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    Brazil Proposes Energy Labels for Buildings

    By Keith R | March 24, 2009

    Topics: Energy Efficiency, Green Building | Comments Off on Brazil Proposes Energy Labels for Buildings

    1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

    Yesterday Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro) published for public comment in the official gazette (the Official Daily of the Union – Diário Oficial da União) a draft administrative rule (portaria) on the award of certification labels for energy efficiency in public, commercial and service buildings.  It is supplemented by an annex containing a technical regulation setting out the standards to be followed in the certification process.

    While there are many efforts across the globe to benchmark and improve the energy efficiency of buildings, such as the European Union’s (EU) 2002 Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, (as yet) labeling schemes are rare.  Hence Brazil is blazing a new trail here that other nations, particularly those in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), are likely to watch closely.

    Doing It Differently

    They also may monitor the Brazilian initiative because it is not simply an echo of the few existing or planned label schemes.  The UK has a colorful and controversial mandatory “Energy Performance Certificate” that rates both a building’s overall energy efficiency and carbon footprint based on data entered by an inspector into a complex software program.

    By contrast, the US Energy Star Program measures a building against a baseline of building energy consumption statistics compiled through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) Commercial Building Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) updated every four years, with the buildings rating in the top 25% qualifying to bear a plaque with just the Energy Star logo (no ratings or color bars).

    More recently the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) announced that it plans to release in June its own hybrid system that utilizes some of the Energy Star measuring and calculation methods but issues a label visually more akin to the UK model.

    Proposed Scope and Term

    While the current proposal is for a voluntary label, it likely is laying the groundwork for a future mandatory label based on the experience gained in implementing the voluntary version (Brazilian officials say a mandatory version is likely five years after the voluntary version is deployed).  Article 4 of Brazil’s Energy Efficiency Law gives the government authority to go that route should it choose to, saying “The Executive Power will develop mechanisms that promote energy efficiency in the buildings constructed in the country.”  Depending on lessons learned utilizing the voluntary label, a mandatory label might be redesigned, or its scope or technical specifications altered.

    Meanwhile, the new label likely will become part of Brazil’s budding green building initiatives and certification schemes, and may even be mandatory in Brazil’s emerging green procurement programs.

    The proposed label would be used for buildings that are neither residential nor industrial, including:

    A portaria introducing a label for single and multi-family residences is expected to be issued in 2010.

    The currently proposed label could be used for both new and existing buildings.

    Once awarded, the proposed Brazilian label would be good for valid for 10 years unless major changes are made to the building, in which case a new assessment would have to be made.

    Proposed Layout of the Label

    The label design proposed is a modified version of the general energy efficiency labels Brazil has been using for several years now, itself a rip-off of the EU energy efficiency labels. “A” is most efficient, “E” least.

    The label would have an overall rating (the colors bars on the top half), and three subsidiary ratings for envelope (shell), lighting and air conditioning. The shell rating portion must note the bio-climatic zone in which the building is located (since the same building will have different efficiency ratings in different climatic zones of Brazil).  The lighting rating portion must note the area (in square meters) involved.  The air conditioning rating portion must note the type of air conditioning system involved and the ratio of conditioned area to useful

    Determining the Ratings Used on the Label

    The three subsidiary ratings would be determined after an assessment by an auditor from an inspection laboratory accredited by Inmetro [for the moment, only Eletrobras’ Electricity Research Center (CEPEL) and the Federal University of Santa Catarina’s (UFSC) Energy Efficiency in Buildings Laboratory (LabEEE) are so accredited, but Inmetro expects many other applicants for accreditation].  There are two paths to certification and receiving the label:

    Many of the standards behind the label, as well as the test methods to be used, are based on existing work of ASHRAE under its Standard 90.1.

    The lighting rating under the Brazilian label would be determined by looking at the lighting power density (LPD) (measured as watts per square meter per 100 lux — W/m2/100lux) compared to the allowance for each so-called environment index level [the index itself is calculated using one of three formulas, such as ceiling area + work area divided by wall area between the lighting plane and the work plane] developed using the Brazilian Standards Association’s (ABNT) mandatory technical standard for interior lighting (NBR 5413).  To be rated well, minimum requirements must be met, including automatic lighting shutoff, space control and daylighting control.

    Under this rating system, a workplace full of 40-watt T12 fluorescent lamps with electromagnetic ballasts likely would be rated “E”, whereas the same workplace full of 28-watt T5 fluorescents with electronic ballasts likely would be rated “A.”

    The air conditioning rating (which actually also encompasses heating and ventilation systems) would require that the equipment involved either be certified by Inmetro labels (Inmetro Portaria 14/2006) or be certified as meeting one of the ASHRAE 90.1 requirements or else they will be rated as “E”.  To be rated as “D”, the system has to meet AHSRAE 90.1-1989 requirements, as “C” ASHRAE 90.1-1999, as “B” ASHRAE 90.1-2004, and as “A” ASHRAE 90.1-2004 plus undertake detailed load calculations, have zone thermostatic controls, automatic shutdown, thermal zone isolation, heat recovery and meet certain ventilation system, hydronic system and heat rejection equipment design requirements.

    The envelope rating would be derived following complex calculations taking into account such factors as window area, the existence of skylights, the existence and dimensions of sun protection, types of glass used, the building’s dimensions, and which of Brazil’s eight principal bio-climatic zones (as defined by ABNT NBR 15220-3) the building is located in.

    The overall rating would be calculated through the following formula:

    Overall rating = 0.3 lighting rating + 0.4 x {(AC rating x CA/UA) +

    [(1-CA/UA)x5]} + 0.3 {(envelope rating x CA/UA) + [(1-CA/UA) x 5]}

    …where AC = air conditioning, CA = conditioned area and UA = useful area

    When the resulting number is 1-1.4, the letter classification would be “E”, 1.5-2.4 “D”, 2.5-3.4 “C”, 3.5-4.4 “B” and 4.5-5 “A.”  A building cannot achieve an “A” overall rating without meeting some minimum requirements, namely:

    The overall score can be improved by as much as one whole point by adopting additional energy efficiency measures — such as equipment that reduces water usage, use of renewable energy sources, combined heat and power — if they are approved by Inmetro’s Building Committee.

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