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Top trends in commercial building

Green’s the word this year as the commercial building industry begins to see a significant move toward greater transparency, higher energy efficiency standards, increased sustainability and a more responsible use of building resources.

And that’s just the beginning: According to Lux Research, an independent research firm specializing in emerging technology, the green building sector is expected to grow by $280 billion globally by 2020. Plus, with the new LEEDv4 standards set to take effect later this year, it’s time to help your customers start greening their business.

Here’s a look at what’s in store:

Increased visibility

The recent release of publicly disclosed building use in New York City is likely to set up a trend for other U.S. cities, making businesses more accountable for their utility use. Building product manufacturers are catching on, too, offering increased transparency with environmental product declarations.

Net zero

While a net-zero building status once seemed impossible to obtain, it’s now becoming more common as the industry moves past LEED® and ENERGY STAR® certifications that no longer offer a competitive advantage for businesses. Now, commercial building developers and architects are starting to showcase Zero Net Energy designs as a means of differentiation from competitors.

Alternative energy sources

More businesses are turning to alternative energy sources in efforts to lower utility costs, meet green building standards and generate their own electricity. One increasingly popular choice is solar power, which allows them to harvest the sun’s free, clean energy to power their building’s HVAC, lighting and more—all while substantially lowering electric costs and impact to the environment. Lennox’ SunSource® Commercial Energy System is the first and only commercial HVAC system that integrates directly with solar power, providing up to 34 SEER and beyond.*


An increasing number of new building designs and retrofits rely on daylighting to reduce energy costs by up to one-third, positioning windows, skylights or other openings and reflective surfaces to take advantage of the sun’s natural light. This method also relies on a daylight-responsive lighting control system that automatically adjusts brightness when daylighting is inadequate, helping to keep energy use and costs in control.

High-efficiency HVAC

HVAC can account for 40–60% of a building’s energy use, making it an obvious first item to tackle in greening efforts. High-efficiency HVAC units, such as Lennox’ Energence® and Landmark® rooftop units, are not only equipped to meet current building efficiency standards, but also are built with features like MSAV® (multi-stage air volume) supply fan technology that can boost overall comfort while dramatically reducing electricity costs.

Local sourcing of raw materials

Many companies are opting to purchase materials locally in efforts to support green commercial building trends while reducing impact to the environment. Local material sourcing reduces the amount of energy involved in transportation to the building site, resulting in lower carbon emissions. Lennox Commercial offers a variety of products to help your customers achieve their green building goals.

* Effective SEER estimates for the SunSource air conditioning system are based on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) annual performance factor (APF) method for heat pumps and air conditioners (10CFR part 430). Estimates of annual solar energy production are calculated for a centrally located city in each DOE heating region, using National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) PVWatts, Version 1. The annual solar energy production is solely an estimate for that region and is based upon a fixed-tilt south-facing array free of shading, with a module tilt angle equal to the local latitude of the installation. The annual solar energy production is included in the APF calculation as a reduction of the cooling season power consumption. In this example, the air conditioning unit is an Energence LGH060H4ES1P (5 Ton/17 SEER) located in Region IV (represented by Omaha, NE at 41° N. latitude) and with six solar modules rated 260 dc Watts each.

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