Advanced Benchmarking for Complex Building Types: Laboratories as an Exemplar Page: 1 of 13
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Advanced Benchmarking for Complex Building Types:
Laboratories as an Exemplar
Paul Mathew, Robert Clear, Kevin Kircher, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Tom Webster, Kwang Ho Lee, Tyler Hoyt, University of California, Berkeley.
This research was supported by the Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable
Energy, Office of Building Technologies of the U.S. Department of Energy, under Contract No.
Complex buildings such as laboratories, data centers and cleanrooms present particular
challenges for energy benchmarking because it is difficult to normalize special requirements
such as health and safety in laboratories and reliability (i.e. system redundancy to maintain
uptime) in data centers which significantly impact energy use. For example, air change
requirements vary widely based on the type of work being performed in each laboratory space.
We present methods and tools for energy benchmarking in laboratories, as an exemplar of
a complex building type. First, we address whole building energy metrics and normalization
parameters. We present empirical methods based on simple data filtering as well as multivariate
regression analysis on the Labs21 database. The regression analysis showed lab type, lab-area
ratio and occupancy hours to be significant variables. Yet the dataset did not allow analysis of
factors such as plug loads and air change rates, both of which are critical to lab energy use. The
simulation-based method uses an EnergyPlus model to generate a benchmark energy intensity
normalized for a wider range of parameters. We suggest that both these methods have
complementary strengths and limitations.
Second, we present "action-oriented" benchmarking, which extends whole-building
benchmarking by utilizing system-level features and metrics such as airflow W/cfm to quickly
identify a list of potential efficiency actions which can then be used as the basis for a more
detailed audit. While action-oriented benchmarking is not an "audit in a box" and is not intended
to provide the same degree of accuracy afforded by an energy audit, we demonstrate how it can
be used to focus and prioritize audit activity and track performance at the system level. We
conclude with key principles that are more broadly applicable to other complex building types.
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Mathew, Paul A.; Clear, Robert; Kircher, Kevin; Webster, Tom; Lee, Kwang Ho & Hoyt, Tyler. Advanced Benchmarking for Complex Building Types: Laboratories as an Exemplar, article, August 1, 2010; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1015122/m1/1/: accessed February 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.