Mar. 9, 2010 SDF Green Buildings

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On Tuesday March 9, 2009 San Francisco at Nixon Peabody, SDForum and Astia presented the latest installment of the Clean Tech Breakfast Series “Green Buildings ? Design and Control Analysis?” Greg O’Hara of Nixon Peabody moderated panelists Michael R. D’Amour of Lumenergi, Matt Denesuk of IBM, Gary Dillabough of Westly Group and Scott Hublou of EcoFactor. They discussed the impact of Title 24 and market forces driving energy efficiencies in building.

Startups, major corporations and government agencies see the benefits of efficiently managing energy use with green software and hardware. The challenge is to make the best use of the data to design new or retrofit existing buildings.

Lighting is an obvious example to save energy. While designing a new building with lots of natural light is nice, most businesses are stuck with existing buildings that need illumination. Inefficient lighting creates heat, requiring more energy to cool a building. While fluorescent lighting is replacing incandescent lighting, a facilities manager might want to wait for cheaper more efficient LED lighting. Ironically the consumerism that is driving the sales of LED televisions is driving down the cost of LEDs for lighting.

Efficiencies can scale for large organizations. If a large restaurant or convenience store chain has a large number of identical buildings, small improvements in efficiencies can be multiplied across the chain resulting in huge savings. Recently the Empire State Building began installing energy efficient windows and expects to save over $400,000 per year. While government mandates may create technical parameters for conservation, it is the bottom line cost reductions that really drive energy efficiency for business.

Even at the small business or residential level managing efficiencies can reap big results. Accurate local measurement of usage gives enough feedback to change behavior. Being able to dim a light bulb or adjust a thermostat is good. Being able to turn off a light or open a window using no energy is even better. Dimming a light may lead to a brighter future. Opening a window may open a door to opportunity.

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