Services

3D Energy provides its clients with a variety of services to ensure that building owners, designers, and contractors can access whatever energy management and efficiency knowledge that they deem necessary. Working in the commercial, industrial, and residential markets, 3D is equipped with highly trained professionals to ensure that you get the answers you need, regardless of the stage of your project, or the state of your facility.

Energy Modeling

Energy modeling is the key component of the 3D Energy toolbox, and we use it at every stage of the building’s life cycle be it conceptual design, energy code compliance review, measurement & verification, or energy auditing.

The energy model allows us to virtually test and quickly compare different design approaches and optimize the energy performance of the building. This optimization can be set to minimize energy use, life-cycle cost, operational cost, greenhouse gas emissions, or any combination of these factors as desired by the client.

Energy modeling is an iterative process, and we work with the design team by providing feedback throughout every design stage. Starting at the conceptual stage, we use energy modeling to ensure the performance intent and the design are compatible—if not, we provide feedback to the design team so that the building’s final envelope, mechanical, and electrical systems are all selected to meet the stated goals.

3D ensures that all energy models are calibrated to align with the current occupancy and energy usage of the building. This will provide an accurate picture of not only the building as a stand-alone structure, but as well as the building in its actual usage. Accurate energy modeling is crucial in the process of energy auditing, green building certification, and energy code compliance. It is therefore necessary that experienced modellers, equipped with the appropriate software, are utilized for this process.

 

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Virtual Design and Construction

Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is the term used to describe design development and construction in simulated environment. There are three fundamental elements to VDC, the first element is Building Information Modeling (BIM). This process involves the 3D modeling of the physical characteristics of the building.  The second element is Enhanced Building Analysis (EBA) which utilizes the data of the previous step to provide an extremely detailed analysis, focused on optimizing the return on investment. The third element is the human element, where we look for appropriate technologies and methodologies to drive innovation and building performance.

This process, coupled with expert analysis from the 3D staff enables optimized building permeance and therefore, reduced energy consumption and smaller utility bills for the entire lifecycle of a building.

Measurement & Verification

Measuring and verifying the energy performance of a building’s operations is crucial to achieving optimal energy cost savings and minimizing GHG emissions. Once our team has worked in your building, we know the systems. Through monitoring energy consumption and using our software-built model for your building, we can monitor and track the energy performance of the facility. This enables our team to quickly identify and react to issues as they occur.

A measurement and verification plan is established during design to ensure the appropriate components are being tracked for post-occupancy verification. This guarantees that the building will be proactively managed and that the energy performance will never dwindle unexpectedly and compromise your energy savings.

Often, measurement and verification are incorporated into our green building certification process and our energy auditing process to ensure optimal energy usage for the lifetime of the building.

 

Green Building Certification

Green building certification is highly sought after for two main reasons: a certification communicates a building owner’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship in a clear and understandable way to the public, and because it is a simple way for the building owner to specify they want a “green” building without having to define the construction and energy use metric themselves.

Although certification is not the only reason building owners decide to optimize their facilities energy performance, it is an important factor to get certified. Through state-of-the-art sustainability modelling and highly-trained staff, we ensure that our staff is working closely with the client to provide upfront options as to getting certified, which certifying body best fits that specific client, and how to attain the certification.

With LEED and BOMA professionals on staff, 3D can integrate both certifications design requirements and other sustainable design strategies into the construction process. Beginning with conceptual design, all the way through construction to operations and maintenance, 3D is able to provide the sustainable design guidance integrated into all major environmental certifying bodies to optimize energy and environmental performance.

3D Energy will work with clients to ensure certification with:

  • LEED
  • BOMA BEST
  • Green Globes
  • NGBS

AICEP and AISP Funding Programs

3D Energy is pleased to offer a full range of services under the Alberta Indigenous Community Energy Program (AICEP) and Alberta Indigenous Solar Program (AISP).

Alberta Indigenous Community Energy Program

The AICEP has been created to fund detailed energy audits of buildings in Indigenous communities. These energy audits allow decision-makers to better understand their buildings’ energy use, how it compares to similar buildings in similar climatic zones, identifies possible retrofits to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and provides construction cost and expected savings from these retrofits.

This program can provide funding for 100% of eligible expenses to a maximum of $90,000 per project, and there is no limit on the number of buildings that can be assessed within this funding limit.

The technical requirements of this program are essentially identical to those of the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC) Taking Action to Manage Energy (TAME+) program. 3D Energy is the market leader in energy audits under this program, and can meet all qualification and submission requirements to ensure funding is approved under the AICEP.

Alberta Indigenous Solar Program

The AISP has been created to assist Indigenous communities in installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on community-owned facilities. It can provide funding for up to 60% of eligible expenses to a maximum of $200,000 per project. Applicants can use other non-Government of Alberta funding sources to cover the remaining 40%.

3D Energy can review a site’s suitability for a solar PV installation, either as part of an energy audit under the AICEP or as a stand-alone project, and we have partnered with a specialist PV system designer and installer who can provide a construction quote and complete turn-key installation.

Contact Us

Email us or give us a call and we will be pleased to talk with you and learn how we can help you make the most of the funding available under the AICEP and AISP programs.

Energy Auditing

Most buildings consume too much energy. This energy costs money. 3D Energy offers solutions to assist building owners and building operators conserve energy, cutting operating expenses significantly. Through a thorough process, our staff works to provide solutions engineered specifically for your problems. This process is our commercial energy auditing procedure.

An energy audit is a process of educating building operators about their current energy use, how it compares relative to other buildings, and what they can do to resolve any inefficiencies in the buildings energy use while identifying the cost-benefit in doing so. The report that communicates much of this information identifies energy conservation measures that will offer long-term savings, reduce greenhouse gas reductions, and add resale value to their property .

The 3D Energy auditing process takes an involved approach by examining the building envelope, building systems, operations and maintenance procedures, building schedules, and appliances to ensure a complete understanding of the building and those who occupy it is achieved. This enables the auditor to provide the most accurate picture of energy conservation measures at a given facility. The level of depth of the audit report is guided by the level of audit report the customer deems appropriate for their site and client.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) defines three levels of audit reports. Each audit level builds on the previous level, and as the audit level increases, as does the complexity and thoroughness of the process. The increased effort involved in the highest level of audit can often provide higher energy savings, but depending on the building, is not always critical. The levels of audit are:

Energy-Use Analysis – There are instances when a building owner deems a full-level energy audit to be unnecessary. An energy-use analysis provides the building owner with information to begin tracking, and baselining the building energy-use. This analysis will illustrate heating and electricity usage over a given-period, educating the building-owner on the current energy usage in order to determine whether or not a higher-level audit is appropriate.

Targeted Assessment– These audits look at the very specific components of a building, usually to assess the feasibility of an energy conservation measure that the building owner already has in mind. Targeted assessments can focus on any element of the building including: feasibility of renewable energy/cogeneration, building envelope analysis, HVAC overview and analysis, and electrical equipment analysis.

Level 1: Walk-Through Analysis/Preliminary Audits– This is the basic starting point for building energy investigation. This stage begins with conducting an energy use analysis in order to review past utility bills and show how much energy the building uses, and how it compares to similar buildings in similar climates. After this is completed, a walk-through of the building is done, including brief interviews with site operating personnel. From this, we are able to identify proposed low/no cost energy conservation measures and a list of capital improvements that warrant a further level of analysis. Level 1 audits are most commonly selected when the goal is to identify that the potential for savings exists, or to help an owner with many buildings prioritize which should be assessed first.

Level 2: Energy Survey and Analysis- This stage includes the Level 1 walk-through and adds more detailed energy and financial analysis. The Level 2 audit includes an evaluation of building envelope, lighting, HVAC, domestic hot water, plug loads, and process energy uses. A list of practical energy conservation measures, including operating cost reduction and retrofit expense, is presented. This level may or may not include the use of energy modeling software, depending on the ECMs considered.

For most building owners, the Level 2 audit provides the best balance of audit expense and savings identified.

Level 3: Detailed Analysis of Capital Intensive Modifications- This stage of the audit is to provide investment-grade analysis. The ASHRAE level 3 audit includes everything from the level 2 audit and adds a whole-building computer simulation and the use of life-cycle cost analysis to assess financial feasibility. This level of audit is best suited to larger facilities that are considering major retrofits such as building envelope upgrades, significant mechanical changes, or advanced control systems.

Retrocommisioning

Regardless of whether your building was recently equipped with building automation controls, or if this occurred years ago, retrocommissioning is crucial in maintaining the operative integrity and proper calibration of your systems controls. Even if the building was suitably installed and commissioned when the building upon completion, it may not be programmed properly for today’s operations.  Adding to the complexity of maintaining optimized controls is the periodic installation of appliances, continually changing occupancy patterns, and the degradation of building componentry. These factors contribute significantly to the need to continually commission building controls to ensure effective building operation and minimizing energy losses. Therefore, in order to achieve peak efficiency within a building, comprehensive testing of a building system must be completed, which will identify building deficiencies to be corrected and then optimized.  

Retrocommissioning can be divided into four phases that contribute to the commissioning process: the planning phase, implementation phase, and coaching stage. The planning stage is the phase in which the building systems that must be analyzed are identified. Following this stage, the systems are analyzed in order to discover the ideal operation parameters and settings. Following this analysis, a prioritized list of deficiencies is created. This is followed by the implementation stage, in which the highest priority deficiencies are corrected and proper operation is verified.  The final phase, the education stage involves the consultant reporting on the improvements made, followed by facilities operators being shown how to sustain optimized operation.

Although retrocommissioning is less quantifiable and tangible than most energy conservation measures, it is also known to have one of the lowest payback periods, highest return-on-investment, and will ensure a facility does not waste their money on high-level equipment that is not operating effectively. Due to the site-specific nature of every retrocommission, payback periods cannot be guaranteed, but are typically estimated between 8 months and 3 years.

Energy Code Compliance

Establishing and maintaining building standards is crucial in achieving the greater economic and environmental goals for societ y. We do this through our building code, which  encourages a certain energy and environmental standard to be upheld. There are currently three compliance paths available when using the NECB code: prescriptive, trade-off, and performance.

Prescriptive path involves following the prescriptive requirements of each section of the code. This basically operates as a checklist to be followed. The trade-off path provides more flexibility in design, enabling the facility owner and design team to trade elements within the same section of the code. The performance path, which offers the most design flexibility, requires that the building simply demonstrate that the proposed design will not consume more energy than an equivalent building built to the prescriptive path. This path is often accessed as it enabled the energy modeller, designer, and builder the freedom to find the most economical way to meet the building code.

Whatever path you opt to choose, or if you would like some guidance into this process, 3D Energy can help you meet your code compliance needs.

Training

We believe that the goal of energy education is to train all industry players, from designers to builders to operators, about the tools of energy management to promote sustainability and cost savings in any given facility. Our training offerings are always changing, to reflect the latest trends and technologies in the building industry. Currently, we are offering training on the National Energy Code for Buildings 2011, now in effect in Alberta. We also incorporate a large educational component within our auditing services, making 3D the go-to consultant in energy-education.

As the energy industry constantly shifts, it is integral to ensure staff is always on top of the newest and most cutting edge technology. Because of this, 3D Energy is committed to providing our staff with every ongoing education opportunity available. With our staff and our clients, we ensure that education is never a barrier to success.

Measurement and Verification

Measuring and verifying the energy performance of a building’s operations is crucial to achieving optimal energy cost savings and minimizing GHG emissions. Once our team has worked in your building, we know the systems. Through monitoring energy consumption and using our software-built model for your building, we can monitor and track the energy performance of the facility. This enables our team to quickly identify and react to issues as they occur.

A measurement and verification plan is established during design to ensure the appropriate components are being tracked for post-occupancy verification. This guarantees that the building will be proactively managed and that the energy performance will never dwindle unexpectedly and compromise your energy savings.

Often, measurement and verification are incorporated into our green building certification process and our energy auditing process to ensure optimal energy usage for the lifetime of the building.