Sustainability at Oak Ridge National Laboratory > Questions, Comments, Ideas > Information Exchange > Categories
As far as I can tell, the break rooms in 4100 sometimes have their lights on all day even though they're usually empty. I could not even find a light switch for the one on the first floor of 4100. My office has a motion sensing light switch, with the ability to override it and turn the light off and on. The break room is a prime candidate for such a switch.
Travis Breeden of the Facilities Development Division responds:
The break rooms have occupancy sensors in the ceiling and do not require switches. When someone comes in, the lights come on. I believe there is about a 20 minute delay before they go off.
With that being said, they may have infrared/ultrasonic sensors. If that's the case, they detect both motion and sound, and either the break room is that frequently occupied or the vending machines generate enough noise to maintain the lights in the occupied mode. There is the possiblility of a faulty sensor as well.
At any rate, I'll take a look at it and determine if we have an issue.
Scott Brackett of the Facilities Management Division adds:
We'll check on the sensor functioning early in the morining to see if they are indeed turning the lights off.
White roof has been suggested by Secretary Chu as a way to save money on A/C cooling. Is the lab considering or experimenting with this idea?
ORNL's William Miller responds:
The Building Envelope Program within the Energy and Transportation Division of ORNL has conducted several studies on white roofs and
cool roof systems.
White roofs are typically installed on low-slope
commercial and industrial building where the roof is not visible from ground
view. Cool roofs (can include a white roof) are classified as roofs that are
dark in color but highly reflect in the near infrared as does a white roof
exploiting titanium dioxide pigments.
The Building Envelope Program has a web site under the
Building Technology Research and Integration Center (BTRIC) that has a
calculator tool for estimating the energy savings of a white low-slope roof as
compared to the standard built up bituminous (tar) roof. ORNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are about
to unveil a new roof calculator tool for commercial and residential buildings in
response to cool roof initiatives sponsored by DOE and by
The tool was formulated and validate against two major
initiatives, one by the late Dr. Tom Petrie on roof coatings conducted for the
Roof Coatings Manufacturer Association and the other conducted by Dr. William
Miller for the Single-Ply Roofing Institute. Selected literature includes:
Petrie, T. W.,
Wilkes, K. E., Desjarlais, A. O., “Effect of Solar Radiation Control on
Electricity Demand Costs - An Addition to the DOE Cool Roof Calculator,”
Proceedings, Performance of Exterior Envelopes of Whole Buildings IX
International Conference, December 2004.
Desjarlais, A. O., Petrie,
T. W., Miller, W.A., Stovall, T. K., “A Web-based Tool to Estimate the Energy
Savings Associated With Solar Radiation Control Applied to Commercial Roofing
Systems,” in 12th International Roofing and Waterproofing Conference,
proceedings of the National Roofing Contractors Association and Bitumen
Waterproofing Association, Orlando, FL, September 2002.
Miller, W. A., Cheng, M. D.,
Pfiffner, S., Byars, N., “The Field Performance of High-Reflectance Single-Ply
Membranes Exposed to Three Years of Weathering in Various U. S.
Climates,” Final Report to SPRI, Inc., August 2002.
Miller, W. A., Livezey, R.J.
and Brown E. 2004. “Building Integrated Photovoltaics for Low-Slope Commercial
Roofs,” ASME Solar Energy Journal,
Miller, W.A. and Roodvoets,
D. L. and Desjarlais A. 2004. “Long Term Reflective Performance of Roof
of the Roof Consultants Institute, Reno, NV,
I am in Bldg 6012 and our offices seem to be drafty, especially under our A/C units. It is more noticeable during cold days. Perhaps energy auditors can use infrared scanning to detect air leakage or gaps in insulation for buildings at the Lab.
In F&O we do have trained personnel who use infrared scanning on some of our
systems as part of the routine inspection process: electrical equipment and
insulation on steam lines are a couple of examples. Also, as part of our annual
energy auditing process, we are beginning to implement more of these ideas. (We
are in year two of our first four-year cycle of inspections now.) Unfortunately,
we still have a long way to go to making these technologies a part of our
day-to-day maintenance process, but we are getting there. Your suggestion for
using this as part of our building envelope inspections is a good one, and I am
discussing this with my fellow facility managers on how best to make this happen
in an ongoing, meaningful way.
The City of Chicago's "Green Office Challenge" is a competition between companies and property owners to see who can implement the most green practices. See their website
. (I see that the place where my son works is a participant.)
The program isn't entirely applicable to ORNL, but I think something similar could be done as a competition between divisions.
My office is in building 1507. It has a room size heating and cooling system that is in the wall and under the window. This system is replicated 10's if not 100's of times in the newer 2 story buildings at ORNL. However, these systems are a combined traditional AC compressor for cooling and electric resistance coils for heating. The latter is one of least efficient forms of space heating. The efficiency of office-scale heating could be improved by replacing these units with a heat-pump equivalent unit. The performance of these systems could also be improved by installed a "remote thermostat" (somewhere else besides in the case of the unit!) so that they operate to control the temperature of the space and not their own "case temperature".
Conversion to heat-pump systems is not a new idea. Yet ORNL efficiency programs seem to more focused on elaborate controls (personnel motion sensors, etc) for these systems and has not yet addressed installation of a more efficient unit. A massive swap is not needed, but heat pumps could be implemented when these systems are swapped after failure.
One of the recommendations that TVA made after an energy audit of City of Oak Ridge buildings was to turn off advertising lighting on soft drink vending machines. According to TVA, the fluorescent lights that illuminate the name of a beverage company on the front of these machines (at ORNL they say "Cold Drinks") serve no purpose other than lighting up the advertising sign, and the lights in one machine consume about 800 kWh per year (costing $80 annually at 10 cents per kWh).
Shutting off those lights on vending machines at ORNL would be a quick and easy way to cut out some energy waste.
-- Ellen Smith, Environmental Sciences Division