Become more powerless.
Power. It consumes resources both natural and monetary. Every degree, light, and outlet. Every BTU comes at a price. And when it comes to commercial spaces, that price is too often more – much more – than necessary.
Energy Studio specializes in helping architects, engineers, developers, and building owners maximize energy efficiency and minimize costs.
So when it comes to energy consumption, we make big* spaces act small. To be as powerless as possible.
*We consider anything over 10,000 square feet to be “big.”
Properly applied science.
Energy efficiency, when done right, means looking at the big picture.
We want to connect with owners, operators, engineers and architects who share our interest in understanding where energy is being used in buildings and how it can be saved.
Whatever service you need from us, trust that much more will be delivered every time.
Energy modeling, when done right, is more than just plugging some figures into a computer program. It includes knowing what questions to ask and to whom. Keeping up with the latest energy-saving methods. Knowing how energy tweaks can affect design, budgets, schedules and much more.Integrative Process
When an entire team of designers, owners, facility managers, and engineers are on the same page about sustainability and performance goals, the outcome is better design. We facilitate charrette-style discussions to set quantitative energy-savings goals, so projects meet building performance expectations even with today’s strict code requirements.
Every new building design starts with asking the question: what factors affect energy usage, and how do they impact aesthetic design? Our team of energy analysts helps design teams weigh many factors that impact energy usage, which helps designers balance aesthetics and design to maximize building performance.
Energy-saving decisions made during early design have the biggest impact on long-term building performance. When we create an energy model during schematic design, we can test conservation strategies and model assumptions that lead to overall improved operability and life cycle costs. Updating the energy model throughout design development and construction documents allows the project to stay on track and ultimately achieve performance goals.
Cost benefit analysis of design decisions has a long-term impact on maintenance and operations of buildings and is even more important as building codes are becoming more stringent. Our team of specialists create energy models that are adaptable to many design scenarios, so the building owner can make informed decisions for long-term efficient building performance.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification process related to Energy & Atmosphere credits can be complicated and subject to review comments and delays. The ENERGY STUDIO team has reviewed thousands of LEED projects and provides credible documentation that results in streamlined certification that moves projects forward without unnecessary delays.
Energy analysis and modeling can be complex because of many building code requirements across the country. Whether an industry standard like the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) or Title 24 in California, our team has developed sophisticated in-house processes that enhance communication flow, track documentation updates, and keep complex energy compliance projects on track, no matter the local code requirements.
Some utilities provide financial incentives for energy conservation measures. The skilled team at ENERGY STUDIO creates custom baseline and design reports that indicate energy-savings measures so building owners receive valuable financial incentives for energy-efficient design.
Over a billion watt-hours saved.*
Here is a sampling of the numerous projects we’ve been involved in.
Some are quite disparate, others a bit similar. But all ended up creating a smaller energy footprint.
*A very, very low estimate.
Rockford Construction HQGrand Rapids, MI
Rockford Construction in Grand Rapids, Michigan, purchased a former warehouse in a blighted area with designs of converting it into its headquarters. With its expansive spaces and an exterior envelope that was less than energy efficient, the design-build project was the perfect test for Energy Studio’s expertise.
The project’s primary challenge was to reduce the building’s energy use intensity to help achieve an aggressive goal of Platinum LEED certification. The owner was interested in evaluating several building envelope improvements, daylight harvesting, and mechanical system choices to determine the most energy efficient and cost effective solution available. Additionally, the owner wanted the three-story entrance lobby to be a visual beacon from downtown Grand Rapids.
During the schematic design energy modeling exercise, Energy Studio found that the large all-glass south facing atrium was contributing to a significant portion of the building energy use. Working with the architects, we were able to develop a design that reduce the amount of energy used to heat and cool this space while maintaining the ability to daylight the space and still allowing the south facade to define the facility from downtown Grand Rapids.
Energy efficiency was achieved through the use an under floor air distribution system that is served by a high-efficiency rooftop unit, reduced installed lighting power, daylight harvesting, and a significantly improved building envelope that included continuous wall insulation, high efficiency glazing, and an R-40 roof.
The current design model projects an annual energy cost savings of 41%. Additionally, the project will earn several local utility incentives and full credit under the IRS Section 179d tax deduction. Energy efficiency really does pay off.
Landmark Tower | The FarnamOmaha, Nebraska
The Landmark Ownership Group in Omaha, Nebraska, purchased the iconic Landmark Tower with designs of converting a portion of the building into a boutique hotel. The project’s primary challenge was to reduce the building’s energy use intensity and evaluate the opportunity to connect to the downtown central utility plant.
The project was executed in three phases:
Benchmarking: by reviewing historic utility bills, ENERGY STUDIO was able to develop an energy benchmark for this building. Actual weather data was used to ensure that weather effects were not mistaken for operation or usage anomalies.
Site Investigation: An occupant survey was issued to all building users to capture occupant satisfaction levels with indoor environmental quality, such as thermal comfort, lighting level, air quality, and noise. This ensured the ENERGY STUDIO on-site investigators evaluated areas of top concern at the building. Concurrently, a building operator survey was issued to identify occupancy characteristics, usage patterns, and building-specific problems. Finally, ENERGY STUDIO performed an on-site walk-though of the building, based on the ASHRAE building energy audit process. This walk-through documented existing site conditions including as-built envelope construction, mechanical systems, and lighting systems. Areas of concern related to equipment operation and condition were noted. Data was collected reflecting the current indoor environment, such as lighting levels, background noise levels, and air quality for representative spaces and HVAC systems.
Identification and Implementation of Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) and Capital Improvements: ENERGY STUDIO developed an energy model for the building to better understand and study the energy usage and potential capital improvements. Using the information compiled in the site investigation and energy model, we developed suggested ECM bundles and associated opinions of probable construction costs for consideration by key decision makers. The ECM bundles were prioritized according to projected Return on Investment (ROI) and presented to project stakeholders. Additionally, a comparison between an on-site energy plant for space cooling and space heating and purchased chilled water and purchased steam was provided. Life cycle cost analysis estimates based on several scenarios were provided to support decision making by the ownership.
NWC CSU Spur Campus: VidaDenver, Colorado
Located on Colorado State University’s Spur campus, the Vida building is a one-of-a-kind animal health facility that incorporates offices, clinical labs, classrooms, indoor and outdoor arenas, barns, space for equine assisted rehabilitation and a variety of residential living spaces. CSU Spur comprises three buildings which bring together different CSU colleges, offering the general public free opportunities to experience science and research firsthand. Vida was first among these, opening its doors to visitors in January 2022.
CSU Spur is part of Denver’s National Western Center, a 250 acre art and agriculture hub slated for completion in 2024. The NWC has ambitious sustainability objectives including zero net energy, and the future campus will source nearly 90% of its heating and cooling from an underground sewer pipeline. A central utility plant will transfer energy from sewage into a clean-water loop running beneath the buildings to heat and cool indoor spaces. Once finished, it will be the largest sewer-heat recovery system in North America.
The client selected ENERGY STUDIO to evaluate the Vida building’s potential to achieve LEED compliance, assess the building’s performance and assist the project team in determining a pathway to achieve net zero. This highly complex project required not only consideration of multiple baseline systems for diverse building area types, but coordination with several key team members across multiple fields and disciplines.
ENERGY STUDIO used a genetic algorithm modeling process to identify energy performance bundles and simultaneously evaluate multiple energy conservation measures (ECMs). Ultimately, the ECMs implemented were: improved envelope performance, high-performance glazing, reduced interior and exterior lighting power density, a variable exhaust system, heat recovery coils and heat recovery chiller system.
As the first building on campus to go through the LEED certification effort, CSU Spur’s Vida paved the way for additional campus projects. The final design resulted in an impressive 30% energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions, which alone earned the project 12 LEED points and an additional regional priority credit.
MSU Bond Learning CenterSpringfield, Missouri
An architecture/engineering firm created an energy model for this 30,000 square foot facility, but had trouble modeling its geothermal well field. Additionally, the model was built based on the original building floor plan, but an alternative design was later accepted that expanded the building size. The model either needed to be expanded as well, or a new model created. Decision makers wanted its staff to conduct the energy modeling , but were unable to dedicate the resources to train staff to do it efficiently.
The Energy Studio was hired to revise the model to include the expanded area and the geothermal well field. Using the original modeling files developed by the architecture/engineering firm, we added the new components, a banquet facility and support spaces. Additionally, revisions to the model file, such as consolidating the schedules and developing a baseline consistent with the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 Appendix G requirements, were performed. The Energy Studio will also provide the LEED-NC 2009 documentation for EA Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy Performance and EA Credit 1: Optimized Energy Performance for this project.
Our success on this project led to an assignment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center with the same client.
Fort Riley Replacement HospitalFort Riley, Kansas
The energy model file for this 550,000 square foot hospital, developed by the architecture/engineering firm that designed the building, was very large. The file’s run-time was lengthy, used more computer resources than it should have and was not allowing for the testing of design alternatives. The engineer who created the energy model was also having trouble modeling an optimized chiller plant that includes dedicated heat recovery chillers for space heating and service water heating.
The firm hired Energy Studio to address the challenges. We reduced the model size, cutting its run-time from 17 minutes to two minutes. We also developed a solution for the optimized chiller plant’s model, consulting with the engineers who are designing the plant and the dedicated heat recovery chiller manufacturer’s representative. Energy Studio’s services were later expanded to include LEED-NC v2.2 documentation for EA Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy Performance and EA Credit 1: Optimized Energy Performance.
The successful completion of this project led to additional energy modeling assignments with the same client. These projects include the new 1-million square foot VA Omaha Replacement Medical Center and the VA Biloxi Dietetics and Laundry Facilities.
“We have worked with Energy Studio on a number of projects and they continue to provide exceptional results regarding the energy model with how it contributes to the overall energy performance of the building. Energy Studio is a vital part of our design team and we will continue to use them on future projects requiring energy modeling.”
-John Andrews, Vice President, Leo A Daly
North Hollywood Phase III OfficeNorth Hollywood, California
The owner of this 181,500 square foot office building and 195,250 square foot parking garage wanted to pursue the Energy Efficient Commercial Building tax deduction. However, the engineering firm that developed the original energy model for LEED certification did not have experience with energy modeling for the tax deduction.
The Energy Studio was hired to develop an energy model meeting the requirements of the Section 179 deduction of the Internal Revenue Code. We were able to document that the building owner was eligible for a tax deduction of over $225,000 for installing energy-efficient lighting throughout the facility.
Our capacity is just right.
Amanda BognerFounder | President
Amanda, founder and president, went to KU for Architectural Engineering (Rock Chalk Jayhawk) and believes beautiful architecture is inherently sustainable. Her passion is to make beautiful buildings energy efficient too. When the weather cooperates, you can find her cycling or cross country skiing.
Annie KochProject Manager
Annie is Energy Studio’s resident world traveler. She isn’t your average tourist, though; Annie spent a year studying abroad in Germany (where she took engineering classes in German – autsch!), taught English in Thailand for another, and is now living in Poland. She loves learning about people and experiencing different ways of life, and has the heavily stamped passport to prove it.
Nick MandelSenior Energy Analyst
Nick loves to tinker. In his free time, he dissects machines and puts them back together, curious about what made them tick. His passion for figuring out how things worked naturally led him to engineering, which he studied at UNL. Today, Nick brings over a decade of professional mechanical engineering experience to his work at Energy Studio. When he isn’t solving energy puzzles, Nick stays active learning new skills and spending time in the great outdoors. He also enjoys running and hiking with his wife, their Weimaraner, Wheatie, and their Vizsla, Maisy.
Colin MillerJunior Energy Analyst
As long as he can remember, Colin has had a fascination with two things: buildings and the environment. Upon realizing these things could be combined into a career, working for Energy Studio was a no-brainer. Whether it is through his work as an Energy Analyst or by choosing to ride his electric skateboard instead of driving his car, Colin is constantly trying to make the world a greener place.
Alycia NobleProject Manager | Senior Energy Analyst
Some people are just destined to make the world a better place. Technically Alycia’s a energy analyst, but there’s a lot more to her story. With her Masters in Architectural Engineering from UNO/UNL, she’s passionate about saving energy, money, and the environment. Energy-awesomeness aside, she may not tell you that she’s also somewhat of a dog geek – serving as president of a local dog club, and training her Belgian Tervuren, Dizzy.
Kristine PedersenBusiness Operations | HR Manager
Kristine, our esteemed Business Operations Manager, bringing more than two decades of dedicated service in various administrative capacities. With a proven history of excellence, Kristine showcases unparalleled organizational, communication, and creative problem-solving skills. Beyond the office, Kristine finds solace in her garden, cherishes moments with her two grandchildren, and indulges in the latest Stephen King novels. Her interests extend to travel, writing, web design, and the art of candle making.
Jessica RennerProject Manager | Senior Energy Analyst
Jessica is what you would call a total powerhouse. She went to UNO/UNL for Architectural Engineering, but that’s just the beginning. By day, Jess performs energy analysis; by night, you can catch her jammin’ with her (Omaha Entertainment Award nominated) band Edge of Arbor. You’d never guess that she’s a total gearhead, and used to help her dad build stock cars. Rock on!
Rut WattanasakProject Manager | Senior Energy Analyst
Rut Wattanasak, BEMP, is a senior energy analyst and project manager at ENERGY STUDIO. He has extensive experience with high-performance buildings. He possesses a strong understanding of energy modeling procedures for both the LEED certification process and for energy code compliance. Previously, he was a LEED technical reviewer at a sustainability consulting firm where he performed reviews of the LEED Energy and Atmosphere credits for projects around the world.