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The Role of the Owners Rep for Energy Performance and Control
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Many energy performance projects are unsuccessful due to a variety of confounding issues but most of them stem from the owner's lack of developing a solid team, a strong set of criteria for success, and a mechanism to ensure implementation success. Too often the owner is not the expert and is trying figure it out as they go. There is a severe lack of training and knowledge regarding how to ensure a positive energy reduction plan, how to measure ongoing success, and how to ensure the owner has complete ownership of their systems. The owner's representative can help by ensuring proper standards and specification documentation are created prior to the RFP stage. During the RFP process the rep can provide a check and balance between the set of specs and submittals. Owner reps can provide independent expertise and ensure vendors and system integrators are complying with the requirements from submittal to commissioning to verification. Energy performance has a strong reliance on the installed control system. Too frequently energy conservation focuses on a limited scope, typically HVAC. By taking a more holistic view, the owner can implement a more complete solution addressing HVAC, lighting, plug load, equipment and process control and more. Additional areas of possible savings include outdoor/parking lot lighting, irrigation, pumps/motors, integrated user interfaces, common visualization and reporting tools, and more. With a broader evaluation of energy usage and the control environment, owners can leverage the implementation of a facility-wide energy reduction plan using open controls technology that bridges many sub-systems and opens the door to continuous commissioning and ongoing reductions. In order to accomplish this, a team of affected parties must come to the table and share their pain points and agree to work together to establish and ensure a workable plan. Setting realistic expectations and mechanism to quantify results is an important upfront task. Too often an important entity is missing from the equation such as the IT department or the maintenance department. Project failures are typically not due to technology, they are due to people. Keeping the team on track, managing communication and concerns can be an integral part of an owner's rep. Training is another very important element of a successful project. Whether it's the facility maintenance staff, the energy manager, or the facility director, each group needs to not only understand the plan, but have training on the control processes, systems, and operation. Formulating a broad, ongoing training program can be a valuable contribution offered by an owner's rep. ESL-IC-12-10-70 Proceedings of the Twelfth Internatio
Bernstein, R. (2012). The Role of the Owners Rep for Energy Performance and Control. Energy Systems Laboratory (http://esl.tamu.edu); Texas A&M University (http://www.tamu.edu). Available electronically from