What makes a better building?

Better Buildings

Better buildings use energy more efficiently and waste less water. The materials they are made of and that are used in them provide the greatest possible value. Energy, water, and waste are quantified and tracked. Workplaces in those buildings are healthy and ergonomic.

Any building can be a better building. Potential savings and expense reduction opportunities ranging from low-cost quick wins to long-term investments are found through assessments. Those assessments range from the limited and simple to detailed and comprehensive.

Better buildings aren’t limited to downtown zip codes or trendy street address. They are not marked on maps. GPS devices will not locate them. There’s no need. Chances are, a better building is literally within your reach. Here is what sets them apart:

Greater energy efficiency

Are energy costs a concern in your building? Benchmarking and assessments will quantify metered use. Use easily translates to dollars.

A popular tool for first assessing energy efficiency is the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®.[1] It is offered free by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can also track water, waste, and materials use.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) developed and maintains a comprehensive set of metrics to certify efficient and sustainable buildings. Trained and certified ecoPreserve Sustainability Specialists assist with USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) assessments. Certified Green Globes and Net Zero Energy assessments can be done as well[2].

While assessments define current state and costs, four prescriptive services are also available. Commissioning, re-commissioning, retro-commissioning, and building tune-ups all find value and efficiencies that reduce operating and maintenance costs. Retro-commissioning can achieve annual energy savings of 15%.[3] We have seen the average payback for commissioning services offset by savings within 2 years.[4]

Less water waste

Less Water Waste

It pays to be aware of and promptly fix broken sprinkler heads and leaky faucets. A single slowly dripping tap wastes 2,500 gallons of water in less than a year. Automatic faucets provide even greater savings, conserving 70% of the water waste associated with other types of faucets.[5]

Are you concerned about expense dollars headed down the drain? Most USGBC LEED and Green Globes assessments promote efficiency in water as well as energy use.

Optimized material use

Waste to Energy

Sustainable purchasing practices[6] bring materials into a building at the lowest Life Cycle Cost. The bottom-line benefits can continue from there. Waste can be minimized. Some items can be repurposed, and others donated for tax benefit. Food waste from grocers and restaurants may yield biofuels at an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant.[7]

TRUE Zero Waste certification[8] reviews the full lifecycle of all materials. In doing so, it achieves savings while reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and boosting public health.

Information access

Information Access

The day-to-day use of energy, water, and materials in a building can all be quantified as data. Once captured, analysis of that data can guide equipment maintenance schedules, HVAC systems adjustments, and future purchase decisions.

Information systems can multiply the value of a building’s data by formatting it visually and distributing it to decision-makers in varied departments. Those systems may be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a dashboard. Their value can be further enhanced when the data is standardized and summarized for senior management decisions.[9]

Workplace wellness

Workplace Wellness

Even when a building’s utilities are fine-tuned and the materials in it yield zero waste, the quality of workplace wellness will impact every organization in that facility.

The WELL Building Standard can certify that a building environment is optimal for workers and customer wellness. Those standards align with several USGBC LEED standards. A project including both LEED and WELL assessments will address energy efficiency concurrently with optimal Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). That makes a building efficient to operate as well as comfortable for its occupants.[10]

For answers to questions you may have about benchmarking, assessments, or commissioning, ecoPreserve is here to help.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable operations, decarbonization, and occupant wellness. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of three and has grown the company to over 20 of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone

@ecopreserve

We empower organizations to reduce environmental impact, improve efficiency, and improve quality of life.
Remote work is not always possible., but an estimated 56% of jobs in the U.S. are at least partially compatible wit… https://t.co/Mz8U0J2tKL - 6 days ago
Alexa Stone

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Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.