Energy Efficiency As A Global Concern

31 October 2008 – I was honoured to be invited by HKTDC to give a speech at the 2008 ECO ASIA EXPO regarding Energy Efficiency. Special thanks for HKDTC’s Mr Matthew Ip for his gracious introduction.

Here are some more photographs from the venue.

Sadly, especially considering this was an environmenal exhitbition, each of the exhibition booths had several spotlights with 100 watt incandescent lamps – hardly a shining example of efficiency for the exhibitors and delegates.

Whole System Thinking

Changing the world is difficult, to change custom and practice is one tiny step on the journey.  One of the primary reasons for poor building performance happens early in the design process and often before the engineers are consulted.

The Old Way
At the earliest stages of the process, at the critical juncture whilst conceptual ideas are still being formulated, a proposed scheme is presented sold to the owner or developer, before the engineers have any say. Unfortunately, once that scheme has received the official blessing, the fate of the of the buildings operating costs is virtually sealed.

Change is good but not in building development,  the designer and team had already lived with the plan for a few weeks, they are invested in it success.  Any subsequent “change” that could potentially undo that work, and perhaps might require the designer to modify the the layout or the facade is typically rejected. The designer moves on, there is a firm scheme, then other consultants are summoned to join his project team. It does not happen in every case, but that is a fairly typical MO.

Another Way
There is another way, a more productive way WST (Whole System Thinking) is an integrated approach to engineering design that challenges past assumptions made everyday. If evidence is needed here is a link to a cost Summary Sheet (1 page PDF format) incidentally is protected document, the password is kelcroft.

Using the WST principal this heat rejection solution provides the same capacity with less CAPex investment, and provides a lower OPex for the lifetime of the equipment. Yes, it did require more engineering effort than the typical methodology, because the system needed to be properly designed. The WST approach exceeds incremental 2-3% savings, delivering more than 30% reduction in first cost compared to the typical design.

If concepts designs are locked down early, the opportunity for WST is lost along with the chance of lower operating costs and reduced carbon consumption.

Putting this in to a future context, it has been estimated that urbanisaton will continue to expand in China increasing the number of city dwellers upto 0.9 billion in 2025, building sustainably is the only solution.

John Herbert, Consultant, Kelcroft

HAESCO Energy Efficiency Event

As executive director of HAESCO I was honoured to present at our seminar held last September 2008 (refer photo above). The event was without doubt an overwhelming success with more 250 delegates from the energy sector and industry attending.  EMSD Deputy Director Mr Alfred Sit also honoured the occasion with a keynote address.

I will not bore you by repeating my presentation here, in essence the basic idea is really simple – mandatory energy labelling for buildings, to help create a market, an enviroment where “energy” is a visible building metric for every potential owner, and tenant.

Building Energy Efficiency Book

energy efficiency book kelcroft

I was one of the many experts that contributed to the book titled Building Energy Efficiency – Why Green Buildings Are Key to Asia’s Future published by the Asia Business Council. This book covers energy issues and building energy codes in different Asian countries – worth reading. I understand a Chinese language version will be launched in the near future (end of 2008).

Its key point, learn from history and avoid repeating past mistakes. The PDF version is available FREE to download visit this page

Who is designing your Green building?

kelcroft, john herbert, green building

I attended the Enviroseries 08 conference, the topic was energy efficiency. What has become increasing transparent is that the business as usual approach to buildings, and green building is just not working.

For green buildings who designs them?  It seems clear to me that when the overriding consideration is the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)  that is the on-going fuel and energy costs for the life of a building (claims of upto 70% of the cost are often cited) outweigh other considerations in terms of sustainability. So the question must be asked why are architects leading?

An architect can’t calculate the primary metric KWH/sqm/PA, the cooling and heating loads for a particular aspect, zone or elevation, and the architect can’t tell you the right glazing balancing the cost of solar reflection and creating a perimeter day lighting zone, or the water impact, etc. etc. the list is long an tedious – so you have to ask the question where is the value?

green building, kelcroft, john herbert

Conference Brochure

it seems clear that Building developers are asking the wrong people to create green buildings, the architect is the middle man, needing the advice from a legion of E&M engineers. It’s the E&M engineers that do the heavy lifting, calculating the energy metrics of building envelope, assessing the operating cost, modelling energy savings for a green roof or cool roof, not the architect. Its the engineers that need to specify the performance of the building materials if energy costs are to be controlled.

Buildings in Hong Kong and elsewhere designed under the old method with a lead architect, those buildings consume 86% of all the electricity generated – business as usual?

The lion share of the future energy and ownership costs of building is too often determined by an architect, and that needs to change if our goal of lowering GHG emissions is to be met.

Energy Efficiency Presentation by John Herbert

I was honoured to give an energy efficiency presentation to Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) committee regarding energy efficiency opportunities for Hong Kong business, lower business operating costs and improve profits.

Energy Efficiency

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