This week’s Energy Action Month employee spotlight is on Adam Klein, program manager for McKinstry! Starting in 2016, Adam took the initiative—along with Daniel Shaw, a Portland-based energy engineer—to obtain ENERGY STAR certifications for McKinstry-owned office buildings in Seattle and Portland.
Compared with their peers, an ENERGY STAR-certified office building uses (on average) 35 percent less energy, generates 35 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, costs $0.54 less per square foot to operate and has higher rental & occupancy rates. Adam joined McKinstry as an intern more than 12 years ago. Today, he is the program manager for McKinstry’s Technical Services Western Washington Annuity.
Q: Tell me about your role as an annuity program manager. What does a typical day look like?
A: As a program manager, my typical day involves going over client utility billing and Building Automation System interval data to review where successful low/no cost improvements have been made and to make new recommendations. Often there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work required to gather and update information to keep a steady stream of data coming.
Q: I understand you received some good news earlier this year about our 2018 ENERGY STAR scores for our office buildings in Seattle and Portland, right?
A: To be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification, a building must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, indicating that it performs better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. The most recent work was completed this spring, and I’m happy to say that McKinstry achieved an ENERGY STAR score of 92 for the 220 S. Dawson Street office building in Seattle and a score of 96 for the 5005 3rd Ave. S. office building in Seattle. Our Portland office building received an 88. The EPA-run certification is rated on a 100-point scale. I’m proud of our scores and grateful for the Workspace Solutions Team and other internal partners who help make it happen.
Q. I heard about recent changes in the ENERGY STAR rating system. What happened?
A: The EPA recently changed over to the newest Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey data, which affects how ENERGY STAR scores are calculated. It was expected that the average score nationwide would drop 12 points, and we did see a drop in our scores from a little (five points for our 5005 office building) to a lot (18 points for our Portland office building). Considering the recent EPA change, a cross-departmental team at McKinstry is working on making sure all three buildings remain certified for the coming year.
Q: What is your biggest energy-waster pet peeve?
A: In working with schools, it’s either exterior lights that are left on in the daytime or the countless full-size and mini refrigerators left on and empty over summer break. Unfortunately, I will sometimes get a surprise of a refrigerator that is the opposite: off and full. Another pet peeve is when I walk by commercial retailers that keep their doors open when they are also actively heating/cooling their space.
Q: What is your top energy-savings tip?
A: The largest consumer of energy in most buildings is the HVAC system and is the source of a lot of wasted energy. Based on this, my top tip is to do at least quarterly reviews of controls (or your thermostat at home) to make sure schedules and set-points are where they’re expected to be based on outdoor conditions. A relatively easy (and usually unnoticeable) way to save is to extend the heating set-point lower in the summer and extend the cooling set-point higher in the winter.