An analysis regarding energy efficiency in metro Atlanta's private office buildings
Fore, Elizabeth K.
MetadataShow full item record
Commercial office building occupants are a significant consumer of electricity, and they subsequently contribute a significant amount of greenhouse gases into the environment in the process. An opportunity exists to improve the energy efficiency in existing buildings, and the Energy Star certification program provides both tools to do so and an independent verification of a building's superior energy efficiency. However, only 16% of metro Atlanta's office space has achieved this certification. The intent of the research was to identify the current state of energy efficiency in buildings, and to identify potential obstacles to obtaining the Energy Star certification. Towards this goal, secondary research was conducted among prominent academic journals, as well as numerous professional and governmental organizations and publications. Primary research was conducted through an online survey of Facility Managers, Property Managers, and Building Engineers of Energy Star office buildings and comparable non-Energy Star office buildings in the metro Atlanta area. The survey was conducted mostly using closed-ended questions using a Likert scale so as to provide a basis for statistical analysis among responses, and open-ended questions were also included to identify the current state of energy efficiency practices. The research identified three areas which hold statistically significant differences between Energy Star and directly comparable buildings. An analysis also determined that building age does seem to play a role in the building representatives' responses. Four conclusions were found regarding characteristics of Energy Star buildings themselves. The research also identified five conclusions regarding the expected result when pursuing the Energy Star certification. These conclusions include the best method to achieve the Energy Star certification, the expected energy savings, the expected time spent to achieve the certification, the expected cost to achieve the certification, and the main reasons to recertify the building. Finally, this research highlights innovative practices in other states and cities, such as financial incentives and legislation which require commercial buildings to obtain a building rating. Such innovative practices are currently not employed in the Atlanta metro area, but would be beneficial to both the Atlanta area and individual buildings.