As the owner-operator of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, the Detroit Wayne Joint Building Authority focuses on operating efficiencies that identify “no-cost and low-costs” solutions to energy efficiency and cost containment.
In 2011 the Authority participated in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Building Energy Quotient (BeQ) pilot program to help establish national building energy use labeling standards that can be adopted and employed in commercial buildings.
The purpose of the BeQ program is to provide energy use information in sufficient detail to allow building owners and operators to make informed decisions related to building operations and management. The BeQ label and grade will compare how much energy a building was designed to use and how much energy a building actually to net zero performance. The national BeQ pilot program was designed to test and get feedback on the labeling program before final rollout for public use.
The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center was one of three buildings in Michigan to participate in the ASHRAE BeQ pilot program; the others are The Jackson State Office Building in Jackson and the Jerome T. Hart Building in Saginaw, both operated by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. A total of twenty-one buildings in the United Stated participated in the Building Energy Quotient (BeQ) program developed by ASHRAE. ASHRAE has written building energy standards since the 1970s as well as green building standards and is the leading international technical society in the building environment industry. ASHRAE energy standards serve as the basis for national state and jurisdictional energy codes for commercial buildings.
The BeQ pilot program serves as a building labeling system comparing how much energy a building was designed to use compared to how much energy a building actually uses in its operation. The focus is solely on energy use specific to building design and operation to net zero performance.
With five consecutive EPA Energy Star ratings, the DWJBA was selected to participate in the ASHRAE program because of its extensive usage data, achievements and interest in building energy efficiency. The Authority has received EPA Energy Star designations based on managing energy performance strategically across the entire facility and by making cost-effective improvements to the municipal center. “As a result of our Commission’s focus on energy and efficiency, the Authority has reduced annual energy cost in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center from $3.3 to $1.2 million over the last five years and we continue to identify cost savings, “states Patricia Cole, DWJBA commission chairperson.
“Identifying sustainable continuous improvement energy operations fo our facility is the long-term benefit of being a part of the ASHRAE BeQ pilot program, said “Gregory McDufee, DWJBA executive director. “Our Authority is acutely focused on managing and measuring energy optimization and sharing our results with others. The goal is to illustrate what is possible to determine building energy use labeling standards and how they can benefit local communities and the country.”
Once ASHRAE announced the BeQ pilot and the criteria to participate, Sonya Pouncy, Government Affairs Committee Chair for the Detroit Chapter and member of Detroit’s Green Task Force Buildings Sub-committee, saw it as an chance to include the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in the program. “The BeQ pilot program offered an opportunity to showcase some of the good work in facilities management being done locally and to get the word out that Detroit as a city that cares about efficient energy use in commercial buildings,” Pouncy states. “Participating in the pilot also allows the metro-Detroit region to join the national conversation to establish criteria for new building energy use labeling.”
“As the United States looks to reduce its energy use, information is the critical first step in making the necessary choices and changes. With labeling mandatory in Europe and disclosure of a building’s energy performance becoming required by several states, now is the time to introduce a label that can serve as a model for future mandatory programs,” states Lynn G. Bellenger, President, P.E., FASHRAE.
The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center was designed in the International Style by Harley, Ellington and Day Architects and dedicated September 23, 1955. The 745,783 square feet municipal center is the seat of City of Detroit and County of Wayne governments. The facility is 20 stories high and nearly 318 feet above street level at its highest elevation. The Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (originally known as the City-County Building), was planned, financed, built and now operated under the Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority, incorporated in 1948.