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Energy Star Buildings: showcasing energy savings.

Riding on the firm - and quantifiable - success of its Green Lights program, the EPA, in 1993, introduced another groundbreaking, voluntary program to help building owners take advantage of the wide variety of cost and energy-efficient technologies that exist - beyond lighting.

Called Energy Star Buildings, the program's far-sighted initiative includes a step-by-step implementation process that capitalizes on the interaction between building systems to achieve optimal energy savings while lowering expenditures. Five stages, beginning with Green Lights, are sequenced to maximize energy savings, prevent oversizing, and minimize equipment costs: Stage 1, Green Lights; Stage 2, Building Tune-Up; Stage 3, HVAC Load Reductions; Stage 4, Improved Fans and Air-Handling Systems; and Stage 5, Improved Heating and Cooling Plant. Upgrades are sequenced so heating and cooling loads are reduced before major HVAC equipment upgrades are initiated - an approach that ensures proper load matching with immediate energy cost savings.

Beyond energy savings and reduced atmospheric pollution, the program is expected to cut by more than 40 percent the $70 billion spent annually to operate U.S. commercial and industrial buildings, according to EPA estimates - results achieved by using readily available, energy-efficient technologies and practices.

Although the EPA did modeling work to show potential savings, it realized proof of the program's viability would come from building owners and facilities managers, says Christopher O'Brien, program manager for Energy Star Buildings. As a result, the EPA undertook an extensive search to identify a number of buildings nationwide that would "showcase" comprehensive energy-efficient up-grades over an accelerated 1-year period. In June 1994, the appropriately named Energy Star Showcase Buildings program was kicked off to pave the way for the broader - and more extensively marketed - Energy Star Buildings program. "The idea is to use these showcase examples as not only case studies, but also the beginning of a network of building owners and facilities managers who will address these particular issues," notes O'Brien. Presently, 24 buildings and 23 organizations serve as Showcase program participants; completion of their upgrades is scheduled for July 1995.

Participation in the Energy Star Buildings program requires organizations to agree to join EPA's Green Lights program, then sign an addendum to their existing Green Lights Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). As Energy Star Buildings Partners, these participants are expected to survey all owned U.S. commercial building space to identify and complete 50 percent of all profitable efficiency upgrades within seven years.

As with the Green Lights program, the EPA has developed a number of technical resources to help plan and implement building upgrades, including:

* The Energy Star Buildings Manual, a step-by-step guide to comprehensive building upgrades.

* Software to calculate savings from upgraded fan systems. (Software is under development on chiller options, based on input from Showcase projects.)

* A database of financing programs for building-efficiency upgrades.

* Generic specifications for specific energy-efficient technologies.

Establishing momentum for the program is clearly under way, according to O'Brien, who adds, "We're looking at key partnerships, technical hotlines, workshops, etc., along the lines of the type of support currently given to Green Lights participants. Above all, quality of the program - from both the EPA's standpoint, as well as that of its Partners - must be maintained."

RELATED ARTICLE: EPA Energy Star Showcase Buildings Projects

American Standard, LaCrosse, WI, headquarters building Boccardo Properties, San Jose, CA, office building Carrier Corporation, Syracuse, NY, headquarters facility Catholic University, Wahington, D.C., theatre/classroom Connecticut Mutual Life, Hartford, CT, headquarters facility Douglas County Government, Roseberg, OR, judiciary center Fannie Mae, Washingtonn, D.C., headquarters facility Honeywell, Minneapolis, MN, headquarters facility JCPenney, Atlanta, GA, store renovation Johnson Controls, Inc., Milwaukee, WI, headquarters building Louisville Municipal Sewer District, Louisville, KY, office buildinng Maine College of Art, Portland, ME, renovation project Mobil Corporation, Reston, VA, office building/retail Mobil Corporation, Dallas, TX, office/research facility Montgomery County Government, Rockville, MD, social services office building Ohio Building Authority, Cleveland, OH, state office building Resource Conservation Center, Washington, D.C., headquarters building Southern California Gas, Los Angeles, CA, office building/demo ceter St. Charles Medical Center, Bend, OR, hospital facility Target Stores, Los Angeles, CA, retail store Town Center Management, Washington, D.C., government office building Vought Aircraft, Dallas, TX, headquarters building Warner Lambert, Morris Plains, NJ, headquarters building Washington Times, Washington, D.C., office building
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Title Annotation:Preventing Atmospheric Pollution Through EPA's Voluntary Green Programs
Author:Monroe, Linda K.
Date:Mar 1, 1995
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