Energy savings on a silver platter



As I moderated the Energy Star for Engineers webcast last month, it occurred to me how easy it is nowadays for building owners and engineers to save energy compared to 10 or 15 years ago.


I like how Jean Lupinacci, chief of the Energy Star buildings program , put it during her portion of the webcast: She said that Energy Star distills the wisdom of its partners who have experience saving energy in thousands of buildings. Energy Star has benchmarking software (Portfolio Manager) for existing buildings, design analysis software (Target Finder) for buildings still on the books or without 12 months of performance data, a seven-step program for developing and implementing energy management plans, a resource guide for engineers who validate input and perform site surveys for Energy Star label applicants, marketing materials for partners, and statistics and information to help convince owners to think about energy and budget for savings measures and proper operations.


And all of this is free at the Energy Star website: .


Even if you don’t want to go through the Energy Star label application process, Portfolio Manager and Target Finder are freely available for benchmarking buildings and tracking them over time.


In addition, many other free resources are available. Here’s a small sample:


ASHRAE has published Advanced Energy Design Guides for a number of building types, which are available as free downloads at . Guidelines and templates for commissioning and retrocommissioning are available at the Building Commissioning Assoc. ( ), National Environmental Balancing Bureau ( ), and the California Commissioning Collaborative ( ). If you’re looking for utility rebates for energy efficiency or renewable energy, the database at facilitates searches by location and by type of rebate. The U.S. Dept. of Energy modeling software, eQUEST, at , can be used for Energy Star Target Finder and for EPACT commercial building tax deductions.


Other free resources include the Whole Building Design Guide, published by the National Institute of Building Sciences, at ; and the Functional Test Guide, developed by PECI in conjunction with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the U.S. Dept. of Energy, at . The Functional Test Guide helps designers and commissioning providers achieve energy efficiency from a lifecycle perspective.


I stumbled across a fantastic portal with myriad links to free energy-efficiency resources for engineers; check out the Kentucky Energy Efficiency Programs for Schools (KEEPS) page of links at .


If you have sites you want to recommend, send me an e-mail with the links and I’ll add them to this list at my blog at .


Send your questions and comments to:




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