April 2006

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A roof system on a Minnesota building demonstrates energy-saving technology

by Tim Leonard, CEM and Tony Leonard
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Since the energy crisis of the '70s, corporate America has worked toward improving the energy efficiency of its buildings. The motivation was simple—any energy savings directly affected the bottom line. As energy-saving measures first were implemented, it became obvious some measures had a higher or faster return than others. Corporations initially implemented measures that were easy to quantify, such as lighting upgrades and additional insulation in roofs and walls that provided a definable return on investment during a definable time period.

Photo courtesy of ERSystems Inc., Rockford, Minn.

Thermal couples are installed on HVAC units.

More recently, justification for the next generation of energy-saving measures—water efficiency, air quality, sustainable sites and materials—has become tied to a rate of return. Building owners decide whether a rate is acceptable for a given improvement. Often, this rate of return on next-generation energy savings either is slower or more difficult to quantify than traditional energy-saving improvements. Energy analysis (building simulation) and existing project results are tweaked to fit different building profiles and attempt to predict results. With this in mind, we designed a building to document the next generation of...

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