We perform energy analysis and modeling for a wide variety of project types and clients. Energy modeling is a powerful tool when used in the integrated design process. Incorporating energy modeling allows for analysis throughout the design process; it can be used in applying for potential incentives, tax deductions, maximize Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) energy credits, enhanced commissioning credits, and it can support post-occupancy measurement and verification and ongoing commissioning. Modeling incorporates assumptions regarding operations and maintenance of the space and equipment in order to develop the most accurate prediction of the facilities performance.
Our whole building performance approach begins during the design phase, continues through construction and is complete when the building is operating efficiently.
Most jurisdictions currently require some type of energy code compliance as part of the permitting process. This can include IECC, ASHRAE, Title 24, North West Energy Code, Calgreen, EPACT and IGCC. All of these codes have detailed energy requirements and multiple compliance paths. When prescriptive compliance compromises the architectural intent, or is not cost effective Quest can assist in the selection of the most cost effective path with COMCHECK calculations or detailed performance based compliance.
Prescriptive Compliance (COMCHECK):
Under the prescriptive approach all components of the building must meet the prescribed requirement of the code with no exceptions. While COMCHECK files are usually easier, faster, and cheaper, they are also restrictive and only allow for limited design changes and VE options. Project with more than 30% glass, clear glass, or decreased insulation would likely need to utilize the performance approach.
Performance Compliance (Energy Modeling):
Under a performance based compliance approach, the total energy of the proposed building must be less than the energy use of the baseline building that meets all the prescriptive requirements. The benefit is to allow trade offs between building systems. This allows more design freedom. Projects can spend money where it makes sense on the project and spend less effort trying to meet the prescriptive requirements. An example of this would be removing insulation below a garage deck by increasing lighting efficiency with florescent or LEDs.
Commissioning ensures that the building systems are installed and operated according to the design intent. We believe that the commissioning process begins during the design phase of a project and continues through the lifecycle of the building. The intent of commissioning is to verify the building’s energy related systems are installed, calibrated and perform according to the Owner’s Project Requirements, Basis of Design and construction documents. In the past, many owners considered commissioning an integral part of their standard construction process. Building Commissioning is now required in many jurisdictions for all buildings to meet local energy codes such as IECC or Title 24.
The commissioning process is conducted by a third-party professional called the commissioning authority. The commissioning authority is intended to be the owner’s advocate in providing independent review of the work performed by the design professionals and contractors. The goal of the commissioning authority is to uncover potential problems as early as possible, thereby reducing project costs associated with redesign, construction modification, and ultimately building operation.
IECC 2012, 2015
CAL Green/Title 24
Quest has been involved in hundreds of projects seeking a sustainable certification including LEED, Green Globes, among others. These projects encompass a variety of building sectors including office buildings, schools and universities, laboratories, data centers, and manufacturing facilities for both new and existing facilities. In addition, Quest can provide much of the expertise for specialty credits such as energy analysis and building commissioning - providing a truly turnkey solution from the initial design through final building certification.
To date, over 200 of our projects have achieved LEED certification. These projects have been completed throughout the US, North America and the world.
Climate Change Services:
Thousands of cities, companies, school districts, and colleges are taking action today to improve their sustainability, resiliency, and to reduce GHG emissions. Early efforts are productive, but many find that it gets harder to make real progress over time. We have the technical knowledge and experience needed to help clients achieve significant sustainability results cost-effectively. We can help you identify the carbon reduction projects you need and find ways to get them implemented to meet your goals.
Our services encompass:
Greenhouse gas emissions accounting and management programs
Technical sustainability audits
Climate change action plans
Climate neutrality and GHG reduction roadmaps
Net zero energy and carbon building studies
Organizational initiatives to enable results
Communications plans to engage and educate key stakeholders
UTILITY AND TAX INCENTIVES
One of our primary goals when working on each of our projects is to ensure that our clients are making sustainable design decisions but also that the project costs are feasible and can deliver desirable economic solutions. Quest researches incentives that are specific to each projects location and building use.
Many utility companies offer cash incentives for custom and prescriptive energy improvements. State and local jurisdictions may also offer cash and tax incentives, zoning allowances or expedited permitting. Federal tax credits (including Section 179D) may also apply to renewable applications. After we have matched a project to their applicable incentives, Quest then coordinates the utility programs documentation and submits on behalf of our clients.
Ideally, incentives should be pursued early in the design process so that the funding can be leveraged towards the purchase of energy efficiency and system upgrades. In addition, some utility programs require applications to be submitted to project completion to be eligible.