Base Building Systems

What are Building Base Systems?

Base building systems comprise of building’s central energy-using components such as the primary mechanical and electrical systems (heating, air conditioning, ventilation, electricity, water supply, domestic hot water, gas), lighting systems, building envelope (roofing and facade) and perpetual-occupancy areas like lobbies, elevators, stairs as well as fire escapes. Although the building envelope does not consume energy, its components (walls, windows, roofing, doors, shading devices) impact energy consumption.

Upgrading Base Building Systems

While completely replacing old base building systems with new ones can be fiscally tedious, property owners have a very viable alternative in fine-tuning those antiquated sub-systems. Retro-commissioning involves upgrading old or faulty building equipment that has drifted away from its original performance without a complete tear-down.

Lighting accounts for roughly 40% of energy used in a typical commercial facility, which represents a huge opportunity for targeted energy reduction through relatively low-cost measures. Lighting control upgrades are considered ‘low-hanging fruit’ among all base building systems improvements in that they offer huge savings from low-cost ECMs. Dimming, daylight harvesting, occupancy/vacancy sensors,  relay controlled time of day switching are effective ways of reducing lighting load.

Monitoring Base Building Systems

The installation of energy management systems has increased the scope for energy efficiency by improving monitoring and control of energy use in variable occupancy areas. Building automation systems (BAS) are centralized energy management networks that have the ability to interlink disparate base building systems (e.g. lighting and HVAC) so that the potential for energy savings increases significantly. Retro-commissioning may highlight minor system modifications and improvements that could yield major incremental savings. For instance, it may involve installing high efficiency motors on pumps and fans, or may propose that certain motors are oversized for the job and be replaced with smaller motors to reach the peak efficiency level.  Typically, these control systems are installed during renovations in existing buildings or during the design phase in new construction. Automation of base building systems can provide you with an incredible amount of data on building performance, which makes for an important feature of intelligent buildings.

Our Process

The Energy Solutions team at Associated Renewable conducts a thorough whole-building analysis of all base building systems including HVAC systems, lighting, electricity, gas, building envelope to evaluate how the space uses energy and suggest ECMs to increase energy savings ranging from 5% to 40% varying by the level of audit.  A Level 3 audit will result in a detailed analysis of sub-systems through computer simulations, more detailed field analysis, cost savings calculations based on the interaction of all base building systems. The Energy Solutions team can be reached at (212) 203-4443 or by email at regarding energy evaluations of base building systems and energy cost reduction.