Building Energy Modeling for Owners and Managers

Posted in

As a building owner or manager, keeping costs down is most likely one of your main priorities – and if it’s not, it certainly should be. This means identifying where your building could use improvements in terms of energy consumption is something that you should be all for. Although some energy improvements may cost money to implement, they’ll end up saving you a substantial amount of money in the long term.

To get the most accurate picture of where and how your building can save energy, you should consider a building energy modeling analysis. A building energy modeling analysis, or BEM, is a software calculation of your building’s energy consumption, which includes factors such as occupancy, operations, weather and the building itself. It does this by creating a virtual simulation of your building.

The Benefits of a Building Energy Modeling Analysis

A building energy modeling analysis does a lot more than just pinpoint where you can save energy. The following are just a few of the benefits that you can take advantage of when running a BEM analysis:

  1. A better understanding of energy and water use 

Other models for determining the energy or water use of a building only take into account the systems themselves and not actual consumption. A BEM will provide you with a better understanding of how your energy and water are used; for example, by providing you with peak demand times. Basically, a BEM takes into account the individual use of your building’s energy and water by your occupants.

  1. The ability to more accurately identify where your building can save energy

Not only does a BEM take into account peak usage times and other information regarding your building’s energy and water consumption, it also takes into account how various technologies and building design elements work in conjunction with one another. For example, it takes into account the location of the building’s site, the climate, the lighting system and the placement of the building’s windows to identify where energy is being wasted. It can pinpoint where windows should be placed to take maximum advantage of the available sunlight, thereby diminishing your building’s reliance on its interior lighting.

  1. A more cost-effective building design or improvement plan

The sooner you implement BEM in the design process, the more effective your improvements will be. This is because you’ll be able to identify what improvements will have the biggest impact on the energy and water consumption of your building as well as what the costs of those improvements will be. This will allow you to make a better decision in regards to initial costs and the ultimate effectiveness of the improvements that you decide to invest in.

  1. The assurance of compliance and identification of incentives

A BEM will take into account building codes when running its calculations to ensure that every part of your building, as well as the improvements that you end up making, will be in compliance with your local building codes. A BEM will also identify what your building’s performance level is and where it needs to be for green certification. Additionally, it will calculate whether your building’s energy efficiency allows you to qualify for any incentives or rebates.

Getting a Building Energy Model Analysis

Deciding to get a building energy model analysis will help you avoid making costly mistakes that could be difficult correct later – and will ensure that any energy efficiency improvements that you invest in will be cost-effective and better performing. But what you should keep in mind is that there are many different modelers that you can use, all of whom use different types of software in order to perform a building energy model analysis.

There are several factors to consider when choosing a modeler to conduct a BEM analysis. First of all, you should consider the affiliation of the modeler and decide which best fits your needs. Affiliations include specialized consulting firms, project architects and project mechanical engineers, to name a few. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the modeler has experience, dedication to quality assurance and credentials, such as from ASHRAE BEMP (Building Energy Model Professional) or AEE BESA (Building Energy Simulation Analyst).

Keep in mind that the type of contract you get could impact the length of time it will take to complete your project as well as your ability to meet performance targets. Some of the different modeler contracts include design-build, design-bid-build, integrated project delivery and construction management at-risk contracts.

If you’re planning on investing in energy efficiency improvements to help lower overhead costs for the building you own or manage, then you should strongly consider getting a building energy model analysis. For more information concerning the energy efficiency in your building and how you can improve it, be sure to contact us at BOSS Controls today.

Free Download

Learn how to put money back in your pocket with Plug Load Control.
Download our free Plug Load Control Implementation Checklist now.