Weather is becoming more unpredictable, and so are energy costs and requirements

Heat waves, cold snaps and more acute storms are making building energy requirements for heating and cooling less predictable. This climate volatility increases the number of peak energy consumption days, which are the most expensive days to heat and cool a facility. In addition, during heat waves, pockets of air come to a standstill and trap pollutants, making the quality of outdoor air available for ventilation problematic for IAQ. For facilities managers charged with maintaining indoor temperatures and air quality, as well as managing to budgets, enVerid offers a solution.

Chart on number of heat extremes over time in USA

What does it mean to be energy or climate resilient?

Climate resilience is defined as the capacity of communities and businesses to deal effectively with changes in climate, and respond, adapt and evolve in a way such that the system is better prepared for future climatic changes. Energy resilience is one element of climate resilience: this aspect considers  planning for varying demands, reducing energy use, using renewable energy, back up generation for mission critical elements and diversification of energy resources.

What does it mean to be energy resilient for facility manager?

A building that is resilient against volatile energy demands and prices, and curtailment of sources of supply is said to be energy resilient. Today, with the changing climates, making a building energy resilient is important for the facility manager.

  • Overall demand reduction
    • Optimizing the consumption of energy by using efficient HVAC and lighting system. One such equipment is enVerid HLR, which reduces HVAC energy consumption by 20% or more over the course of normal operations, and up to 60% on peak demand days.
    • Optimizing the consumption of energy through other means, such as windows, doorways, habit change, building management systems and more.
  • Backup power and energy independence
    • Energy managers and facilities managers might explore storage of electricity to gain control over the source and volume of energy, to mitigate the expenses associated with outages and high peak demand charges.
    • Facility managers might consider the use of ‘microgrids’, which are miniature version of a large utility grid, but can disconnect from the  large grid anytime and still continue to operate. These minimize energy consumption, increase the reliability of supply, reduce environmental impacts and improve energy efficiency.
  • Green energy
    • Employing different sources of renewable energy such as daylight saving, photovoltaics, passive solar heating and groundwater cooling to meet the energy demand. enVerid has done a compelling deployment with a geothermal HVAC at the Shelby Farms Conservancy in Tennessee, which not only reduced initial requirements for equipment capacity, but enabled ongoing day to day energy savings in a completely renewable energy environment.

The impact of the changing climates varies from city to city due to physical factors like geography and social, economic and political factors. But no matter where you’re located, preparing for climate volatility by reducing energy consumption, particularly on peak demand days, is a key element of being climate resilient.

 

If you want to learn more about trends and forecasts in heating and cooling degree days, and shifts in temperature and precipitation to help you make your energy resilience plan, here's a link to the full 96-page 2016 Climate Change Indicators EPA report.