guidelines have been incorporated to put
district energy on a level playing field when
it comes to energy modeling. Previously,
existing district energy facilities were
required to use real energy data that was
then compared to the theoretical data of
an onsite plant. The comparison was not
apples to apples, and the results were often
inaccurate. The new guideline will allow
district energy systems an option to use
modeled data, thus putting the analysis on
an equal level by allowing modeled, versus
actual, district energy data to be compared
to modeled on-site, standalone options.
We have presented three key issues to the
USGBC task force for consideration in the
; Incremental distribution losses. In our
industry, we understand that tying a new
building to an existing distribution network often actually reduces the overall
percentage of energy loss in that network.
Therefore, encouraging new buildings
close to an existing network to ‘tie-in’
actually improves overall energy performance, while reducing the need for
new infrastructure. Changes are being
proposed to give credit for this fact.
; Thermal energy storage. As professionals
in our industry understand, thermal energy
storage offers environmental advantages
– including energy storage opportunities
for some of the renewable systems now
considered ‘sexy,’ such as wind turbines.
The USGBC also recognizes the benefit.
However, current guidelines provide credit
for thermal energy storage when installed
on a building site, but actually penalize
its use with district energy systems. We
are working to change this.
; Renewable energy. The USGBC intends
to provide credit for renewable energy
use whether it is utilized directly within
the project or comes from district energy
systems. However, the current calculations for renewable energy in district
energy do not account for this properly.
Therefore, we are working to get the
formula fixed in the revised guidelines.
IDEA is also working to educate members on applying LEED to district energy.
This column, for instance is part of that
effort. In addition, LEED workshops have
been included at the last business development, campus and annual conferences
as well. Our ultimate goal, however, related to education is the development of a
‘guidance-to-the-guidance’ document (a
kind of LEED and District Energy for
Dummies). Our goal is to provide district
energy system owners with an effective
tool to put into their customers’ hands
that easily explains how to apply LEED in a
district energy application, along with case
studies and other tools. The USGBC has
agreed to help with this effort and put its
seal of approval on the final document.
IDEA is continuing to move forward
on multiple fronts. In next quarter’s column,
I’ll give you an update on the release of the
new district energy system guidelines and
begin to present how you can be prepared to respond when building designers
need your system information for their
Tim Griffin, PE, is IDEA’s
liaison with the U.S. Green
Building Council. He is a principal and division manager
with RMF Engineering Inc.,
a firm specializing in district
energy system design and
commissioning. A registered
engineer and a LEED Accredited Professional,
Griffin has a bachelor of science degree in
mechanical engineering from North Carolina
State University and a master of business
administration degree from Colorado State
University. He authored the book Winning With
Millennials: How to Attract, Retain, and Empower
Today’s Generation of Design Professionals. He
may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing IDEA Resources
District Energy Magazine –
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; Special bulk and employee subscription pricing available
; Individual back issues available: U.S. member $12/nonmember $15; International member $17/nonmember $20
Please contact Len Phillips, IDEA, (508) 366-9339,
; become a member,
; order the magazine,
; obtain your passwords,
; submit your industry and personnel news, and
; get answers to your questions!
IDEA Archives – www.districtenergy.org
; Search archives for technical papers from past IDEA conferences and selected past issues of District Energy magazine
; Available free to members but requires password; fee for nonmembers
Please contact Tanya Kozel, IDEA, (410) 518-6676,
; exhibit at an event, or
; sponsor an event.
IDEA Forums (members only)
; Connect with other IDEA members to exchange ideas and solutions
; Available free to members