[Equest-users] Open Letter to LEED Energy Model Reviewers(UNCLASSIFIED)

Paul Riemer Paul.Riemer at dunhameng.com
Thu Aug 22 11:04:59 PDT 2013

As for what to do about it ...  energy modeling to quantify savings vs. a code baseline is only going to less workable in the future.  The code writers surely use energy modeling to determine the code progression so if you can consistently and clearly demonstrate cost effective savings with a measure it will be incorporated into the codes.  So the measures left out there will be either marginally cost effective, complex, have limited applications, or all of the above.  For further evidence just look at LEED's path on minimum energy savings for new construction: 14% in v2.2, 10% in 2009, 5% in v4.  What will v 5 be, 2.5%? When is that number so small that nominally code efficient buildings can get certified?  When do we rethink the methodology instead of just the numeric threshold?

Now do you have any sympathy for the reviewers?

Paul Riemer, PE, LEED AP BD+C

From: equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org [mailto:equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of Kathryn Kerns
Sent: Thursday, August 22, 2013 11:57 AM
To: Eurek, John S NWO; Wesley S. Care; equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org
Subject: Re: [Equest-users] Open Letter to LEED Energy Model Reviewers(UNCLASSIFIED)

I agree. I am currently working on a project trying to prove why an open aquifer well ground loop system has a constant supply temperature of 51 F. On top of rubber stamping comments that are just plain wrong or don't have anything to do with your particular situation, you end up trying to explain normal engineering concepts to a bunch of people who have very little, if any, engineering background.

I find LEED one of the most frustrating parts of project management nowadays. And the time you spend arguing with them about how many angels stand on the head of a pin is a waste of our project resources.

Unfortunately, I haven't figured out what to do about it.

From: equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org on behalf of Eurek, John S NWO
Sent: Thu 8/22/2013 8:08 AM
To: Wesley S. Care; equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org
Subject: Re: [Equest-users] Open Letter to LEED Energy Model Reviewers(UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Actual LEED reviewer comment.

11. The Baseline model fan equivalent full load hours (determined by dividing the total annual fan consumption by the total fan power) are 946 hours/year and the Proposed Case fan equivalent full load hours is 2,009 hours/year. Insufficient information has been provided why the Baseline fans operate significantly longer than the Proposed fans.

- LEED reviews, now thinking 946 is significantly larger than 2,009.

-----Original Message-----
From: equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org [mailto:equest-users-bounces at lists.onebuilding.org] On Behalf Of Wesley S. Care
Sent: Monday, August 19, 2013 5:54 PM
To: equest-users at lists.onebuilding.org
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [Equest-users] Open Letter to LEED Energy Model Reviewers

Dear LEED Energy Model Reviewers:

Let me first say that I believe most of you are doing your best and take your positions seriously. Also, that I understand your jobs must be difficult, to decipher modeling results from a variety of users and software, all of us with our own modeling styles. In my commentary below, know that I am trying to come from the position of a constructive critic, and would like the LEED process to be better for everyone involved. Unfortunately, the opaque, anonymous review process does not allow me any forum whatsoever to provide feedback which would not threaten the review status of my clients.

I received several (less than 10) comments on a model today. I expected some, especially with a fairly unusual method of water heating in my proposed model which is difficult to explain well with the template process. However, two are completely unacceptable:

The first comment requests that I make modifications necessary to "reflect Title-24 modeling protocol." Ok, that would be fine, except my building is NOT IN CALIFORNIA.

The other comment includes bracketed notes to the reviewer him/herself, resulting in a totally incomplete comment: "It is unclear whether the Baseline case fan air flow rates were sized based on a 20 deg. F supply-air-to-room-air temperature difference for each Baseline system because [indicate why you think this has been done incorrectly and what you are looking at to indicate this issue]." What am I supposed to do with this? Choose my own adventure?

You may not have perspective on what it is like to be on the LEED submittal side of this process, or why this might be a big deal. People do these models as a JOB. A career. Some of us work for a company, others as independent consultants. All of us do it for money, usually a pretty substantial amount, and to get the work, we have to present ourselves as qualified, professional energy modelers. When our clients, who paid a lot for our professional services, see a "text wall" of comments, what do they think? It's one thing when the comments are reasonable, but totally inappropriate when they are not.

Adding rubber-stamp comments does not make you look better as a reviewer. It does not make our clients say, "Wow, all that money I paid to USGBC sure is justified!" It makes us both look foolish, and it does two bad things (over and above wasting my/my client's/my company's time). It delegitimizes my standing as a modeler, because my client thinks I may not be as good as I say I am (which impacts my or my company's ability to negotiate decent contracts going forward). And it delegitimizes the USGBC as a whole, because now I know, as many others have attested on this forum as well, that some of the model reviewing going on is some combination of incompetent and lazy.

For all the work required to successfully complete a LEED model submission, and all of the cost, surely we can at least expect you to double check your own comments, and make sure that they are even relevant. You are not graduate TAs grading freshman engineering papers. You are professionals, guiding other professionals in the energy modeling process for tomorrow's efficient buildings. We've all made mistakes, but please, please take this seriously.



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Wesley Care, EIT | Mechanical Project Engineer | * <mailto:wesley.care at esdaz.com>  wesley.care at esdaz.com<mailto:wesley.care at esdaz.com> <mailto:wesley.care at esdaz.com>  | ( 480.481.4973 | 6 480.481.4903

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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