4A —April 22 - May 19, 2022 — Spring Preview — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


C onsulting E ngineer

By Shannon Kaplan, PE, AKF Group The Pandemic’s Influence on the Energy and Carbon Conversation


was down. The shift to sup - porting some staff in offices while others are remote has resulted inmore energy being used overall and an increased need to focus on energy ef- ficiency and sustainability. Several major cities on the east coast have approved leg- islation around energy and carbon including New York City (Local Law 97), Boston (BERDO 2.0), andWashington, A.C. (Omnibus). Other major cities, such as Philadelphia (Building Energy Performance Program), are pushing require- ments for building tuning and

s the world sorts out how to move forward with continued un-

around fresh air quantities and filtration are still fluctu - ating. Over the next year, as people become more comfort- able living with COVID-19, it will be interesting to see how many of these changes remain and which disappear as we readjust to life and once again mingle with others. During the start of the pandemic as people tran- sitioned to working from home, energy use in many commercial buildings did not drop as expected—computers and other equipment were still plugged in, HVAC was

still running, and lights got turned on for the few people still coming into the office. Meanwhile, higher energy usage resulted at the homes of individuals working re- motely. As companies started returning to the office, focus quickly turned to ensuring healthy indoor environments and a demand for additional outdoor air. However, this came at an energy cost. Con - ditioning more fresh air led to increased energy usage for HVAC systems, even though fewer people were in offices and occupant density

a section of the MARE Journal Phone: 781-740-2900 www.marej.com S ection P ublishers Linda Christman lchristman@marejournal.com Lea Christman lea@marejournal.com S ection E ditor Karen Vachon editor@marejournal.com Fall Preview The current war in Europe has also highlighted how frag- ile the world energy market is and how interconnected it has become. For the first time in a long while, energy and fuel prices have rapidly increased. This spike further drives the urgency of focusing on how to achieve our needs with less en- ergy. In the coming year, con - versations around renewable energy, building electrifica- tion, and decarbonization will likely become more common. COVID-19 is expected to reach endemic status this year and we will continue sorting out what life looks like in the wake of all the rapid change the pandemic brought. It will be interesting to see which focuses and changes remain, and which disappear. Will the corporate workforce stay hybrid now that we have proved technology allows its success? Will restaurants and other service industries rebound? Will demand for lab and research space remain high? Each of these questions has potential to increase our energy demand if we do not find a way to rethink where we are using energy and where it is no longer needed. As we establish new norms in 2022, expect those conversations to continue to be at the forefront. Shannon Kaplan, PE is a partner and sustainability champion at AKF . MAREJ energy auditing. In addition to regional regulations and requirements, corporations are also stepping up their focus on energy and carbon reductions. These goals are pushing the market to explore new technol- ogies and rethink strategies to create comfortable spaces that support our heavy technology needs, while doing so with a lower impact to our planet.

c e r t a i n t y r e g a r d i n g COV I D - 1 9 and radically altered cor- porate work- p l ac e s , we are still see- ing dramatic shifts in the

Shannon Kaplan

market. In the corporate world, our thoughts on who needs to be in the office, how much distance we keep between people, and our expectations

Creating flexible spaces that inspire people as they live, learn, work, heal, and explore akfgroup.com

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