New program: What’s your building EQ?
Engineers across America have begun assessing the energy use of selected buildings as part of a pilot program designed to encourage the building industry to cut energy use and costs, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
The Building Energy Quotient program—known as Building EQ—includes both “As Designed” (asset) and “In Operation” (as operational) ratings for all building types except residential. It also provides a detailed certificate with data on actual energy use, energy demand profiles, indoor air quality and other information that will enable building owners to evaluate and reduce their building’s energy use.
Seventeen provisional assessors have been named by ASHRAE to assess energy use, which is then provided in a scale to convey a building’s energy use in comparison to similar buildings, occupancy types and climate zone. Building owners also are given building-specific information that can be used to improve building energy performance.
“I wanted to participate in the Building EQ effort because it will play a role in the United States’ drive to a carbon-neutral future,” said Matthew Dwyer, P.E., Dwyer Engineering, who is assessing buildings in Washington, D.C., and Plymouth, Mass. “Past labeling programs were sometimes based on marketing as much as engineering, because we all needed a motivation to be green. People get the importance of being green now, so we need to take another step. Building EQ takes us further by distinguishing net-zero buildings from merely good buildings.”
Under the pilot program—launched in December 2009—new buildings are eligible to receive an “As Designed”, or asset rating, which provides an assessment of the building based on the components specified in the design, and is based on the results of building energy modeling and simulation. An “In Operation” rating is available once the building has at least one year of data on the actual energy use and is based on a combination of the structure of the building and how it is operated. Existing buildings would be eligible to receive both an “As Designed” and “In Operation” rating.
“The process of checking a building’s EQ is not just a grading process,” Dwyer said. “The engineer not only examines building energy use and carbon footprint, but tests and measures the building environment and meets with building engineers on site. After spending time onsite, we then work with the building owner to understand the building systems and provide goals and suggestions on future improvements. The intent is to create a path so that more and more buildings can move from a low grade to a top grade.”
The program is administered by ASHRAE. For complete information, visit www.buildingeq.com.