May 2012

Innovations in Comfort, Efficiency, and Safety Solutions.

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Amy MusserEMAIL INTERVIEW – Amy Musser and Ken Sinclair

Amy Musser, Ph.D., P.E. is the incoming chair of ASHRAE's bEQ committee, and is a certified Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP).

ASHRAE is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. Its mission is to advance the arts and sciences of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigerating to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world.

ASHRAE's Building Energy Quotient (bEQ)

The bEQ rating focuses solely on a building’s energy use and provides a greater differentiation for high performance buildings, emphasizing net zero energy. 

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Sinclair:  Why has ASHRAE created a building labeling program?

Musser:  With over 100 years of experience in the building sciences and technology, ASHRAE has strong technical expertise across all aspects of building design and operation and has earned respect and credibility within the building community.   As building labeling has become widespread, ASHRAE saw this as an opportunity to support consistent mandatory programs worldwide, to provide a technically sound vehicle for complying with disclosure laws, and to promote high performance buildings.

Sinclair:  How is Building Energy Quotient (bEQ) different from other programs like Energy Star and LEED?

Musser:  The bEQ rating focuses solely on a building’s energy use and provides a greater differentiation for high performance buildings, emphasizing net zero energy.   The In Operation rating includes additional building types beyond what is available under ENERGY STAR.   There is a greater focus on understanding the building’s energy use and identifying opportunities for improvement.    The rating requires a site visit by a certified energy assessor and includes a Level 1 Walk-through Energy Audit (as defined by ASHRAE in the Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits).   The walk-through includes an IAQ screening.  When data are available, owners are also provided with a subsystem energy use breakdown.

Sinclair:  What are the benefits of bEQ for a building owner and occupants?

Musser:  Building labels provide a building owner with feedback on energy performance including documentation of the building’s measured energy use.   The bEQ In Operation label provides a benchmark of a building's actual energy use compared to similar buildings.  This analysis is performed by a certified professional who has demonstrated knowledge of building energy auditing.  This means that the bEQ assessment process will help building owners make well-informed decisions about energy use, operations, and capital upgrades.  This in turn demonstrates owner responsibility to employees, tenants, investors, and the public.

bEQ helps a building owner respond to rising energy costs, improve the marketability of their property, and develop a business relationship with a certified professional whose concern is the building’s energy performance.

Sinclair:  What is included in a bEQ assessment?

Musser:  The heart of the bEQ assessment is the Level 1 Walk-through Energy Audit which includes a preliminary energy-use analysis, walk-through survey of the building, meeting with owner, operator and occupants, and identification of energy conservation measures including estimated costs.  The assessment also includes peak demand reduction and demand management opportunities, energy use from on-site renewables, and spot measurements related to indoor environmental quality.

The bEQ In Operation Workbook documents all the measurements taken during the assessment and the calculations to determine the building's rating score.  The bEQ Certificate summarizes critical information from the Workbook and can be used by owners to comply with disclosure laws.   The building owner also receives a bEQ Dashboard that provides a quick, visual depiction of their building's rating score while highlighting other critical information.    A bEQ plaque can be displayed on the building to inform the public of the buildings rating.

Sinclair:  Who can perform the bEQ assessment?

Musser:  The bEQ In Operation Assessment must be performed by a certified Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP).    To earn this certification, candidates must have auditing experience and demonstrate mastery of a body of knowledge that includes project scope, data collection, building performance, systems alternatives, and energy conservation measures.  These professionals have the knowledge and experience to know what to measure, how to measure it, and how to analyze building data.  This partnership gives building owners confidence that they are making the best energy decisions for their building.

Sinclair:  Where can I go to find more information or locate an ASHRAE-certified professional?

Musser:  More information can be obtained on the bEQ website:  The website includes information on obtaining certification as well as finding certified professionals.   The In Operation Workbook forms and instructions can also be viewed and downloaded.  A FAQ section answers frequently asked questions.   Contact information is also provided for additional questions not covered on the website.


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