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DOE Building Guides ‘Can Halve Energy Costs’

The U.S. Department of Energy has released the first in a series of design guide aiming to cut the energy consumption of commercial buildings in half.

The first of the 50% Advanced Energy Design Guides focuses on small and medium-sized office buildings, and is available for free download. The DOE says the guides provide a practical approach to help architects and engineers design buildings that achieve 50 percent energy savings compared to the commercial building energy code used in many areas of the country.

The guidance also supports President Obama’s goal to reduce energy use in commercial buildings 20 percent by 2020, and will help drive demand for energy-saving products made in the United States, the department says.

The guides recommend ways that designers can choose energy efficient designs for daylighting, building envelope assemblies, and heating and cooling systems, among other technologies. They also recommend commonly available equipment.

DOE says the guides are designed to reduce the time and money that designers would otherwise spend to individually model energy use for high performance buildings. The guides will also inform the development of future commercial building energy codes, the department said.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) are all helping to develop the booklets.

Three more guides, on large hospitals, medium to big-box retail buildings and K-12 schools, will be released in coming months.

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One thought on “DOE Building Guides ‘Can Halve Energy Costs’

  1. There is one energy saving technique for HVAC I have never heard analyzed: provide vent dampers for every office or area that can be controlled by employees. An employee can close the damper when the area is too cold in the summer when AC is on or when it is too hot in the winter when the heat is on. That way, more heating or air conditioning would be diverted to areas that need it. There would be no damper near the thermostat, which would control the on-off HVAC function. When enough dampers are closed, the pressure in the ducts would increase, and pressure sensors would lower fan speed.
    This would make employees more comfortable while reducing energy needs. No one would need space heaters in the summer when the AC is over-cooling their offices. The only cost would be the cost to purchase damped vents vs. undamped vents – a negligible cost compared building construction. Installation/maintenance costs would not increase.

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