Building Management

I Manage a Green Building

My last blog was about working in a green building, where occupants see values such as easy card access to the building and EV charging station, direct interaction with the office environment, and simple room reservation system. Imagine my excitement when one of my green building heroes, Andy Schonberger, wrote a companion blog in response. Andy, who is the Director of the Earth Rangers Centre for Sustainable Technology, shared his perspective about working in a high performance green building.

I decided to continue with the “day in the life” theme by exploring this question: how does a building manager gain value from a high performance green building? Let’s start with improved productivity: a building manager—let’s call him Christopher—gets an alarm message late at night. Instead of having to go into the building, he can troubleshoot from the comfort of his own home. Chris can also check his smart phone the following morning to make sure there are no other critical alarms. To me, this isn’t just improving productivity—this is providing peace of mind!

When he arrives to the office, Chris scans his smartcard to gain access to the garage, where lighting illuminates a path so he can walk safely from his car to the building. Lastly, the car park management system now shows that one less space is available in the garage. I like this—safety and convenience! And when Chris scans his card to enter the building, the hall lighting turns on, the ventilation system is enabled, and blinds are automatically opened to  create a comfortable working environment that also maximizes energy efficiency.

When Chris enters his office, he can use his building management system to automatically monitor and record environmental and energy use data, which he can leverage to reduce energy usage and improve financial performance. We’ve all heard the saying that you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and energy dashboards can certainly make energy use visible and actionable. Christopher next reviews reports for the main HVAC plant to ensure the system is operating at the appropriate levels to maintain indoor air quality (IAQ) and provide an optimal environment for occupants’ productivity and comfort. I call this a smart and healthy green building!

I could go on for pages about protecting occupants, assets, and staff with integrated security and fire alarm systems, or I might wax eloquently about fault detection and diagnostics. I’d also have to mention Christopher’s company’s sustainability goals, and how he helps ensure success with photovoltaic production, energy storage, and capability to connect to the smart grid. In the interest of brevity, I’ll conclude with the idea that all of these technologies are available today (not in the green building of the future) and can be leveraged to create a smart, safe, efficient, and healthy high performance green building.

What makes a green building? It’s how it’s designed AND operated.

 


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