People’s is making educational and technical efforts to promote awareness about optimizing the building’s features and operational efficiency.
Co-op members publish a seasonal newsletter that communicates the latest happenings with the Co-op’s effort to set the standard of a sustainable grocery store. This provided an avenue to keep customers and members informed about the expansion before, during and after completion. Annual meetings are held to discuss store related issues that include building operation and practices among others.
People’s is now collecting monthly utility data to compare real building performance to modeling projections. This effort was postponed because of a billing mix-up related to the installation of a new energy meter; however, monthly bills are now collected to ensure that the building is performing according to design intent. The HVAC system designer installed energy performance monitoring equipment and will fine-tune the system as needed.
Keys to Success - Post Occupancy:
- Distribute a project newsletter to inform building users about the project’s progress and opportunities to participate in the process.
- Measure and verify HVAC system performance to ensure that it operates according to design intent
The project designer wrote a detailed, custom-made operations and maintenance manual that promotes the building’s longevity via environmentally friendly practices and products. Cleaning and maintenance is performed using low/no-toxic materials so as to avoid irritating odors and unhealthy working and shopping conditions. O&M issues addressed in the manual range from how to care for hardwood floors to maximum wattage on light bulbs. This is part of the designer’s effort to "keep tweaking (the building) over time" to maximize its performance.
Operation of the HVAC system is a combination of automated and manual controls. Stack and cross ventilation of the building are manually controlled by opening windows and louvers to initiate ventilation. A manual switch that turns on a fan within the stack to increase the rate of air exchange can also augment the stack ventilation. The zone level distribution system is automated and deadband set points are set at a wider than typical range. This system supplements the geothermal radiant heating/cooling and natural ventilation systems during times of extreme temperatures.
People’s open floor plan and large number of manually operated windows facilitate fresh air ventilation. A neighborhood setting provides access to clean air while stack and cross ventilation strategies facilitate flushing of the space.
Project manager Miles Uchida notes that there needs to be some institutionalization of learning regarding operation of the stack ventilation system. He specifically points out that it is important to educate everyone in the building about when the louvers should be open and the fan turned on. Furthermore, one or two people should be designated as operating these controls to ensure that the system performs according to the design intent.
Landscape maintenance is relatively simple due to the small total area that is landscaped and efficient irrigation design. A highly efficient drip system was installed to water the ecoroof and the landscape whose operation requires nothing more than turning on a faucet. Drip systems lose substantially less water to evaporation than traditional spraying sprinkler systems because the water enters the soil immediately upon release from the hose. Harvested rainwater is used to irrigate all vegetated areas.
Keys to Success - Operation:
- Develop an O&M manual that seeks to maximize building performance using environmentally responsible products and practices
- Design a flexible and weather responsive climate-control system that enables building occupants a sufficient degree of comfort control
- Educate building users about when and how to properly operate climate control systems to optimize energy performance
- Install a high-efficiency drip system that draws from harvested rainwater to irrigate the landscape
- Use only low/no-toxic cleaning materials to ensure healthy indoor environmental conditions