An easy-to-use new software product for calculating qualification for commercial building federal tax deductions, LEED® building Energy Performance, and energy code compliance was released today (January 29) at the AHR EXPO. This new software was developed by the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center.
EnergyGauge Summit Premier offers automatic ASHRAE 2001 and ASHRAE 2004 reference building creation including the Building Performance Rating Method in Appendix G of the 2004 Standard. Unlike other software that requires the user to create multiple building decks and make many changes to create a reference building according to code or IRS rules, EnergyGauge Summit allows users to simply enter basic information on the building they are evaluating. The software then automatically creates a reference building, performs the necessary simulations and analysis and provides a report indicating qualification for the U.S. Energy Policy Act tax deductions for whole building energy savings. The program will also determine if the building meets the IRS standard for partial envelope, equipment or lighting savings for those projects not seeking to meet the whole building performance level.
EnergyGauge Summit Premier is an advancement of a product that is used in Florida for commercial building code compliance by more than 1,500 users. The new software includes nationwide climates and offers new automatic tax deduction features. The Windows-based program uses a DOE2 engine (originally developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with U.S. Department of Energy support) to perform an annual 8760-hour simulation (taking just a few seconds on typical new computers).
A free trial version of the new EnergyGauge Summit Premier software can be downloaded at www.EnergyGauge.com. It retails at $949 per license.
EnergyGauge energy analysis software is produced and distributed by The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida. EnergyGauge is a registered trademark of FSEC. FSEC has been conducting research on energy efficiency in buildings since 1980. The center’s mission is to research and develop energy technologies that enhance Florida’s and the nation’s economy and environment and to educate the public, students and practitioners on the results of the research. More information on FSEC is available at http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/.
AHR Expo and ASHRAE
The AHR Expo is the International Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Exposition, held in conjunction with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineer’s (ASHRAE) winter meeting. ASHRAE creates standards used internationally for building energy and ventilation performance such as ASHRAE 90.1 for commercial building energy performance. More information is available at http://www.ahrexpo.com/ and at http://www.ashrae.org/.
LEED is a registered trademark of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and represents The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. One of the key elements for earning points in the popular LEED rating system is the building’s energy performance. For new buildings, the applicant can earn one LEED credit point for each 3.5% improvement in performance relative to ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004 using the Building Performance Rating Method in Appendix G of the Standard. More information on LEED is available at http://www.usgbc.org/.
Energy Tax Deduction
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) is the first effort of the United States government to address U.S. energy policy since the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Among many other things, the 1,724-page law provides new tax incentives for a number of solar and energy efficiency measures including tax deductions for commercial buildings. This provision offers business taxpayers a deduction of $1.80 per square foot for commercial buildings that achieve a 50% reduction in annual energy cost to the user, compared to a reference building defined by the industry standard ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2001. Energy costs refer only to heating, cooling, lighting and water heating, since only these uses are within the scope of the ASHRAE standard and within the control of the building designer.
Each of the three energy-using systems of the building — the envelope, the heating, cooling and water heating system, and lighting system — is eligible for one third of the incentive if it meets its share of the whole-building savings goal. Explicit interim compliance procedures are provided for lighting.
New construction in an existing building is also eligible for the tax deduction, with one-third of the deduction amount for new construction that affects the new energy-using system (such as lighting or heating, cooling and water heating).
Compliance is determined by third-party inspectors who review the plans and the actual in-place construction. Energy savings are determined by software that must be certified by the Department of Energy as meeting criteria of consistency and accuracy. EnergyGauge Summit has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy for listing as compliant software. More information on the IRS procedure can be found at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-06-52.pdf.
The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported energy research center in the country. Current research activities include solar water and pool heating, solar electric and distributed generation systems, energy-efficient buildings, alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel, fuel cells and other energy areas. For more information about the center, visit www.fsec.ucf.edu or call the FSEC Public Affairs Office at (321) 638-1015.