Archive for April, 2011

Earth Day, 2011: What is one small change in your routine that can help the environment?

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Happy Earth Day from CQI Associates

 

In honor of Earth Day, here are some great tips that are easy to implement.  At least pick one – you’ve gotta start somewhere!

  • In your home or office, position your desk and seats to optimize for natural light. Not only will it save you from using electricty for lighting and heat, but many scientists believe that natural light offers many positive health benefits as well.
  • Reduce your standby power usage. Many electronics, including TVs, computers, office equipment, video game consoles and home theater systems continue to use electricity when they appear off in standby mode. Utilizing a surge protector with an on/off switch can help you control standby power usage from multiple devices.
  • Optimize your PCs power settings. By setting up a power profile, you’ll teach your PC how to conserve its own electricity. I tell my computer to turn off the displays after 2 minutes of idle activity and to sleep after 5 minutes.
  • Recycle your old equipment. Computers and common office equipment oftentimes contains very hazardous chemicals, including mercury, lead, and PCBs and can significantly damage the earth’s ecosystem. Be sure to recycle or dispose of your PCs, printers, monitors, batteries, and other equipment safely.
  • Offices use a lot of paper, so be mindful of your printing habits. Buy paper made with 100 percent post-consumer waste, print only when needed, and of course, print on both sides when possible.
  • Make sure you refill ink cartridges rather than buying new ones, or at the least, dispose of your printer cartridges at local stores that offer cartridge recyling services.
  • Don’t hesitate to invest in upgrading parts of your home in the name of energy efficiency. If you work at home like we do, your home is your workplace as well, and you may spend twice as much time there as a result.
  • Reduce the usage of air conditioning by making an organic roof garden. Water the plants every day, smell the fragrance of flowers, and watch small creatures flying around!
  • When your laptop battery is full, just unplug the power source.
  • Save paper by printing double-sided. Refill ink cartridges instead of buying new ones. Remove the hard drive from old computers then recycle it.
  • Spend some of the time you would usually be commuting growing fresh herbs / veggies / fruit in your garden…and compost!”
  • Use a hybrid electric source and a laptop with an earth friendly battery!

And here is a very interesting fact:

Did you know that if the 40% of U.S. jobs that could be done from home actually were, those 50 million teleworkers could save 587 million barrels of oil, and reduce CO² by 101 million metric tons?

Hummmmm……. Happy Earth Day!

CQI Associates

 

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201 NORTH CHARLES STREET BECOMES ONE OF THE FIRST LEED® GOLD FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS SERVED BY BALTIMORE’S DISTRICT HEATING SYSTEM

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Stratford Realty Management Company, a Baltimore-based property management and leasing company, aligned with CQI Associates, LLC, a Columbia, Maryland-based energy and environmental management consulting firm, to complete the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® for Existing Buildings (EB) Certification of 201 N. Charles Street in Baltimore, Maryland. This accomplishment makes 201 N. Charles Street one of the first buildings to receive the LEED® Gold EB Certification in the downtown Baltimore business district.

Managed by Stratford Realty Management Company, 201 N. Charles Street is a 326,768-square-foot, 30-story, Class-A office building located blocks from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.  Tenants include Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Johns Hopkins University. The building is in exceptional condition and has been expertly maintained, giving the appearance of a building far younger than one built in 1967. 201 N. Charles Street is a BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association International) award winning building.

Achieving LEED® Gold EB Certification

CQI Associates completed an initial energy assessment of the building in early 2009, then provided Stratford Realty Management Company with a list of recommendations for improving energy efficiency and working toward the LEED® Gold EB Certification. Both companies worked closely together to implement the recommendations and complete the certification process.

The initial investment in the project’s green and sustainable technologies, strategies, and design resulted in an estimated savings of more than $130,000 in the first year.  With an ENERGY STAR performance rating of 80, 201 N. Charles Street is 60 percent more energy efficient and annually saves $1.43 per square foot in energy costs when compared to the average U.S. office building.

Reducing Costs and Consumption

A significant program highlight recommended by CQI Associates was the addition of variable frequency drives (VFDs) on the major air handling units in the building. Control was also added to the building automation system, thus allowing control of the VFDs, as well as the ability to control the dampers for each floor.  This in turn enables the building automation system to efficiently manage the air flow to different floors, which is particularly useful when the floors are unoccupied.  The management team has already seen a reduction in energy costs and consumption due to the implementation of the VFDs. 

Another project highlight helping to garner the LEED® Gold EB Certification was the installation of dual flush toilets in the ladies rooms on every floor in the building.  A 22% reduction in water use for all fixtures was found when using a performance calculation according to the LEED® templates.

“CQI Associates was thrilled to partner with Stratford Realty Management Company to complete the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Gold EB Certification for 201 N. Charles Street,” said Principal Richard Anderson. “Our passion is for the environment and helping businesses achieve a higher level of sustainability and corporate social responsibility. With origins in energy management, CQI Associates has the experience and expertise to lead the most unique and challenging projects toward successful implementation and LEED® Certification.”

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“CQI Associates Energy Currents” April 2011

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

“Energy Currents” is an attempt, in a short and concise way, to provide relevant information on current energy and environmental issues.

Market Rates and Trends: The earthquake and tsunami in Japan may have an impact on world energy prices including natural gas over the next six months. Fossil fuels will be needed to replace the nuclear energy generation losses. The additional demand may have an impact over the next year and prices are expected to increase. We are closely monitoring the situation.

We have all noticed the price of filling our cars or trucks has increased significantly. This is due to the issues in the Middle East. And while oil prices have increased significantly, oil pricing has yet to have a direct effect on the price of electricity. Natural gas pricing is the factor that most effects the price of electricity.

The current price for natural gas is at record ten-year lows. In 2002, the price was $0.78 per therm. The price in March 2011 is $0.638 per therm. The projected price increase for electricity for the next 12-months is 4.6%. The data at this time does not indicate major increases in electricity rates based on the issues in the Middle East.

Energy Tip of the Month: The following are ideas on how to reduce gasoline & diesel fuel costs and consumption for your car or truck.

-Join buyers clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club which offer lower prices.

-Enroll in shopping discount card programs like the plan offered by Giant Food & Shell Gasoline. For every $100 spent the shopper receives at least $.10 cents off per gallon. Near the end of the month the discounts can increase to $.30 cents off per gallon.

-Keep your speed steady without having to accelerate. While in heavy traffic this is the most efficient way to save gas and can easily get you 10% – 20% better gas mileage.

-Using cruise control when appropriate improves efficiency.

-Shift into neutral when the car is standing still for long periods of time.

-To reduce the ‘mass’ of your car – empty out the trunk and remove heavy items.

-Inflate your tires to the specified levels. Steel-belted radial tires increase gas mileage up to 10%.

– Remove ski, bicycle or luggage-racks when not needed. Believe it or not, this will save quite a bit of gasoline.

-Choosing the correct grade of oil for your car is important as the wrong grade of oil may increase the friction in your engine. -Replace the air filter at recommended cycles.

-Do not fill up unless you are on empty.

-The first gas station you encounter after a long, thirsty stretch is almost never the cheapest. Drive a little further to find a cheaper station.

-Don’t warm your car up by letting it idle. The engine warms up faster when driving than it does when idling, and idling wastes about a quart of gas every 15 minutes.

-Carpool!

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2001 K STREET NW IN WASHINGTON, DC ACHIEVES LEED® GOLD FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS CERTIFICATION

Friday, April 8th, 2011

2001 K Street

2001 K Street

 

Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., a global commercial real estate brokerage and management firm, aligned with CQI Associates, LLC, a Columbia, Maryland-based energy and environmental management consulting firm, to complete the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Gold for Existing Buildings (EB) Certification of 2001 K Street, NW in Washington, DC.

Managed by Cushman & Wakefield, 2001 K Street, NW is a 356,820-square-foot, 12-story office building located on the northwest corner of 20th and K Streets – a few blocks from the White House and George Washington University. The building is in exceptional condition and includes a natural stone facade as part of its striking architectural design. A retail branch of Eagle Bank is located on the first floor, with floors two through eleven occupied by other world-class and globally-renowned businesses like the law offices of Clifford Chance LLP and the architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. A lower level includes two mailrooms, a fitness center, and storage areas.  The facility staff began embracing green operations long before the actual LEED® certification process began. In 2008, the management team installed motion sensors for the garage lighting and later introduced a recycling program where tenants recycle mixed paper, plastics, bottles and cans.

Achieving LEED® Gold EB Certification

CQI Associates completed an initial energy assessment of the building in the summer of 2009, then provided a list of recommendations for improving energy efficiency and working toward the LEED® Gold EB Certification. CQI Associates worked closely with Cushman & Wakefield to implement the recommendations and complete the certification process.

The initial investment in the project’s green and sustainable technologies, strategies, and design resulted in an estimated savings of more than $51,000 in the first year.  With an ENERGY STAR rating of 79, 2001 K Street NW is 58 percent more energy efficient and annually saves $1.03 per square foot in energy costs when compared to the average U.S. office building.

According to Property Manager Timeeca Mitchell, “The tenants have really embraced working in a green environment. Most interior modifications are completed to meet LEED® standards, whether the tenant pursues certification or not. We are also thrilled with the response to the recycling program and have 100% participation from tenants on all floors. Everyone has really come together to be better global citizens and improve the efficiency of our working environment.”

Chief Engineer Don Bauman shared, “Every month when we receive the energy bill, we are excited to see the payback on our investment continue. At the current rate, we expect to reach a full payback in less than two years. It is very impressive, as with most significant projects in other areas of business, it may be hard to measure the return on investment. We are able to track our progress every month and it is truly amazing.”

 Reducing Costs and Consumption

Working toward greater water conservation, dual flush toilets were installed in all of the women’s restrooms and .5 gpf (low flow) urinals in the men’s restrooms, as well as low flow aerators on the restroom faucets, thus reducing the overall water usage by over 30%

Another important component to achieving greater energy efficiency was the HVAC system. As a part of the project implementation, variable frequency drives (VFDs) were installed on the Air Handling Units, cooling tower fans, and most recently on the condenser pump.  Beyond improvements to the HVAC system, occupancy sensors were added in the restrooms and office spaces. The purpose is as simple as the name: to save electricity when restrooms and offices are not in use. The building lighting also utilizes high efficiency low mercury T-8 fluorescent bulbs.

In addition to the physical upgrades, the building management team has taken great care to ensure that outside contractors performing facility alterations correctly follow green purchasing, waste management, and indoor air quality LEED® requirements in the execution of new projects. The management staff checks the building equipment two or three times a day and promptly responds to occupant concerns using a detailed work order system.

 “We were delighted to partner with Cushman & Wakefield on this LEED® Gold EB Certification project and help to further advance its global leadership and commitment to green design and operations in commercial real estate,” said CQI Associates Principal, Richard Anderson.

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EMBASSY OF FINLAND BECOMES FIRST DIPLOMATIC MISSION TO RECEIVE LEED® GOLD FOR EXISTING BUILDINGS CERTIFICATION

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The Embassy of Finland in Washington, DC partnered with CQI Associates, LLC, a Columbia, Maryland-based energy and environmental management consulting firm, to become the first embassy in the country to complete the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold for Existing Buildings (EB) Certification.

Located across from the Vice President’s residence on Massachusetts Avenue, the embassy has been environmentally friendly since it was originally constructed by two Finnish architects, Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen. The harmonious incorporation of the modern, glass-and-copper building into the surrounding landscape of Normanstone Park was quite progressive for the mid-1990s.  The surrounding nature was left largely undisturbed as only three trees were cut on the property to make room for the building, and sunlight was used in innovative ways to decrease the need for electrical lighting. The building’s original design was one of the initial highlights that encouraged the embassy staff to apply for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR, which the embassy was awarded in September 2008, and subsequently the LEED® Gold EB Certification, awarded in January 2010.

Achieving the LEED® Gold EB Certification

CQI Associates completed an initial energy assessment of the building in the spring of 2009, then provided a list of recommendations for improving energy efficiency and working toward the LEED® Gold EB Certification. CQI Associates worked closely with the Embassy of Finland’s staff to implement the recommendations and complete the certification process.

“We are extremely proud to be the first embassy in the U.S. to achieve this recognition,” says Finnish Ambassador Pekka Lintu. “Retrofitting our embassy building demonstrates that we Finns strive to be active but energy-efficient members of our neighborhood and the greater D.C. community. It is also worth noting that by maintaining this demanding status, the Embassy of Finland is supporting a range of important initiatives by local US companies that offer green jobs for the growing green workforce. We hope that our adaptation of green principles and our commitment to the well-being of people and the environment will inspire other foreign missions to view their opportunities in this field.”

Reducing Costs and Consumption

A significant part of the process to further improve energy efficiency was the introduction of a free-cooling system that halved the use of electricity-powered cooling. This increased the working life of the mechanical cooling facility by more than half. Several overlapping features of the heating and cooling systems were eliminated. The heating management operating system was replaced with a more modern system to improve the regulation of the outside temperature’s effect on the building’s indoor environment. In addition, variable frequency drivers were installed on the pumps and cooling tower.

Furthermore, toilets and faucets were fitted with water saving devices, while rigorous policies were implemented to ensure sustainable practices: occupancy sensors were installed in offices, recycling became a major priority, and all procurement became subject to environmental considerations. Used furniture and other durable goods were donated to local schools and organizations. All cleaning supplies were replaced with environmentally sound products, and low-impact chemicals were introduced in site maintenance such as gardening. A stringent non-smoking policy was implemented, and garage space was re-designated to encourage staff to cycle to work or use hybrid vehicles.

With an ENERGY STAR rating of 78, the Embassy of Finland is 56 percent more energy efficient and annually saves $0.86 per square foot in energy costs when compared to the average U.S. office building.

“We were truly honored to be selected for this project by the Embassy of Finland, known for their great contributions and commitment to the environment,” said CQI Associates Principal, Richard Anderson. “Our teams worked together to achieve the first LEED® Gold EB Certification for an embassy in the United States. We believe this is just the beginning and hope to work with other diplomatic missions to further their commitments to improving the environment.”

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