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PRSM Energy Management Matters

In late November, PRSM again participated in RetailGreen, the leading conference on design, construction, and maintenance of sustainable retail projects. PRSM co-sponsored the event with our friends at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

During RetailGreen, Stephanie Moon, RFMP, PRSM’s VP of Strategic Resource Development, moderated a panel that discussed how to engage operations and maintenance personnel in an operating retail center/store. PRSM’s Immediate Past Chair, Leigh Pearson, RFMP, Director, Facility, Environmental and Procurement Services, Staples, Inc. (Canada) joined PRSM-member Chris Ladner, LEED Fellow, CEM, CxA, CEA, Principal, Entegrity Partners and Paul A. Mathew, PH.D., Staff Scientist, Department Head, Whole Building Systems, Building Technologies and Urban Systems Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the panel. The panel addressed the continued evolution of sustainability and energy management. The panel highlighted how the FM’s energy management responsibilities have increased in importance and complexity, and how energy management is moving beyond sustainability.

Beyond Sustainability

This issue of Retail Store Maintenance focuses on net zero energy buildings. A zero-energy building (ZEB) produces enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements, and reduces the use of non-renewable energy in the building sector. ZEBs use multiple cost-effective measures to reduce energy usage and boost efficiency. They also use renewable energy systems to produce enough energy to meet remaining energy needs. (A Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings, September 2015, Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by The National Institute of Building Sciences.)

Net Zero Rare, but Increasing

Way back in 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy launched its Net Zero Energy Commercial Building Initiative (CBI). Then DOE used an array of public and private partnerships to advance the development and adoption of high-performance buildings and, the initial goal was to achieve marketable net zero energy buildings by 2025. However, until recently achieving net zero energy consumption was rare. As renewable technologies and building energy efficiencies have continued to improve, more commercial buildings can now achieve the net zero designation.

ZEBs Benefit FMs

For the FM, there are several long-term advantages of moving toward ZEBs, including lower environmental impacts, lower operating and maintenance costs, better resiliency to power outages and natural disasters, and improved energy security. Reduced energy consumption makes it simpler and less expensive to meet the building’s energy needs with renewable sources of energy. ZEBs have the potential to transform how buildings use energy, and there are an increasing number of building owners who want to achieve ZEB status.

PRSM Resources and Tools and a 2018 Unveiling

For our FMs, the PRSM Sustainability Council and the PRSM Energy Working Group provide a valuable forum to engage on ZEB and other energy-related topics. In 2018, the Energy Working Group will release a tool that illustrates the effectiveness of Energy Management Systems. The tool will also calculate a Return on Investment, ROI. This is the first step after implementing a pilot program to determine if a full-scale program is necessary.

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