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Energy Efficiency In The Built Environment

On this Project:


Kevin Ketchman



Small Commercial Building Energy Quantification

The small commercial building sector, consisting of commercial buildings under 50,000 ft2 in floor area, represents 94% of all commercial buildings by number and is accountable for roughly 45% of the commercial sector's total primary energy consumption.  Though, small commercial buildings are largely underrepresented in research and underserved by the building efficiency community.  The focus of energy efficiency research and investments have targeted larger commercial buildings where homogeneity of building stock support a "one-size-fits-all" approach to energy sciences and large commercial buildings typically have access to capital to invest in energy efficient technologies.  However, with the realization of the small commercial building's role in national and global energy consumption, research is emerging on how to engage and improve a sector that lacks access to capital and suffers from extremely heterogeneous building stock, e.g. building use (restaurant, office), state of renovations, and occupants.

To address building stakeholders's immediate needs, the development of a Building Energy Assessment Resource (BEAR) employs bottom-up energy quantification, assembling disparate resources intended to provide building stakeholders with meaningful energy information to support informed decision making.  Further, energy contour plots have been conceptualized intended as a visual informational resource for consumers, with applications ranging from manufacturer labels to whole-building performance analysis.

These visual resources plot the complete energy potential of an appliance in contours as a function of active mode power (W) and hourly operation in active mode (hr).  Active power mode ranges from zero to the maximum potential power equal to volt-amp, and operation ranges from zero to 24 hours.

Illustrated is an example of a desktop computer tower where (A) represents the BEAR estimated energy use from user input data (note: the line made at the border of blue and white region represents all possible combinations of power and operation that equals the BEAR estimated daily energy use), (B) represents an increase in power (i.e. word processing versus live streaming video), and (C) represents an increase in hourly operation (i.e. an employee workstation computer versus a dedicated network computer).

Associated Publications

Marks, J., Ketchman, K.J., Bilec, M.M. (2014). "Understanding the benefits of the flipped classroom in the context of sustainable engineering." ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings.

Ketchman, K.J., Khanna, V., Riley, D., Bilec, M.M. (2016). "Evaluation of a Holistic Energy Assessment Program." Procedia Engineering, 145, 468-475. doi:

Ketchman, K.J., Khanna, V., Riley, D.R., Bilec, M.M. (2017 submitted), “A Survey of Homeowners’ Motivations for the Adoption of Energy Efficiency Measures: Evaluating a Holistic Energy Assessment Program.” ASCE Journal of Architectural Engineering

Ketchman, K.J., Parrish, K., Khanna, V., Bilec, M.M. (2017 submitted), “Synergizing Disparate Component-level Energy Resources into a Single Whole Building Tool to Support Energy Conservation Action in Small Commercial Buildings.” Energy and Buildings

Ketchman, K.J., Khanna, V., Parrish, K., Bilec, M.M. (in progress), “Evaluation of the Sources and Measure of Uncertainty in Appliance-level Electricity Energy Estimate Resources in a Food Service and Office Small Commercial Building.” 

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