Relative Heating Costs for Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation Buildings

Report No: 82-R35

Published in 1982

About the report:

This report presents the results of a survey of the energy used to heat various buildings owned and operated by the Virginia Department of Highways and Transportation. Energy intensity and cost intensity indices (EII and CII) for buildings were calculated. These can be used to indicate possible deficiencies in the heating and cooling systems of the buildings. Selected buildings were inspected in depth to determine possible causes for relatively high energy use and costs as compared with buildings of similar size and construction. It was concluded that much of the difference in energy and cost efficiency of buildings with similar uses could be attributed to the age and design of the buildings or to the type of heating system, rather than to differences relating to thermostat settings or the use of lights. Inefficient building design was exhibited by inadequate insulation in roofs and ceilings; no insulation on heating, ventilating, and air conditioning distribution (HVAC) systems; ineffective controls on the HVAC systems; and the use of metal-casement windows poorly sealed against infiltration of cold air. The report recommends that immediate efforts be made to train maintenance personnel to adjust HVAC equipment for optimum efficiency and to establish a preventive maintenance schedule for each component of the HVAC system. It is also recommended that the energy efficiency of expendable items be considered in addition to first costs. Energy-efficient fluorescent lighting should be installed in place of incandescent lighting as soon as possible. Centralized purchase of energy-conserving materials such as insulation should be instituted to assure minimum costs. Other longer range actions requiring policy or planning changes that should be acted upon as soon as possible include reorganization of the budget structure to identify funds for energy related capital improvements. Further evaluations of the energy conservation potential should be conducted for existing buildings that were shown by the study to have high EII and CII values. The standard building design proposed for new structures should be evaluated from the standpoint of energy efficiency.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

 Alan C. Pritchard

Last updated: January 21, 2024

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