Doing Well by Doing Good

energy_consultantAn RICS report titled Doing Well by Doing Good? Is an analysis of the financial performance of green office buildings in the USA conducted by Piet Eichholtz and Nils Kok of the University of Maastricht and John Quigley of the University of California, Berkeley 30 March 2009.

What is interesting for green building owners concerned with the potential return from Green building, well lets quote from the report summary:

The overall conclusion is that there is, indeed, a premium for the rents that ‘green’ buildings with the Energy Star rating can command, but no premium could be found for LEED-rated buildings.

Obviously, it varies according to a number of factors, but the aggregate premium for the whole sample is in the order of 3% per square foot compared with otherwise identical buildings – controlling for the quality and the specific location of office buildings. When looking at effective rents – rents adjusted for building occupancy levels – the premium is even higher, above 6%. The researchers were also able to look at the impact on the selling prices of green buildings, and here the premium is even higher, in the order of 16%.

Another study from USA confirms the healthy financial benefits from green buildings, particularly that handsome +16% for sale of green properties. Interestingly, this study does not supporting the same financial return for LEED rated properties.


Before jumping to conclusions remember that these rating tools are fundamentally different, with diverse rating criteria.  LEED is based on the whole, the sustainability of a building at design stage, whereas Energystar has a limited scope, and I am sure some would argue is rightly focused, based on real-life operational energy data.

Future Drivers

The future of Green Building will still be driven by corporations, demand based requirements for  environmentally sound structures to conduct business.   However, as the pressure to act upon climate change increase the carbon element  will increasingly drive a green rating systems, and operations will still hold the largest portion of the lifetime cost.

John Herbert

Cooling towers can save your energy costs

energy consulting Hong Kong, cooling towers

Air Conditioning systems in tropical regions for example, Hong Kong, South China, and Singapore burn the lions share of the energy budget, equally there are opportunities to lower the cost of doing business.  Here in Hong Kong, more than 32% of all the electricity generated powers this demand for air conditioning systems to keep building occupants cool during the hot and humid summer months, and buildings account for 63% of Hong Kong’s carbon footprint.

If your Hong Kong facility has an existing air-cooled chiller plant, and it is nearing the end of its useful life converting to a water based cooling system using cooling towers provides significant cost savings, but also provides another number of related benefits including lower noise levels, recovered plant room space, etc. The minimised sound levels lend an aura akin to serenity to the place; something which can be attributed to the use of an acoustical sealant like greenglue sealant.

Cooling Tower and Operations

It is import to remember that you need to conduct regular maintenance to kept your new cooling towers operating at peak performance.  Controlling the water quality and bacteria are critical to success.

Missing the Business Risk?

Imagine for a moment that your major competitor has already hired energyLAB as their energy consultant, and they are already enjoying the benefits of lower operating costs, coupled with lower environmental impact.  I imagine they would sing that achievement from the roof top because  most people prefer working with greener businesses, perhaps they have already gained new customers.

Customers don’t always act in the way one expects, and businesses that differentiate themselves in the noise of the market perform better.

Studies prove that companies that have active energy policies, conduct energy audits and act on the results out perform their peers on the stock market. Why? because shareholder recognize  the extra value the management team adds by considering the future business environment. Many of today;s voluntary schemes will become compulsory, and if you are already on the track your competitors will find it very difficult, and will always be behind trying to catch the leader.

Contact energyLAB

If you need to cut costs, or lower your carbon footprint call the energyLAB today, we will implement our 3p programme so you can start saving energy!

John Herbert
energyLAB Limited

Energy Efficiency And Air Pollution

Energy Efficiency and Air Pollution

energy efficiency consultant, energylab, hong kong energy expert

Wondering why air pollution and energy efficiency are so closely related? 89% of Hong Kong electricity generated is consumed in buildings, yet as little as 10% of the primary energy is actually provides useful work. Therefore every watt you save counts. In the chart using 2006 data, the purple represents Hong Kong electricity generation by coal, the green fuel by gas (original chart by IEA


We assess your energy consumption to track down all the wasted energy, recovering that lost energy lowers your operating cost, the generator uses less coal, in turn that lowers air pollution. And many businesses don’t appreciate the business risk, at the time of writing energy audits are still optional, but that will not always be the case, carbon accounting will certainly become compulsory.

In other countries labelling is already compulsory, and building owners now must compete marketing energy consumption. Green building labels such as LEED and BEAM are one type of market indicator.


To understand and track down the energy losses takes experience, experience modelling energy, experience on the application of power consuming process and engineering operation.  energyLAB can find the energy losses and return those savings to your pocket.

by John Herbert
energyLAB Limited

Energy Saving Air Conditioning

energy saving air conditioning

Energy Saving Air Conditioning

The Hong Kong Government issued advice to building owners and operators encouraging setting the air conditioning thermostats to 25.5 Deg C. Of course the audience for generic advice was the general public, the broad message air temperature of 25.5 deg C (dry bulb temperature) is comfortable.  However, Hong Kong is located in sub-tropic climate region with ambient RH (relative humidity) up to 98% in the summer months. Hence, areas drawing in the least sunshine, like the basements, would be in need of dehumidifiers, which can easily be procured  from The implementation of dehumidifiers would ensure that there would be no moss growth and that the area would never smell damp. You can also speak to utility saving expert to help save some money and energy. The most popular piece of air moving equipment is the ubiquitous fan coil unit, controlled with a simple dry bulb  thermostat and has no humidity control, therefore the only way for the user to try and lower the relative humidity is lowering the air temperature.

Air Conditioning Energy Design

Any engineer worth his salt will tell you that just quoting the air (dry bulb) temperature is worthless information, it only tells half the story. For example would you like to work in air temperature 25.5 deg C & 90% RH? or perhaps 25.5 deg C & 10% RH? No, both are incredibly uncomfortable for humans, we prefer a range of humidity between 50-60% RH.

Comparative Conditions

Engineering the built environment means understanding the complex human physiology, and key to designing human comfort. So how can we use human physiology to lower operating costs? Thanks to the understanding Bluon technicians have of this complex balance, we know that we are more sensitive to changing environment, therefore if you walk into a building from hot and humid conditions, let’s say 35 deg C and 90% RH, into a space at 30 deg C & 50% RH, only 5 degrees cooler, we immediately feel significantly cooler than the 5 degrees would indicate (of course we can’t use this technique for continuous occupancy spaces).

Air Conditioning Equipment

The operation of the air conditioning equipment is another key factor for building energy efficiency.  Our weather changes throughout the day, and year. However, often we find that the air conditioning system is never adjusted. The system commissioned on day one, and never adjusted or tuned until there is a problem. Automatic controls are set to provide chilled water at 7 deg C, irrespective of the external ambient conditions, and chilled return water temperature.  Many building systems also suffer from low delta T (temperature difference between the supply and return chilled water temperature) and don’t realise they have problems. AC repair Mooresville will keep you and your family cool during the warmer temperatures ahead.

Over the years consulting engineers have been chained to their desks, pushed far from the oversight of building operation. Once upon a time, air conditioning and other plant rooms were clean and tidy, maintained in a near spotless condition by the operator was trained or perhaps brainwashed is a better term, to keep the plant room clean. The reason is simple dust and dirt let to accumulate will infer with mechanical equipment, including moving parts, gears, bearings, or block air flow over cooling fins necessary for efficient equipment cooling.

by John Herbert
energy consultant
EnergyLAB limited