Energy Star scores and LEED certifications do not always equate to optimal energy efficiency, according to efficiency specialists. "We found [just] 45% savings in a LEED Platinum building; it was actually an energy hog," says the vice president of marketing for Retroficiency, a start-up firm specializing in energy efficiency analytical software.
“You have to look at a building as an organism that needs to be monitored consistently because conditions change – like weather or occupancy,” says Dave Bartlett, the vice president of IBM Smart Buildings, also known as “the building whisperer.” “A building is a dynamic entity, you can't just build it and walk away,” he says.
Many building systems now send out digital information from lighting systems, CO2 sensors, security systems that monitor which doors and windows are open when, and badge readers that can illustrate which portions of a building are occupied most and least often and at what times. This type of data is valuable for performance monitoring, and can be used to make system adjustments to optimize efficiency.
This approach also allows companies to examine a portfolio of buildings to see which are using energy efficiently, which are not, and why. New technology enables systems to be monitored and adjusted remotely. Such capability may soon be viewed as an essential element for even a LEED Platinum building to fulfill its efficiency potential.