How To Use This Handbook

This handbook is a reference manual for identifying, analyzing and prioritizing energy efficiency investments in commercial office buildings and data centers. The handbook contains a set of chapters focusing on areas of a typical company’s energy use and associated energy savings opportunities—lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), office equipment, water heating and vehicles. Each chapter provides an overview of steps that a company can take to reduce energy use, from policy changes to efficient use adjustments and equipment replacement. Additional chapters detail the energy savings potential of installing or upgrading an energy management system (EMS) and the efficiency opportunities that exist in data center facilities. Chapters are also devoted to additional concepts that will be useful to Climate Corps fellows: traditional barriers to energy efficiency investment, how to interpret office energy bills, basic energy efficiency finance and additional nonfinancial considerations. Each chapter contains a set of goals, topical overview and “Information Gathering Guide,” which outlines information a Climate Corps fellow should collect from the host company and outside engineers. The handbook contains extensive references for a reader who may want to delve deeper into a particular practice or technology. Additional background information is included in the appendices, and the vocabulary terms that are underlined throughout the text are defined in the glossary.

The chapters contain rough estimates of costs, typical energy savings and expected returns on investment for a number of the suggested efficiency upgrades. Potential utility rebates for many of the measures are also listed. This rebate information is based on the rebates offered by Pacific Gas & Electric in Northern California; rebate information for other areas should be available from regional utilities. For HVAC and EMS upgrade measures, where energy savings and expected returns range broadly depending on building specifics, the chapter text includes short financial case studies to illustrate potential savings. In conjunction with the handbook, Environmental Defense Fund has developed a companion financial analysis tool to help analyze the financial attributes of specific energy efficiency investments in lighting, office equipment, HVAC and data centers. Consult the financial analysis tool to generate estimates of energy savings and payback times specific to the conditions of a particular building. The savings estimates can be used as the base of a business case for the host company.

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Data source: Energy I nformation A dministration, “Commercial Buildings E nergy Consumption Survey (CBECS): Table E1A. Major Fuel Consumption (Btu) by E nd Use for A ll Buildings.” September 2008. A ccessible at [http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cbecs/cbecs2003/detailed_tables_2003/detailed_tables_2003.html].

Another useful approach when presenting companies with a business case for investment in energy efficiency is to cite relevant case studies from companies that have made successful investments. In addition to the short case studies in the text of the HVAC and EMS chapters, three complete case studies are included as appendices to the handbook, along with a reference list of other useful published case studies.

Although the challenge of greatly improving energy efficiency in buildings may appear daunting at first, a good approach is to start with relatively low-cost, simple projects. As such, this handbook focuses on relatively simple and low-cost efficient technology options. The energy reduction tactics in each chapter are presented in order from simplest and lowest cost (e.g., policy and process changes) to more complex and cost-intensive (e.g., equipment replacement).

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