June 1st marked the beginning of the City of Aspen’s Building IQ program. With CORE as their partner, Aspen joined a growing roster of cities worldwide that are working on innovative policies to reduce building energy use through benchmarking and building performance standards. The City has set science based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 63% by 2030 and to be net zero by 2050. “Buildings account for more than half of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the Building IQ program was designed to directly address those emissions by supporting property owners in measuring their resource consumption and helping find ways to reduce it” – Tessa Schreiner, City of Aspen Climate Action Manager. This policy makes sense for the community, and holds buildings accountable for their energy usage while helping the city reach its climate action goals.
Benchmarking is the first phase of this program and will require buildings to measure and compare their energy and water usage to similar buildings and past consumption. You cannot lower your energy and water usage if you do not have a baseline, and the simple act of measuring can decrease usage by 2 – 3% per year. Currently, the ordinance is in place for buildings over 20,000 sq ft. but will move to include smaller buildings incrementally each year.
One building that was ready to get involved was the Aspen Art Museum. “Efficiency is always a focus of the Aspen Art Museum, so when we were contacted by the Building IQ team, we jumped at the opportunity to participate.” – AAM CFO Tyler Schube. The museum stands out physically with its unique architecture, and is also a staple in our community hosting a variety of exhibitions, community events, and youth programs. Before the ordinance passed, they had already started looking into becoming more energy efficient, more automated, and having a higher level of functionality. Museums are incredibly complicated as far as keeping the heating, cooling, and humidity accurate. It is important to be able to use an automated climate control system system to ensure the art is at the correct temperature and humidity, and if not, it could affect the valuable pieces of art. They have the climate control system in place, but it is not as automated as they would like. With millions of dollars of art and their reputation on the line, they decided to do a BAS improvement study (Building Automated Systems study). The outcome of this study informed the museum that, they can rewrite and update the code so it can be a fully automated system. The BAS study is focused on the long-term maintenance of the building, but the result will make it more energy efficient.
With the HVAC being their top priority, the second is lighting. The museum was designed in 2012, and even though that was only 10 years ago, LED lightning was not as pertinent as it is now. Most of the lighting is currently incandescent, and again with museums, the lighting gets complicated. They have spot lighting, track lighting, dimmers, gallery cove lighting, common room lighting, not to mention custom lighting for events and parties. LED lighting provides the same or higher quality of light, uses 75 percent less energy, and lasts 25 times longer than the old incandescent bulbs, so switching the bulbs alone could save the Art Museum money and carbon emissions. With high tech controls for the lighting, it can be automated or controlled via a smartphone or table and will cut emissions even more.
This is only the beginning for the Aspen Art Museum. They are excited to schedule a free energy assessment with Mike Bouchet, CORE’s commercial program manager, and work with CORE through the benchmarking process. Mike intends to make a specialized plan for each property based on budget, needs, and the projects that would be the most effective. “There isn’t one plan for everyone, it will be individualized and customized for each building” – Mike Bouchet. Buildings can receive up to $25,000 in funding for energy efficient projects, or a $50,000 grant for large scale, customized projects. We will follow the Aspen Art Museum and give updates as they continue their journey with Building IQ.
For Building IQ properties, CORE can provide the initial energy assessment for FREE, enter all of your building information and utility data into Portfolio Manage, and then submit your report to the City of Aspen. We also offer advising, rebates, and incentives to help reach your Building Performance Standards. Contact Mike Bouchet to schedule an assessment today!
Catherine Lutz is a freelance writer based in Aspen. As a former newspaper reporter who has written about everything from entertainment to skiing to climate change for a wide variety of publications, nonprofits, and businesses, she understands the power of words to help connect us more closely with an idea, issue, or other people. An avid skier and biker raising two children to appreciate how lucky they are to grow up in the Roaring Fork Valley, she also hopes she and her family can make a positive impact on the community and the environment that sustains us.