made. Assuming that one of those
buildings is ASHRAE Headquarters
with multiple HVAC systems, there
have been publications of comparisons made of the energy performance
of the different systems, so the
authors could have cited that data.
As another example, the HPB
Winter 2008 cover story on the
LEED® Platinum Heifer International
Building in Little Rock, AR had an
EPA Energy Star® score of 90 in 2007
that declined to 72 in 2011, only four
years later. It is virtually certain that
this was one of the buildings used in
the article. Is that sustainable high
performance? Readers need to know
that the energy performance of featured buildings often is not maintained.
How can EUI be the only metric
with which a building is declared
“high performance”? Other metrics such as human responses (e.g.,
measured perceptions and outcomes
of health, comfort, safety, security),
occupant performance, facility
productivity, ROI, sustainability,
reliability and resilience must be
correlated to EUI and other resource
use metrics (e.g., water consumption)
before the “performance” of a building can be evaluated and compared.
In summary, while the article may be
a nice academic exercise, it does not
provide actionable data that can be
used by readers, owners, and designers. The conclusion of this article
must be that there are no conclusions.
Lawrence G. Spielvogel, P.E.,
Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
One striking observation of many of the featured build- ings in the article, Evaluation
of Factors Impacting EUI by Drs.
Maor and Snyder in the Fall 2016
issue of HPB magazine is that they
are not typical or representative of
common buildings of those types.
Nor do the selected buildings repre-
sent a statistically significant sample
of each type. Because of this, com-
parisons with common buildings may
not be reasonable.
Just because the authors of the
articles about 90 different buildings
claim they are high performance does
not mean it is so.
Looking at EUI by climate zone or
LEED rating does not begin to look at
building types, or HVAC types, or at
occupancy intensity, or hours of occu-pancy. Thus, EUI by climate zone or
LEED certification is not meaningful
for any purpose other than for concluding that buildings use energy.
Box and whisker plots do not provide
any useful information. Comparing
a food service building with a school
cannot conclude anything.
Comparisons with readily available CBECS data for each building
type would have been very useful,
so readers can relate to their own
experience and what CBECS has
gone to great lengths and expense
and found to be common. It could
well be that these “high performing
buildings” perform no better than
any other new buildings, and possibly even worse.
There is no support for the claim
that the HVAC system types are
typical or representative of those
commonly used in the building types
reported in the article.
In some cases, the reported EUIs
for the 90 buildings may even be
from computer simulations or might
not include such things as what could
be considered process loads.
Since many of the buildings have
been in operation for some years,
it would have been enlightening to
see the authors publish year after
year EUI for all years of operation,
to show if the energy performance
claimed was sustainable.
Finally, it is obvious that the
authors blindly relied entirely on
what was published and did not
independently confirm any of the
data they used from the HPB and
ASHRAE Journal articles.
The authors conclude that for hospitals and labs, “This [range of EUIs]
is likely due to the variations in processes, equipment loads, etc.,” with
no way to support that statement, yet
it could just as easily be due to the
design, construction, and/or operation of the buildings.
The article fails to conclude that
when evaluating and comparing the
metered EUI of any building, it is
essential to use professional judgement based on experience.
The authors claim that, “since this
study reviewed only high performing
buildings,” yet while those buildings
were claimed by their authors to be
high performing, the data in this article shows that at least some were not.
The references did not include all
those magazine articles upon which
this article relied, so an independent
evaluation and confirmation could be
Evaluation of Factors
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Evaluation of Factors Impacting EUI