The Human Side of RCx

  • Eileen Westervelt Smart Energy Design Assistance Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Keywords: Human Side of RCx

Abstract

Optimizing facility energy use requires more than technical solutions to bring about and maintain change. The human component of a building energy system not only affects on-going performance, but can confound retro-commissioning (RCx) efforts if people are not recognized as part of the energy system and included as part of the operational solution. My colleagues and I have observed several human challenges to RCx efforts that repeat: a building’s many stakeholders often have competing motivations for their actions, they are working with incomplete information, they communicate less than perfectly, and they do not have routine procedures in place to retain savings. We have utilized people processes to address these issues—establishing a broad spectrum team, discussing objectives and priorities, building relationships, facilitating communications, and assisting with the establishment of new behaviors. The underlying issues, coupled with constructive responses, will be discussed drawing on public sector RCx efforts. Field experiences will be sprinkled in with generalized observations concerning the human side of the physical-mechanical-human system.

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Author Biography

Eileen Westervelt, Smart Energy Design Assistance Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Eileen Westervelt is program director of Retro-Commissioning and a senior engineer at the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center (SEDAC) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For more than 20 years Eileen has enjoyed learning about energy and its efficient use. At SEDAC she strategizes with clients throughout Illinois to determine how their energy needs can be met with less environmental and cost impact. Previously, Eileen was employed at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory where she worked as a principal investigator on Army energy strategy, energy security plans, technology demonstrations, and building commissioning. Eileen is a registered professional engineer, a certified energy manager, a qualified commissioning process provider, and a LEED accredited professional. She is a member of the Association of Energy Engineers. She has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois. She can be reached at ewesterv@illinois.edu.

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Published
2015-02-01
Section
Articles