, including 40 percent of millennials, view style, status and environmentalism as intertwined, per a 2013 survey by brand consultancy BBMG. These consumers love shopping and overwhelmingly desire responsible consumption. “For them, sustainability has changed from being ‘the right thing to do’ to being ‘the cool thing to do,’” said Raphael Bemporad, BBMG’s chief strategy officer.

Target is tapping into the trend with its “Sustainable Product Standard,” unveiled earlier this month. Household cleaners, beauty and baby products that pass the standard will be advertised with the “Choose Well” designation and get unique product placement, said a company rep. “This new standard is a first step toward sustainable innovation in our full product assortment,” she said.

In contrast, consumer goods companies like Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble are playing catch-up, with green initiatives focused mainly on the supply chain, said Bemporad.

J&J, for instance, recognizes 34 of its consumer items as sustainable through an in-house “Earthwards” evaluation, which includes R&D, marketing and the supply chain. The plan is for “marketing to leverage Earthwards’ claims for brands, such as Neutrogena and Johnson’s, in ways that relate to the products’ core benefits,” said Paulette Frank, vp of sustainability for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies. “We’re still learning how to communicate and engage with consumers on our product sustainability improvements,” she added.

But the CPG giants risk becoming outdated as green design and marketing become the new normal in their categories. “It’s the ratchet effect,” said Nigel Hollis, chief global analyst at brand consultancy Millward Brown. “Look at the way Method spurred Clorox to launch the Green Works products. Once one brand in a category incorporates sustainability in a way that benefits the consumer at a fair price, it is tough for competitors not to respond in kind.”

 

The Alphabet Soup of Transparency Tools

How do EPDs, HPDs, and PTDs fit into LCA?

By Christopher Curtland , Buidlings, 3/17/2014
View the original article here

Green certification shouldn’t feel like a game of Scrabble, but if you pursue certain tools, you’ll score a bonus in sustainability.

There are a growing number of acronyms in the industry, so it’s important you don’t get them jumbled. Learn how Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Product Transparency Declarations (PTDs), and Health Product Declarations (HPDs) differ.

Lifecycle assessment (LCA) is factored into all three, and they could help you achieve LEED status or other designations.

 

Declarations of Disclosure


EPDs, HPDs, and PTDs were developed by SCS Global Services to effectively promote transparency, accuracy, scientific credibility, and comparability across several interior products.

While there is some overlap among the tools in terms of ingredient disclosure, they vary in how they report the impact of those ingredients on lifecycle, occupant health, and other criteria.

EPDs are summary reports of product-related environmental impacts based on a cradle-to-grave lifecycle assessment. HPDs are disclosures of product content and potential health hazards from chemicals of concern.

“There are two types of EPDs – basic for those seeking LEED v4 credits, and ‘full transparency’ EPDs that provide more comprehensive information based on advanced LCA,” says Stowe Beam, managing director of SCS’s division of environmental certification services. “HPDs enable companies to communicate the safety of potentially hazardous chemicals.”

PTDs are for products that undergo a health hazard assessment. They go a step beyond HPDs by disclosing intentionally added ingredients, including heavy metals. They acknowledge materials on six authoritative lists (see below) and indicate whether the ingredient level triggers an exposure warning notification based on the content.

“It’s a marriage between ingredient and exposure disclosure,” says Dean Thomson, president of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. “PTDs also detail recycled content and VOC emissions.”

 

How to Use Them to Your Advantage


Think of these tools as nutritional labels for interiors products. They are all voluntary, so if a manufacturer has pursued them, you can feel confident in their commitment to sustainability.

Instead of using these designations as the basis for an apples-to-oranges comparison, they’re more apt for comparing Red Delicious to Granny Smith. The tools may seem the same at first glance, but their differences outweigh the similarities.

 

Ingredients and Health Risks

 

  • PTDs reference several hazardous materials identified by these six authorities:
  • International Agency on the Research of Cancer Terminology
  • National Toxicology Program
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  • California Proposition 65
  • EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory
  • REACH Substances of Very High Concern

 

After digesting the alphabet soup of disclosure, ask yourself three key questions:

How is the product being sourced and delivered? Shipping a sustainable product overseas likely defeats its purpose.

 

How will the product be used? Cleaning solutions, wear and tear, room temperature, and moisture can significantly affect a product’s performance.

 

What happens at end-of-life? If a manufacturer offers recycling and disposal services, that’s a bonus. You don’t want the product to end up in a landfill.

And remember, these tools are meant to make your life easier, not harder.

“EPDs, PTDs, and HPDs present a product’s ecological impact in a way that is

easy to comprehend,” explains Dave Kitts, vice president of environment at flooring manufacturer Mannington. “Lifecycle assessments are very detailed and granular. They have a scientific feel and are hard to understand. These tools standardize environmental information for an average reader.”

 

Chris Curtland is assistant editor of BUILDINGS.

Stimulating Innovation to Create More Sustainable Cities

Andre Veneman is corporate director for sustainability and HSE with AkzoNobel .Environmental Leader, 11/12/2014
View the original article here

It won’t be long before the world’s population reaches nine billion and by 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. All around the globe, population explosions are putting city infrastructure under severe strain. And at the same time climate change is posing serious challenges.

How will we cope? Can our cities accommodate so many people?

Yes it can, but we have to do things differently. We have to use our ambition and imagination to more efficiently manage the world’s limited resources.

Ultimately, the future health of our cities – and the people who live there – will hinge on our ability to do radically more with less. We need more innovation, less traditional solutions, more collaboration and less introverted thinking.

The widespread idea that innovation is driven by a lonely genius, a specific department, or a special group of champion innovators is not the case. Instead, success hinges on organizing and driving innovation through a team effort and a strong sense of a shared mission.

For many businesses, this should start with building strong relationships between different departments.

The problem is that in large corporations there is often a strong inward orientation. The structures, rules and regulations in place can hamper the ability to establish open relationships — both within an organization and externally. Perhaps the biggest challenge that companies face is creating a more open and forward-looking mindset; that is, thinking beyond current business issues and immediate future horizons.

To engage in sustainable innovation successfully, companies need to be prepared to work in a much more collaborative way. This means working effectively across procurement, operations, marketing and sales functions, and by partnering with suppliers and customers. A strong alignment between sourcing, research & development and marketing, for example, is vitally important to delivering sustainable solutions that work commercially and provide a practical benefit to urban environments.

A collaborative approach will make it possible to not only uncover exciting new ideas but help those ideas reach market faster than what would be possible through traditional models.

At AkzoNobel, we believe in establishing a collaborative, welcoming environment where ideas can be explored. When people have an idea, they are encouraged to reach out to anyone in the network to pursue the opportunity.

For example, on a flight home from a meeting, Peter Greenwood, a business development manager, came up with the idea to add colloidal silica to paint to enhance its self-cleaning properties. When he returned to the office, he reached out to another department to explore the idea. Before we knew it, a cross-departmental collaboration had developed between AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals and Decorative Paints Business Areas resulting in a coating that can last up to 16 years, 25% longer than a standard product.

 

These types of collaborations are encouraged among senior level management. Of course, linking up departments is not enough on its own. They need to be aligned and focused on identifying sustainable solutions that customers need. Our company has a strong track record of creating innovations that benefit not only our customers but urban environments across the globe.

Sometimes, the insight to enhance urban environments comes from unexpected places. Our research and development team, for example, observed animals in nature to determine how they withstand cold and prevent ice from forming in their bodies. That insight led to Ecosel AsphaltProtection, a fully biodegradable additive for deicing brine. It works by slowing the freezing process, resulting in soft, slushy ice, rather than hard, abrasive ice.

There are many opportunities for businesses to develop commercially viable and sustainable product offerings that could make our cities more enjoyable, liveable and resilient. The key to success lies in the business model and in making the right connections: engaging effectively across the whole value chain and working in an open way open way with external stakeholders such as city councils, urban planners, NGOs, businesses and universities.

Companies can play an important role in safeguarding the future health of our cities. The world is changing and businesses must change with it to provide innovative products that make the world a better place.

Read more: http://www.environmentalleader.com/2014/11/12/stimulating-innovation-to-create-more-sustainable-cities/#ixzz3IsDERqfV

Monetizing Sustainability Investments for Business Decision Making

Tod Christenson, John Platko, Antea Group, 5/27/2014

View the original article here

Today’s sustainability investment options are extensive and broad ranging, including relatively straightforward efforts (e.g., energy conservation projects) to multi-year/multi-stakeholder initiatives (like those that target social and environmental improvements deep within an organization’s supply-chain). While doing any or all of these could yield significant benefits, it is often unclear which will generate the greatest, most enduring value. Faced with this dilemma, leaders often struggle to understand which choices are best and how they should evaluate the many alternatives to ensure the most effective, efficient and sustainable decisions are made.

One way to improve would be to encourage better, more quantitative analyses that examine the full costs and benefits associated each investment in sustainability, combined with an analysis of which could make the greatest contribution for the business, the environment and society simultaneously.

While most understand that “when the economics work, the social and environmental benefits last,” many barriers remain for those wishing to accelerate the pace and effectiveness at which sustainability initiatives are funded and implemented, including:

  • the lack of a demonstrated link between sustainability and business value;
  • failure to communicate the strategic potential of such efforts in a way investment decision-makers can understand and appreciate; and
  • not leveraging proven, familiar processes (that other company functions have applied) to accelerate decision-making and scale solution implementation.

Accenture’s 2013 CEO survey (UN-Global Compact – Accenture CEO Study 2013: Sustainable business and the pace of change) seems to agree, reporting that 37% of 1,000 top executives feel that the lack of a clear link to business value is a critical factor in deterring them from taking faster action on sustainability. It should be noted that this percentage is increasing: in 2007, just 18% reported a failure to trace such a link and in 2010, this figure rose to 30%.

Our experience confirms this trend, as we regularly note good projects that do not receive sufficient (or any) investment as these initiatives are perceived as failing to deliver competitive business value.

From our vantage point, there are two principal challenges that need to be overcome for sustainability to be viewed as a more critical contributor:

First, the “equations” for presenting business cases do not sufficiently include all the benefits of investing in sustainability – specifically, these efforts should include an accounting of potential contributions such investments could make in terms of:

  • Offsetting of risk (brand risk, reputation risk, supply/commodity risk, regulatory risk, etc.);
  • Delivering efficiency gains; and/or
  • Adding revenue/market share (via innovation and/or building brand/reputational equity).

Without accounting for and quantifying all these dimensions, sustainability investments risk appearing less important than other business investments and hence are perceived as not carrying as much “strategic weight.”

Second, sustainability departments are generally not equipped to build and pitch multi-dimensional business cases – this requires a combination of strategic, financial and political skills rarely found among these practitioners. Challenging questions are being posed, and few confident answers are being provided:

  • Are we realizing value expected from existing, funded sustainability initiatives?
  • We have many sustainability investment choices, but which ones are the best for our business?
  • How confident are we that our actions will yield the tangible and intangible benefits promised by the business case?
  • Do we understand the true business impact and cost of doing nothing?
  • How do we increase the reliability and credibility of our business case analyses, and therein, how can we increase the confidence of our sustainability investment decision-making?

Value Creation: Business & Sustainability

Linking sustainability to value creation is becoming a new imperative for business leaders. As such, investments in sustainability must be more connected to both business and societal benefits, improving management of risks/costs and stimulating growth and/or innovation, while simultaneously helping companies better meet societal and environmental expectations and obligations. When building the case, leading organizations are increasingly articulating associated sustainability benefits within a clear and simple framework, one that illustrates how these investments can better protect, strengthen, and/or advance the business.

Frequently, benefits of this sort are intangible, uncertain and generally difficult to quantify in ways that are credible and agreeable to all decision-makers. Determining the appropriate level of analysis, who must be engaged, what input is required, etc., is often a challenge requiring innovative, clever leadership, clear process and strong cross functional engagement to ensure success. Commonly, those that pursue such efforts ensure they always ask:

  • Am I using the right vernacular, do I understand, and more importantly, use terminology and methods familiar to financial and other decision-makers, or am I only talking in “sustainability speak?”
  • Have I considered all relevant costs or benefits (tangible or intangible) in my analysis?
  • Have I engaged the appropriate internal domain or functional experts to gather data, experience and methods needed to build a credible, monetized investment analysis?
  • Have I accommodated and considered future variability and other possibilities that could impact decisions or outcomes?

Innovators Are Creating the Case for Sustainability Today

Ultimately, value-adding sustainability investments protect, strengthen and/or advance business endeavors while simultaneously improving the environment and society’s well-being. Clearer demonstration of such value creation capability is becoming more common as innovative organizations repurpose standard management and strategic tools to deliver a more compelling case for sustainable investment and action.

As a consultant to private industry for more than 30 years, Tod Christenson partners with clients to develop and implement fit-for-purpose and innovative solutions to drive sustainability across the entire value chain. He has unique skills and expertise in the areas of strategic thinking and planning methods, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, organizational diagnosis and coaching, and benchmarking.

John Platko has nearly 30 years of business, sustainability, environmental, health and safety leadership experience. His client engagements involve the development and implementation of strategies, plans and programs that emphasize simultaneous creation of business, environmental and social value for private sector clients operating domestically and internationally. John has led projects in more than 40 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Pacific Rim. He is a founding member of the company’s sustainability practice; a leader in Antea Group’s Accounting For Sustainability – AA4S decision-support service; and the primary architect of iEHS, the company’s web-based environmental, health, safety and sustainability information management platform.

Right-Size Your Ventilation Needs

Learn how demand control ventilation can reduce energy use

By Jennie Morton
View the original article here

Can ventilation requirements and energy conservation go hand in hand? They can if you implement demand control ventilation (DCV).

There’s no reason to waste energy conditioning air for people who aren’t in your building. Instead of supplying air at fixed rates, DCV automatically adjusts ventilation levels based on real-time occupancy measurements. This strategy allows you to meet code and reduce energy use without sacrificing indoor air quality.

EXHAUST YOUR OPTIONS
The problem with traditional ventilation is that it cannot distinguish between actual vs. projected occupancy. As outlined in ASHRAE 62.1-2013, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality, ventilation rates are calculated using two factors: square footage and peak occupancy.

Since square footage is a constant, any fluctuations on the occupancy side of the equation give rise to energy waste. With travel, sick days, vacation, and inclement weather, your building is rarely at capacity. In fact, human resources data shows an average of 75% of workers will be in attendance at any given time.

Without a way to calculate the actual headcount, your HVAC system operates as if maximum occupancy occurs on a continuous basis. If you can eliminate the excess air supply whenever fewer people are present, however, you have an opportunity to capture energy savings.

To have a responsive, intelligent HVAC system, you need to implement demand control ventilation. This strategy recognizes when a space has fewer people than scheduled and drops ventilation levels accordingly, explains Daniel Nall, senior vice president with Thornton Tomasetti, an engineering firm. Air supply is calculated using verified headcounts rather than occupancy projections. DCV is no different than using occupancy sensors to control lights – both ensure energy is conserved when there’s no activity in a space that justifies its use.

For example, offices need to supply 5 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per person in addition to a baseline of 0.06 cfm per square foot, Nall explains. Unoccupied, a 250-square-foot office needs 15 cfm to meet the ASHRAE standard. With one individual present, this increases to 20 cfm. Using DCV to sense when the room is empty, you can scale back the ventilation from 20 to 15 cfm, a 25% decrease in air supply. These savings are then multiplied across any room that has DCV capability.

If your occupancy variations are known in advance, DCV may be as simple as using a basic schedule in a building management system, says Jules C. Nohra, manager for energy efficiency at SourceOne, an energy consulting and management firm. Those with irregular or unforeseen occupancy fluctuations, however, will require sensors that can determine how many people are present. These include education, retail, conference areas, performance venues, lobbies, and offices with a mobile workforce or flex hours.

Carbon dioxide monitoring is by far the most common way to determine occupancy, says Thomas Lawrence, senior public service associate with the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia. The technology is well-established and straightforward to implement. CO2 isn’t treated as a contaminant that needs to have its levels controlled (a common misconception), but as a representation for the number of bodies in a space.

“Carbon dioxide measurements act as a surrogate for occupancy because humans generate an average volume per hour,” explains Nall. “By calculating the concentration differential between internal CO2 volumes and the outside air, you can estimate the number of people in your building. For example, if your CO2 concentration doubles, then occupancy has doubled.”

Occupancy sensors, such as the infrared ones you pair with lighting controls, can also be used. These are the most effective in individual work spaces and private offices, Lawrence observes. For a zone with multiple workers, however, they don’t offer fine enough measurements to calculate total attendance.

For example, think of an open floor plan that houses 30 people. The occupancy sensor will trip when the first person arrives, but it can’t scan the room an hour later to see if all 30 workers showed up that day. It also can’t detect if 15 of those employees move to another part of the building for a two-hour meeting, leaving the space over-ventilated during that period.

Entertainment venues may be able to use ticket sales to confirm a headcount. Other facilities can derive occupancy by counting cell phone signals present in the facility, Lawrence says. It’s also possible to have IT report the number of active computers, assuming that each device fired up represents a person in the space. If you use an access control system and it can interface with your BAS, each card swipe, keypad entry, or turnstile rotation can count toward occupancy.

INSTALL WITH AN AIR OF CONFIDENCE
Integrating demand control ventilation is heavily influenced by your existing HVAC system, such as whether your ventilation is combined with heating and cooling or is a standalone function.

“For example, adding DCV to a packaged rooftop unit may be as simple as including the CO2 sensor with a controller that has the DCV control logic built into it. Such a system likely serves only one or a few occupied zones, making it simpler to control CO2 levels,” explains Lawrence. “A larger building with central air handling, however, may serve many occupied zones. Determining the proper amount of outdoor air to bring in at the central air handling unit is also complicated by the variable occupancy patterns within the multiple zones.”

Say your VAV system supplies air to a large conference area and a group of private offices. To scale back the ventilation when the conference room is empty means that you risk the possibility of underventilating the offices at the same time. To avoid this scenario, you will need air flow sensors that measure the amount of air going to each space as well as the outside air that’s being drawn through the air handling unit, says Nall.

CO2 sensors are typically installed in the occupied space instead of ductwork because return air is an average of all conditioned spaces rather than an individual area, state ASHRAE members Mike Schell and Dan Inthout in their article Demand Control Ventilation Using CO2. Duct sensors can be used if all ventilated spaces share common occupancy patterns; otherwise, sensors should be wall-mounted.

“Avoid installing in areas near doors, air intakes or exhausts, or open windows,” advise Schell and Inthout. “Because people breathing on the sensor can affect the reading, find a location where it is unlikely that people will be standing in close proximity (2 feet) to the sensor. One sensor should be placed in each zone where occupancy is expected to vary. Sensors can be designed to operate with VAV-based zones or to control larger areas up to 5,000 square feet.”

Switching to DCV will typically require additional building management system points, new setpoints, and new control codes for dampers, Nohra notes. This may include a controller or DDC programming to communicate either directly with the economizer controller or a central control system, specifies the DOE in its 2012 report on demand control ventilation.
You should also make sure outdoor dampers are operable and not stuck in fixed positions, stresses Lawrence. It’s not unusual to find air intakes blocked in a misguided attempt to save energy. There may also be missing equipment, such as economizer controls with modulating air dampers that were specified but never installed.

Once the DCV sequencing has been established, the system requires minimal maintenance. CO2 sensors should be recalibrated periodically as their accuracy will drift over time. Consult your manufacturer guidelines, which may recommend recalibration every five years, annually, or every six months. Lawrence also recommends sensor testing prior to launch in case the product is deficient or was damaged during installation.

A BREEZY SOLUTION
Demand control ventilation isn’t a flashy energy efficiency project, but it consistently generates payback under five years or less. Paybacks can also be achieved more quickly if the system incorporates lighting and electrical outlets (vampire energy) controls. For upfront investments, owners can expect to pay less than $100 for occupancy sensors, Nall estimates. CO2 sensors can cost several hundred dollars per unit, adds Lawrence.

“The installation costs for a DCV project vary significantly depending on building size, existing infrastructure, and control requirements. An owner can expect to pay approximately $1,000 to $2,000 per point on average,” Nohra adds.
Nall was recently involved with a renovation project that incorporated DCV by using occupancy sensors. A series of perimeter offices and those adjacent to an atrium were paired with a dedicated outside air system and variable speed fan coils.

Each 160-square-foot office has a two-position damper. The default setting for an unoccupied office delivers 10 cfm of outside air. Anticipating occupant diversity when the office is in use, the secondary position is configured for three guests at 25 cfm.

“This ensures that we’re providing the minimum ventilation for the maximum expected occupancy,” Nall stresses.
Whenever the system senses the room is unoccupied, it can scale back ventilation to 40% of peak flow. The project cost less than $1,000 per office and since the occupancy sensor controls ambient lighting and power receptacles, the payback is under five years. The DCV capability also meets the LEED credit for increasing ventilation by 30%.

Lawrence also oversaw a DCV project at the University of Georgia. The retrofit converted a single classroom, but has seen great success since its installation. Payback was achieved in less than two years and there are plans to adapt more areas in the future.

“Regardless of the actual design standard, energy savings with a DCV retrofit should focus on a comparison to the existing ventilation patterns, even if they do not match current codes or standards,” emphasizes Lawrence. “If a building is not providing ventilation that meets existing standards, then the primary benefits of DCV are indoor air quality.”

Jennie Morton jennie.morton@buildings.com is senior editor of BUILDINGS.

Survey: Doctors Key in Promoting Positive Impacts of Healthy Building Design, Construction & Maintenance

June 27, 2014
Original post here

The critical connection between a healthy building environment and patient health is often missed by the one group of professionals who may matter most – physicians, according to a new SmartMarket report by McGraw Hill Construction sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), United Technologies Corp. and other partners.

“It’s becoming clear from this initial research that doctors and other health professionals must engage with architects and the design community in a major way if we are to be successful in improving public health through design,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “We look forward to furthering that dialogue with physicians and to helping support additional research into this critical public health issue.”

The survey results were announced at the opening session American Institute of Architects Annual Convention.
The report, “The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings: The Market Drivers and Impact of Building Design on Occupant Health, Well-Being and Productivity,” finds that though 18 percent of homeowners say that doctors are their primary source for information on healthy home products and decisions, only 53 percent of pediatricians, 32 percent of family doctors/general practitioners and 40 percent of psychiatrists believe that buildings even impact patient health. Only 15 percent report receiving any information on this connection, but the results also reveal that a key challenge is not just getting information to them but gaining their attention in ways that would alter their perspective, with nearly a quarter (22 percent) reporting that more information would likely not change what they do today. You can access the full report.

The study suggests that getting more information to this group is essential to help create demand for more healthy building design and construction, given the limited understanding that physicians demonstrate of building health impacts. Physician awareness and recommendation of more fundamental healthy building design and construction practices that connect with the health risks of most concern to public health—lack of exercise, chronic stress, poor diet and obesity—could help create the market demand needed to drive investment, but only if physicians expand their engagement with these issues.

Today, the only issue the medical practitioners agree is a link between buildings and health is around mold and mildew, but that is only one of a plethora of factors in building decisions that could impact health.
“Most homeowners rely on family members and friends or colleagues to influence their choices of healthy products and practices, with very few seeking advice from builders, remodelers, contractors and architects who know most about how these decisions affect the occupant. As the construction industry increases its engagement in healthy building, this represents an opportunity for industry professionals to assist clients make decisions in order to positively impact their health,” said Harvey M. Bernstein, F.ASCE, LEED AP, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw Hill Construction.

The report also finds that, contrary to the position held by physicians, the general public is aware of the link between buildings and people’s health.
• 63 percent of homeowners believe products and practices they use at home affect their health, with the majority (50 percent) pointing to impact on allergies, followed by asthma/respiratory illnesses (32 percent) and headaches/migraines (30 percent).
• 90 percent of homeowners believe school buildings affect student health/productivity, and 95 percent believe hospital buildings and operations affect patient/staff health and productivity.
Human resource executives also recognize the link between buildings and health, with its top emphasis on spaces that encourage social interaction. Sixty-six percent of their companies consider spaces for social interaction when making leasing decisions today, and even more (75 percent) expect it will be considered in the future. Yet, the architect community is not as attuned to this need, with creating spaces for social integration being eighth in a list of key factors. This gap suggests the industry needs to be more sensitive to this issue given how the millennial and subsequent generations work, learn and interact and thus, improve their productivity.

The report reflects a landmark research project that is the first to span across five key stakeholders that influence the prevalence of healthy design and construction practices in buildings, including the physicians noted above, construction industry professionals in the residential and non-residential sectors, owner HR executives and homeowners. The breadth of the study is essential in critical gaps between stakeholder responses that are preventing the design and construction industry from fully capitalizing on the specific healthy building investments sought by other stakeholders.
The report reveals the increasing attention industry professionals and owners are placing on health in design and construction plans—as well as some of the needs the industry has to increase these efforts.

According to the study:
• All firms are reporting increases in addressing occupant health in design and construction decisions—59 percent of owners, with architects leading other players in adoption of healthy practices.
• Firms that are doing more green building work are also more attuned to health issues.
• Owners need more data and greater public awareness of the health impacts of products, practices and buildings holistically in order to support additional healthy building investments. Those are reported as the top drivers at 40 percent and 48 percent of owners, respectively.

“Green buildings have real, proven health benefits including improved employee productivity, lower health care costs and reduced absenteeism,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “This study shows that human resource professionals and building owners see the benefit of investing in a healthier physical work environment — in fact, 66 percent of those who measured occupant well-being saw an improvement after moving to a green building.”

The report cites the need for further investigation into the specific benefits of different design, construction and product decisions, in order to overcome obstacles to investments in these areas that influence health and wellbeing.
The study is comprised of five separate market research surveys, all benchmarking at the 95 percent confidence level—(1) survey of architects, contractors and owners in nonresidential construction; (2) survey of residential builders, architects, remodelers and interior designers; (3) survey of U.S. homeowners; (4) survey of human resource executives at U.S. firms; and (5) survey of medical professionals, including general practitioners, pediatricians and psychologists/psychiatrists. Each survey captures the unique perspective of these stakeholders in terms of their awareness of healthy building impact, use of healthy building products and practices and drivers for them to prioritize health factors in future building decisions. More detailed findings on insights from all these groups are in the report.
“The Drive Toward Healthier Buildings: The Market Drivers and Impact of Building Design on Occupant Health, Well-Being and Productivity SmartMarket” Report was produced by McGraw Hill Construction in partnership with the American Institute of Architects and other premier research partners: United Technologies, CB Richard Ellis and the U.S. Green Building Council. Other support for the project was provided by the project’s two supporting research partners—the American Society of Interior Designers and Delos—and contributing partners Armstrong Ceilings Systems and Armstrong Commercial Flooring, Dewberry, Integral Group, Sloan Valve Company, Urban Land Institute, U.S. Green Building Council—Northern California Chapter, Webcor and the World Green Building Council.