Life Cycle analysis helps understand the ROI on green strategies, energy savings and the cost of gaining LEED credit
Life Cycle Analysis Help Determine Value of Green Strategies
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) offers certification to sustainable buildings depending on the degree of compliance it has to LEED guidelines and benchmarks. However, when the need is to assess the viability of green strategies and establish the value of each LEED does not offer statistical and analytical tools. The right tool to use for arriving at the value of green strategies is the Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Building Information Modeling.
Creating 3D virtual model of the building structure and engineering information offers the right evaluation background for evaluating the green strategies because the software allows easy scaling of the different parameters for assessment. Therefore, qualitative cost effectiveness and value of each life cycle is determined with the convergence of BIM and Life Cycle Cost Analysis.
Studies using the above tools the following green strategies prove to be invaluable for sustainable buildings.
Solar Photovoltaic Panels introduced by one of the leading manufactures have thin-films for panels and considerably reduced the standard installation cost from $11.50/W to $6/W.
Wind Turbines with Vertical –axis are highly recommended for urban environments as they capture rising turbulent wind patterns effectively. However, the horizontal-axis turbines though are less expensive and offer the same overall efficiency. Locating the turbine in the most effective position on-site is crucial to its performance.
Glazing windows with low conductive heat values but allowed considerably larger quantities of light to enter the building, were found to be more effective. The heating loads dropped due to solar gains and the cooling load far outweighed the cooling load thereby saving energy.
Water cooled chillers when installed in large buildings well be effective and perhaps not so effective for smaller buildings as the installation and maintenance costs will far outrun the utility savings of $4,500/yr as well the 20% more life cycle.
Boilers performance is optimized when they are placed in the right water temperature delta. Typical costs should range at $12.10 per MBH and 83% efficiency. The 93% efficiency boilers of some brands are known to cost $15 per MBH with a payback term of 14 years.
It is difficult for a facility owner to comprehend the costs of greener strategies proposed by the building design team. However, a detailed Life Cycle Costing Analysis will explicitly provide all the required information and the statistics to prove the true value of greener strategies as being more implicit in terms of lowered GHG emissions, better energy usage than economical.
Moreover, detailed analysis using additional tools will help in determining which type of green technology is apt for the individual building depending on the geographic location and the climate of the site of construction. Green strategies are the technology winners for tomorrow’s buildings!
Michael Vargas is the founder and principal consultant of Atlas Project Support. Mr. Vargas has more than 10 years of construction and energy accounting and utilization experience, and is a Certified Business Energy Professional through the AEE, a California Association Building Energy Consultant Certified Energy Plans Examiner, LEED Green Associate and GBCI Advisory Panel Member. Mr. Vargas also holds a BSBA from SDSU, MBA and MPM from Keller Graduate School. For more information contact Michael at email@example.com or via the web at www.myatlasproject.com.