NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recently released a report that demonstrates the levels of energy efficiency that standard office buildings can reach while remaining economically feasible.
the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, recently released a report
that demonstrates the levels of energy efficiency that standard office
buildings can reach while remaining economically feasible.
was initiated to determine if commercial development could achieve reduction
targets of 30-50% above the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 standard – the benchmark often
cited in legislation and other calls for mandatory reductions.
recently completed four-story, 95,000 square-foot, Class A office building as
the prototype, the research modeled the prototype in three climate zones
represented by Chicago, Ill.; Baltimore, Md.; and Newport Beach, CA.
show that although significant energy efficiencies can be achieved (varying by
climate zone), reaching a 30% reduction above the ASHRAE standard is not
feasible using common design approaches and would exceed a 10-year payback. The
study concluded that achieving a 50% reduction above the standard is not
study provides an unbiased insight into the energy targets practical to
commercial development today,” said Thomas J. Bisacquino, NAIOP president.
“Identifying an energy reduction level that is both environmentally responsible
and equitable to the developer is essential in protecting the prosperity of
commercial real estate.”
The study was conducted by ConSol, a California-based independent energy-modeling
firm, using the Department of Energy’s EnergyPlus v2.2, a building energy
simulation program for modeling building energy uses.
included enhanced wall and roof insulations; varying levels of exterior
glazing; higher-efficiency window assemblies; reduced air infiltration via the
installation of an air barrier; reduced lighting power densities;
higher-efficiency HVAC equipment; and photovoltaic electricity energy
technologies and methods to increase effectiveness, the maximum efficiency
reached was 23% in the Chicago model. Results across the climate zones vary by
more than seven percent, given baseline energy uses in domestic water heating;
lighting; heat generation; air conditioning; and fans, dampers and HVAC
energy savings, cost increases and payback periods are:
* Chicago: 23% in energy savings; $188,523.45
cost increase; 8.8 year payback;
* Baltimore: 21.5% in energy savings; $165,148.13
cost increase; 11 year payback;
* Newport Beach: 15.8% in energy savings;
$169.898.13 cost increase; 12.2 year payback.
results of achieving higher efficiency targets differing so greatly across the
climate zones, the study reveals that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to
mandatory energy reductions does not work in legislation or other mandates,”
said Bisacquino. “It is important that policymakers and others realize the
economic consequences that imposing mandated targets will have on the
results show that employing solar generation technologies could close the gap
between the efficiencies achieved in the study and the 30% above the ASHRAE
90.1 -2004 standard. However, at an installed cost of more than $1 million and
a payback of up to 100 years, it far exceeds practical and economical limits.
elements of a holistic, integrated design approach that could yield higher
energy efficiencies were identified as impractical in the study’s building
prototype, which represents more than 50% percent of total new Class A
commercial construction. For example, in the Newport Beach model, a geothermal
system (a component of a holistic approach) required more than two additional acres
of space – an impossibility for the project site.
recognize that some buildings are able to achieve higher energy efficiencies by
employing various holistic design approaches,” said Bisacquino. “These
approaches could become more economically feasible with new technologies and
federal, state and local incentives.”
commissioned the study as a proactive approach to engage the commercial
development industry in advancing an economically prosperous and sustainable
built environment. “We are encouraged that study results show that increased
energy efficiency and building profitability are not opposing concepts,” said
In June 2008, NAIOP introduced an Energy Policy(www.naiop.org/resourcecenter/greenresource/energypolicy.cfm)that encourages the development industry to employ every technically feasible,
cost-effective, sustainable strategy available to increase energy efficiency of
new and existing buildings, and advances public policies that accelerate
ongoing energy efficiency and sustainability gains.