Green Building through HVAC
When Apollo was started in 1972, they didn’t have a word for the conscientious preservation of resources and cost-effective solutions that benefited the environment. For us, it was an obvious that protecting our planet went hand in hand with protecting the buildings we managed. What has been a trend for most has been an integral part of who we are as a company for 45 years.
Recently, the World Green Building Council asserted that all of the world’s buildings must reach net zero carbon by 2050 to avoid the most serious ramifications of climate change. Given that in their estimation, only 500 existing commercial buildings currently fit this model, how can Apollo help get us there?
There are quite a few general terms thrown around in the green building world, so let’s begin by helping define some of those. Apollo can help you understand the deeper stories behind each of these concepts, the different HVAC technologies at play, and the innovative products being produced to help our clients reach higher energy efficiency goals.
If “net zero” is the goal, what does that mean? According to the US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, net zero is reached when a “building produces enough renewable energy to meet its own annual energy consumption requirements.” The key in designing zero energy buildings is to maximize energy efficiency to help offset energy consumption, while also finding sources of green energy production in your building’s design. From an energy production standpoint, this could include a solar panel installation on the rooftop while inside the building occupants eliminate waste through disciplined use of lighting, computers and water. Often, recycling programs are part of the equation.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, is a points-based system, rewarding buildings points across several different areas of sustainability. Based on the number of points the building receives, it can then receive a LEED rating level of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. LEED has become a logical basis for most green building design: it rewards energy efficiency and sustainability at every step of the design process.
The use of embedded technology to improve the efficiency of a manufacturer’s products has helped many of our customers achieve LEED certifications on their buildings, from office buildings to healthcare and pharmaceutical facilities. With today’s energy software and payback calculators, our engineers are at the ready with the latest technologies for building optimization.
The Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a UL declaration designed to act as a universal signifier of a manufacturer’s and product’s commitment to sustainability and transparency. According to UL, EPDs are established based on a core set of rules per each product category. These rules are verified independently against verified life cycle assessment data that allows comparison across products in that category.
For example, some magnetic bearing centrifugal chillers proudly display the EPD declaration, meaning it is not only in compliance with ISO 14025 guidelines, but it also has met and surpassed environmental impact guidelines in the chiller product category. These published guidelines also ensure the proper disposal of these products when they reach end of life.
Launched in 1992 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Energy Star® is one of the most widely consumer-recognized sustainability programs in the U.S. With $362 billion saved in utility bills since its launch and 2.5 billion tons of greenhouse gases reduced, it’s no surprise that 85% of the public recognize the symbol as one of energy efficiency in standard household appliances and beyond. Energy Star remains a valuable tool for energy efficiency data and is easily integrated with most environmental and HVAC control interface protocol.
ASHRAE takes us beyond overarching environmental and sustainability programs, asserting the HVAC industry’s commitment to efficiency standards. We’d be remiss to not acknowledge our industry standards on energy efficient design, continuing to push the industry forward and reaffirm our commitments to newer and more efficient technologies in HVAC, all of which meet or exceed ASHRAE’s 90.1-2016 standards. Over 92% of industry professionals base their specifying recommendations and decisions on this industry standard.
We are just scratching the surface in illuminating the breadth of energy efficiency programs. We’re eager to continue this sustainability journey with you and our team and will continue to share new developments and insights in this space.