4C — November. 13 - December 10, 2020 — Professional Services — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


Professional Services

By Brendan McGrath, PE, CCP, LEED AP, AKF Group The road ahead for Philadelphia’s healthy, efficient buildings


by September 30, 2024. The economic equation for this tune-up work becomes clear as fines are incurred at $2,000 the first day past due, then $500/day after the 30 th day of non-compliance. If a building can accomplish the tune-up investigative work and no/low- cost implementation costs for, say, $50,000, that work may pay for itself—not only in on- going utility savings, but also avoidance of approximately $170,000 in fines for the first year of non-compliance. As Philadelphia attempts to re-open safely, the conflict between energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is clearer than ever. The City has released re-opening guidance for buildings related to ventilation—opening of doors/windows, ensuring ven - tilation control is operating properly, increasing total air exchanges per hour, maximiz - ing outside air circulation, and increasing filtration efficiency. Although there is an inherent push-pull between energy efficiency and IEQ, they are not mutually exclusive. Both have foundations in operating a building effectively accord- ing to design intent, including preventative maintenance. Functional testing of HVAC equipment is required for both the tune-up policy and re- opening guidance; the savvy building owner should work to satisfy these requirements simultaneously. The market will continue to push for more efficient build - ings as we work through this pandemic, and after. In NYC, Local Law 97 caps carbon emissions from buildings and distributes fines for exceeding them. Owners have an op- portunity to stay ahead of the curve by investing in opera- tions and maintenance of their facilities. Not only does this investment have the potential to pay off in lower utility bills, but it may open the door for alternative compliance paths (i.e., high Energy Star score) while providing facility staff with the tools to adapt to fu- ture requirements related to health of building occupants. An architectural engi- neer and sustainability expert, Brendan McGrath manages AKF’s Mid-Atlan- tic Commissioning servic- es, performing verification and optimization of build- ing systems. MAREJ

n 2012/2013 the Phila - delphia Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (now

annual reporting through En- ergy Star Portfolio Manager, the benchmarking program is in response to the Greenworks program instituted by Mayor Michael Nutter in 2009 and acknowledges that buildings are the single greatest source of carbon emissions in Phila - delphia. The program does not require action related to energy efficiency; instead, it takes the first step of transpar - ent and consistent reporting, enabling key stakeholders (such as owners, tenants, and government officials) to compare relative utility usage

between buildings. Once this understanding of energy and water usage within buildings is known, action can be focused on buildings that exhibit high usage patterns, beginning with those that can most eas- ily be lowered. Building on the benchmarking ordinance, in November 2019 Philadel - phia City Council passed the Building Energy Performance Policy requiring action on no/ low-cost measures to make those buildings more efficient. In November 2019, City Council had no idea what would come in March 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic re - sulted in businesses temporar- ily halting normal operations and vacating non-residential buildings. Despite the pan- demic, the tune-up legislation moved forward, becoming available for public comment in August and, finally, be - coming effective in October. This new policy requires peri- odic “tune-ups” for buildings greater than 50,000 s/f. Re - porting is determined by size, with buildings greater than 200,000 s/f due September 30, 2021 and those 50,000- 70,000 s/f required to report

Office of Sus - tainability) launched the Building En- ergy Bench- marking pro- gram. This program was designed to record and

Brendan McGrath

make transparent energy and water consumption for non- residential buildings greater than 50,000 s/f within Phila - delphia’s city limits. Requiring

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