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Berkeley Lab Develops Kit to Help HVAC Contractors Bring Energy Management to Small Commercial Buildings
In the commercial buildings sector, there
is no shortage of opportunities to improve building performance and
energy efficiency. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration
statistics from the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, 95
percent of commercial buildings in the United States are 50,000 square
feet or less. These small buildings account for 44 percent of all
commercial buildings energy use.
Because large commercial buildings and multi-building facilities are more likely to have dedicated energy or facilities managers, large buildings are most likely to benefit from the considerable growth in energy management systems, and commissioning and building energy performance services—the industry that has grown up around improving both the bottom line of the energy bill, and the operations and comfort of commercial-sector facilities. However small buildings are unlikely to have dedicated building operations staff, who know how to take advantage of these services. The average energy bill of a small commercial building is about $23,000 annually. Often, the decision to implement energy saving measures is based on simple payback period: if energy savings are 10 percent, the budget for energy efficiency services at these sites may only be $2,000-5,000.
Now, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a package of simple analytical steps—and a strategy—designed to bring better energy management and efficiency improvements by way of the service providers who are already taking care of these buildings: the HVAC contractors.
The Energy Management Package (EMP), developed with the help of contractors and small building owners, is now available for free at this website. The EMP can help HVAC contractors expand the business they do with small building owners by providing a simple step-by-step guide to provide basic energy management services.
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