With energy-consuming equipment, such as water heaters and refrigerators, we have good data on energy consumption and can set clear standards accordingly. In some product categories—clothes washers, for example—Energy Star standards were adopted because those standards provide a high enough threshold to represent just the very top segment of the product market (less than 10%). In other product categories—e.g., refrigerators and dishwashers—we set a higher threshold than ENERGY STAR: for example, exceeding those standards by 10% or 20%. With lighting and lighting control equipment, certain generic products qualify, such as compact fluorescent lamps and occupancy/daylighting controls, while in other categories only a subset of products qualify. In some cases, products that meet the energy efficiency requirements are excluded, because of evidence of poor performance or durability. Microturbines are included here because of the potential for cogeneration (combined heat and power) that they offer.
Once we’ve considered low-emitting products and those that prevent moisture problems, we also consider green ventilation products, filters, radon mitigation equipment, and other equipment and devices that help to remove pollutants or introduce fresh air. Because ventilation equipment is standard, we only recognize products that are particularly efficient or quiet or which have other benefits, such as heat recovery.
Some products are “green” because they help us monitor the indoor environment. These include carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, lead-paint test kits, and other IAQ test kits or devices. Because some products, such as CO detectors, are so common, we look for evidence of superb performance or other features in order to consider them exceptional enough for listing in GreenSpec.
CO2Meters offers a wide range of carbon dioxide sensors and data loggers that can be used to improve indoor air quality and save energy. These units use “non-dispersive infrared” (NDIR) technology and are available in portable units as well as wall mounted. The company’s eSense and aSense units—used in demand-response ventilation—come with fresh air indicators that are triggered when preset CO2 levels are reached. The company also offers monitors and sensors for for temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, methane, and VOCs.
Good HVAC instrumentation and control systems improve occupant comfort, save energy, and help prolong the lifespan of the equipment. Products listed by GreenSpec include occupancy sensors, programmable thermostats, digital controllers, wireless systems, and other equipment that help monitor and control HVAC systems and their energy consumption.
Electronic detection equipment can alert building occupants to water leaks, radon, and other contaminants and can also be an integral part of an energy-saving demand control ventilation (DCV) system.
Detecting water leaks saves resources and protects buildings and furnishings from damage. It can also detect moisture before it creates conditions for mold growth, a significant health concern.
Equipment that detects radon, volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide (CO2), and carbon monoxide helps protect occupants from direct threats to their health. Detecting CO2 in commercial buildings is important since high levels of CO2 have been associated with sick building syndrome, poor student performance, higher employee absence and other impacts. Equipment that measures CO2 levels can also be used to adjust ventilation rates, which not only improves IAQ but also minimizes over-ventilation and energy waste.
Products listed here detect water leaks either at appliances or with whole-building systems; detect VOCs, radon, or other contaminants; or detect CO2. Commercial CO2 detection systems should be tested, adjusted, and balanced regularly to ensure proper performance.
EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance
EAc1.3: Optimize Energy Performance—HVAC
EAp2: Minimum Energy Performance
EQc1: Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring
EQp1: Minimum IAQ Performance
IEQc1: Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring
IEQp1: Minimum IAQ Performance
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