ASHRAE Building EQ ProgramRates Buildings

Makes a distinction between 'net-zero' and 'good'

Engineers across the country 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.

The Building Energy Quotient program, which is 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.

The program is administered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). For complete information, visit buildingeq.com.

Seventeen provisional assessors have been named by ASHRAE to assess energy use, which is then provided in an easily understood 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, MA. “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, 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 says. “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.”

Among the pilot participants is Hines, a privately owned real estate firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide headquartered in London and Houston, Texas. Hines has six buildings across the country being assessed in the program.

“Hines has agreed to join with ASHRAE in piloting the Building EQ program because the program’s objective to improve building efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions is well aligned with Hines’ long-standing commitment to deliver energy-efficient, cost-effective projects to the market,” Clayton Ulrich, senior vice president - Engineering Services, Hines, says. “We have a tremendous respect for the ASHRAE organization and the work of the ASHRAE members. One of our key goals in participating is to encourage the program leaders to leverage the existing resources and data collected in Energy Star® to ensure a consistent platform in the industry. While not all buildings will benefit equally, we believe there are buildings in the market that can benefit significantly from the technical expertise ASHRAE brings to the table.”

Provisional assessors and their assigned buildings are:

  • Stephen Kretzmer, P.E., The Fulcrum Group, 4 Times Square, 1 Bryant Park and 1155 Avenue of the Americas, all in New York City, owned by the Durst Organization
  • Jim Newman, ASHRAE-Certified Operations and Performance Management Professional, Newman Consulting Group, Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Detroit, Mich., Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority
  • Gerald Kettler, P.E., Facility Performance Association, Sarofim Research Building, Houston, Texas, BNIM Architects
  • Peter D‘Antonio, P.E., PCD Engineering, 200 Market Building, Portland, Ore., Russell Development; and Liberty Centre Building, Portland, Ore., Ashforth Pacific
  • Matthew Dwyer, P.E., Dwyer Engineering, building managed by Hines in Washington, D.C.; and Plymouth Trial Court, Plymouth, Mass., Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Hoy Bohanon, P.E., Working Buildings, building managed by Hines in San Francisco, CA
  • Robert Watson, P.E., NOI Engineering, building managed by Hines in Houston, Texas; and 1201 Third Ave. and King Street Center, both in Seattle, Wash., Wright Runstad and Co.
  • Paul Johnson, P.E., Sebesta Blomberg, building managed by Hines in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • John Dunlap, P.E., Dunlap and Partners Engineers, building managed by Hines in Atlanta, Ga.
  • David Eldridge, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified High-Performance Building Design Professional, Grumman Butkus Associates, building managed by Hines in Boston, MA
  • Umit Sirt, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified High-Performance Building Design Professional, and Steve Baumgartner, P.E., ASHRAE-Certified High-Performance Building Design Professional, Buro Happold Consulting, Ted Weiss Federal Building, New York, N.Y., U.S. General Services Administration
  • Dick Pearson, P.E., Pearson Engineering, U.S. Courthouse, Hammond, Ind., U.S. General Services Administration
  • Walt Dindoffer, Green Team Collation, Jackson State Office Building, Jackson, Mich., Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget
  • Duane Paul, P.E., Nexant Inc., Jerome T. Hart Building, Saginaw, Mich., Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget
  • Abbe Bjorklund, P.E., Sebesta Blomberg, Crimson Residence Hall, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, MA
  • Ruairi Barnwell, ASHRAE-Certified High-Performance Building Design Professional, Building Momentum Group, John W. McCormack Building, Boston, MA, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
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