Green does not necessarily mean energy-efficient. "A lot of people think it does," said consulting engineer Lawrence G. Spielvogel at the ASHRAE winter conference last month. The veteran mechanical engineer then charged that the long-used energy standard for commercial building systems, ASHRAE 90.1, "provides and requires a variety of means to waste energy efficiently, which is why so many 'green' buildings have high energy use."
Among many things, Spielvogel—a known gadfly—blames code-required control systems for waste. "Good mechanical engineers do not know controls, good control technicians do not know mechanical systems, good programmers do not know a thing about either, and no one has the time to correct the problem," he said at the Chicago meeting, held Jan. 21-26. "Better automation leads to more sophisticated processes, which lead to more opportunities for error," he added.