“Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts: The Case for a Systems Approach to Energy Efficiency”, released by the Alliance to Save Energy, is the “Systems Efficiency Initiative (SEI) Year 1 Report”. The report characterises the potential benefits of a building systems approach and prioritises areas for further technical and policy research.
The document explores the significant untapped energy savings available through a systems-efficiency approach to building design, construction and operation. It considers interactions within various building systems, with a focus on mechanical (Heating, Ventilating, Air-Conditioning, and Refrigerating -HVAC&R systems encompassing the equipment, distribution ducts and pipes, and terminals that provide heating, potable hot water, fresh air ventilation, or cooling and humidity control to a building) and lighting systems (luminaires, fixtures, sensors, controls, software, interior design-surfaces, furniture/partition layouts, colours and textures- and windows or skylights). Moreover, it explores interactions among multiple systems within a building, and discusses challenges and opportunities for implementing a systems-level approach to building efficiency.
The Report identifies five strategies for promoting a systems approach:
- Break down silos. A systems-oriented approach will require creativity and a new level of collaboration across a range of stakeholders—including architects, engineers, designers, developers, and building operators—as well as between the building industry and policymakers.
- Integrate systems. Integration both within and among systems operating in a building is vital to maximising efficiency gains and opportunities.
- Optimise operations through technology. Controls and smart technologies are important for improving the efficiency of many types of systems.
- Incorporate systems strategies through all phases of the building life cycle. Strategies to incorporate a systems approach should be applied during building design and construction, as well as during the operations and maintenance phases.
- Think outside the building. Further opportunities for systems approaches exist beyond a building itself, across multiple buildings, and between a building and the electric grid.
The full report is freely accessible at the Alliance to Save Energy webpage.