Building Commissioning: The Stealth Energy Efficiency Strategy

The following post is written Evan Mills, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, whom I have known for almost two decades.  He recently authored a cost-benefit analysis of energy efficiency measures entitled Building Commissioning: A Golden Opportunity for Reducing Energy Costs and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions.  In the figure below, the overlaid orange “step” is derived from the analysis in the new LBNL report and superimposed for reference over McKinsey’s 2007 green carbon “abatement curve.”  The full abatement curve indicates the potential emissions savings potential for a set of measures, ranked by the annualized net cost per ton of emissions reductions (y-axis), i.e., the cost of commissioning minus the value of the resulting energy savings over the measure life. The horizontal width of each step is the potential emissions reduction attributed to each measure.

One particularly potent form of energy efficiency is an emerging practice known as building commissioning. Although commissioning has earned increased respect in recent years it remains an enigmatic practice whose visibility severely lags its potential. Fortunately, a massive database on commissioning experience in the U.S. provides a potent antidote to those who poo-poo the notion that major greenhouse-gas reductions can be had at negative cost.

Read the full article