Savings by Design with Southern California Edison
SCE’s ‘Savings By Design’ program is intended to encourage state of the art energy-efficient design and construction practices in new construction nonresidential buildings. The program goals are intent on promoting the efficient use of energy by offering free ‘up-front’ design assistance and recommendations early in the project, and incentivizing developers with a number of substantial financial benefits based on the resultant improved energy usage.
New Portola, at nearly 36,000 square feet, is the largest dining commons on the UCSB campus. As a result of the SCE Savings by Design partnership program recommendations, Portola is showing savings of approximately 75,000 Kilowatts annually, equating to approximately $11,200 savings per year at today’s electricity rates and a reduction of roughly 73,000 lbs of Carbon Dioxide emissions into the air from a typical natural gas powered electricity plant.
To achieve this, improved design aspects integrated into the building include:
- Large architectural overhangs to address natural site specific seasonal sunlight patterns, thus maximizing shading during summer and providing some natural heating during winter sun patterns.
- State of the art efficient lighting was utilized, with less fixtures needed due to the improved natural lighting.
- Air handling systems, including kitchen hoods, make use of variable speed drives (multi-speed adjustable motors) to provide a healthy and comfortable environment while using the least amount of energy required.
In addition to the long-term benefits of implementing many of the design recommendations from the Savings by Design program, SCE also provided one time direct financial incentive payments of $32,500 to HDAE to help offset the cost of energy efficient equipment purchases, and $8,100 to the project architects and engineers to offset their investment in collaborative review time.
SCE has been an important source of grant funds for UCSB on energy efficiency projects for decades, both in student housing projects and the state supported academic buildings. The SCE “Savings By Design” program, in particular, elevates this relationship to “Platinum” by adding an effective layer to the professional review and contemporary design consultants we utilize. The high level of efficiency gained in optimizing building design helps to empower UCSB to create world-class facilities that will be less costly to operate and maintain for many decades. This is in perfect alignment with UC system wide goals of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and smaller carbon footprints, as well as supporting the energy sector’s goals to delay or eliminate the need for additional new energy plants.
HDAE’s participation in this SCE program helped Portola Dining Commons (completed in 2017) achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) PLATINUM Certification, the highest honor attainable.
Being recognized by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in this manner provides a solid endorsement of the successes obtained via effective working relationships UCSB nurtures with such partners as Southern California Edison, and gives us all much encouragement that we really can meet the tough energy challenges of the future, and the goals of a more sustainable, ‘Earth friendly’ world.
By Barry Colwell