Rocky Mountain Institute.
A key component of the NDER program is maximizing
a retrofit’s impact by bundling all improvements into one
“You can combine the quick payback items with the long
payback items and get an average that does much better
than if you looked at them individually. That is a big lesson
learned,” says Kevin Kampschroer, Director of GSA’s Office
of Federal High-Perfor-
mance Green Buildings.
“Every time we touch a
A Proving Ground That Speeds Technology
building, we’re looking to
do as much improvement
as we can.”
To ensure maximum
savings from deep
retrofits, GSA is cur-
rently looking at ways to
include operations and
measures within ESPCs.
GSA buildings typically
contract for O&M ser-
vices on a per-system ba-
sis. However, both GSA
and ESCOs see value in
integrating O&M into
In the deployment of new technology, a hurdle often
higher than the discovery itself is its transformation into
a viable commercial product. And the buildings industry
is not known for a great willingness to employ new and
GSA’s Green Proving Ground (GPG) program is designed
to clear this hurdle and help federal agencies meet energy
targets. The program leverages GSA’s building portfolio as
a real-world place to evaluate new technology.
“The program addresses the risk of high first cost and
possible underperformance that might otherwise stymie
adoption,” says Kevin Powell, director of GPG. Because
GSA owns and leases over 354 million square feet in 9,600
buildings in more than 2,200 communities, new technologies can be tested in sufficient numbers and locations to
predict their potential.
Building systems rather than tenant fit-out systems are
the target. “We’re focused on the building systems that
GSA, as a landlord and building owner, can control,” says
Powell. Most evaluations take place in spaces that GSA
leases to other agencies.
To select technology for evaluation, GPG looks for both
innovation and deployment potential for its portfolio.
Technology that would likely reach the market anyway is
passed over. GPG also seeks a balance of risks, pursuing
some high-risk, high-payoff products as well as more
certain opportunities. GPG works with the National
Renewable Energy Lab on screening and rating technologies for possible assessment.
When evaluating a product technology, GPG categorizes
each in one of three phases:
s Translation – a product with very limited or no com-
s Adoption – a product with an emerging market but a
limited installation base and little objective information
available about its performance
s Diffusion – a product with some market penetration,
possibly even with multiple suppliers, but little infor-
mation about performance and best practices.
GPG product evaluations specify whether a technology
is suitable to replace equipment at end of life, retrofit for
immediate benefits, or use in new construction. To date
the program has published findings from completed assessments. Nine assessments that are underway will publish results in 2016. For more on all, visit www.gsa.gov.
GSAlink: Analytics for Peak Efficiency
Rapid detection and response to building faults are key
to operating at peak efficiency. To continuously monitor
its buildings, GSA is developing the GSAlink platform. The
program’s architecture pulls data from individual buildings, stores it in a national database, runs it through a fault-detection diagnostics engine, and presents the data back to
building operators so they can react to any problems.
GSAlink has been deployed in 81 GSA buildings. The
software’s search for faults includes malfunctioning equipment, inconsistent application of processes and policies
(e.g., weekend shutdowns), and equipment working at
cross purposes (e.g., simultaneous heating and cooling).
With continuous monitoring, operators can be alerted to
problems promptly rather than waiting until the next cycle
of preventive maintenance. For example, the system was
able to detect a fault due to a bird stuck in a damper, a situation that not only was wasting energy but risking frozen
equipment due to winter temperatures.
GSAlink currently has about 40 rules that are applied
to the building data, according to Frank Santella, acting
assistant commissioner, Facilities Management & Services
Programs, GSA Public Buildings Service. For example, 7
data points are used to detect simultaneous heating and
cooling. “I think as people get a better understanding of
the tool, they will request rules for their specific building,” Santella says. Ultimately, GSA will make the platform
available to other agencies. B
SPECIAL REPORT: This article summarizes the results
of an industry whitepaper on how federal agencies are reducing
their facility energy. The complete report is available at www.
Siemens Industry, Inc., Building Technologies Division is
the sponsor of the research developed for this article and the
whitepaper. Siemens is the world leader in the market for safe
and secure, energy-efficient and environment-friendly buildings
and infrastructures. As a technology partner, service provider,
system integrator and product vendor, Building Technologies has
offerings for safety and security as well as building automation,
heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and energy management. HTTP://USA.SIEMENS.COM/BUILDINGTECHNOLOGIES
THE METZENBAUM U.S. COURTHOUSE IN
CLEVELAND is one of 32 federal facilities
in GSA’s National Deep Energy Retrofit