Road to the CHPS Core Criteria Update - Interview with Charles Eley

In December 2012, the CHPS National Technical Committee began the process of updating the CHPS National Core Criteria (Core Criteria). The CHPS Core Criteria were developed to provide a high performance "common denominator" for healthy, high performance schools across the country while preserving local flexibility for future adaptations of the CHPS Criteria. Over the last two years, three states used the Core Criteria as the basis for a new state adaptation or update (these states were Virginia, Hawaii and Massachusetts). The next edition of the CHPS Core Criteria will be released for public review in June 2013.

Over the next two months, we will be speaking with several key players in the update to the CHPS Core Criteria. Recently, we sat down with Charles Eley, the chair of the Energy Sub-Committee of the CHPS National Technical Committee, to discuss to discuss his subcommittee's work on the update of the CHPS Core Criteria.

Mr. Eley will be familiar to many in the CHPS Community as the founding Executive Director of CHPS from 2002 to 2009. He is an architect and mechanical engineer with 35 years of experience in energy efficient and sustainable design. Mr. Eley has made significant contributions to the California energy standards, ASHRAE Standard 90.1, and energy codes in Hong Kong, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and Australia.

CHPS: Why should the high performance schools community care about the CHPS Core Criteria? Charles Eley: I really see the goal of the CHPS Core Criteria as a way to ensure consistency between high performance schools everywhere – as way to make sure that a high performance school in Oregon performs as well as one in Missouri. In some ways, we are setting a minimum level of performance, by saying 'this is what a high performance school must have.'

CHPS: You chair the Energy Subcommittee of the CHPS Technical Committee. What goals did you have for the update of the Core Criteria? CE: The goal of the Energy Sub-Committee was to consolidate many of the energy credits into a single unified idea – how much can you reduce the amount of energy that the school requires? The nice thing about energy is that you can measure the performance of building on a single scale. For this update, we are creating a national energy benchmark that all CHPS schools must meet going forward. In some states, their own energy code might be better than this benchmark. For other states, they have no minimum energy code, so they would use the minimum set by CHPS.

CHPS: You are using a single scale to measure energy efficiency, right? CE: For the Core CHPS Criteria, the scale starts with the ASHRAE 90.1 2010 standard – this what a building must perform at – and goes down to zero net energy - a building that produces as much energy as it uses. This level of performance is roughly equal to code minimum in California, which is a pretty tough standard. Most states don’t have an energy code that’s equal to it, but the idea was to say that all schools that are going to be high performance need to at least make it to that point in terms of energy efficiency.

CHPS: How did you translate this into a rating system? CE: Depending on how the school performs on the scale, the school can achieve credits. For a zero net energy school, the project would receive the maximum number of points, plus additional points for getting all the way there. In addition, if a school were designed to be zero net energy ready, they could receive points for that.

CHPS: What other updates can the CHPS Community expect in the Energy category? CE: The credits offered in the category have been expanded and advanced as new strategies for energy efficiency have become more readily adopted. There are points for advanced control systems, sub-metering, and data collection, storage and trending. In addition, we added specifications to a CHPS credit for web-based user interfaces that display energy usage that can be used in curriculum. We also have modified the prerequisite on ozone depleting materials. Previously, whole classes of materials had been banned. Now we are using a performance approach to reduce ozone depletion and global warming. We also clarified the requirements for the qualifications of commissioning agents.

Speaking with the chair of the Energy Sub-Committee of the CHPS Technical Committee~order=2013-05-14
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