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ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

JBDG, Inc. Headquarters
15200 52nd Ave SE
Seattle, WA 98188
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Similar to many small businesses, Johnson Braund Design Group (JBDG) originally focused on its core business of designing hotels rather than its steadily increasing electrical consumption. Throughout its history, the firm made energy efficiency adjustments such as changing T12 fluorescent lights to T8 lights in each of its 200 fixtures. Nevertheless, consumption had grown so high that its utility provider considered JBDG a "medium commercial" user and raised its rate accordingly. The group knew the primary culprits were the increasing technology required by a growing staff and the facility's aging and failing HVAC system. Thus, the firm's leaders set a simple goal--reduce electrical grid consumption for their 8,000-square-foot facility by 50 percent within one year.


In outlining their program, the Johnson Braund team turned to the ENERGY STAR Building Upgrade Manual and Guide for Small Business. According to Steve Allwine, Marketing Coordinator, the firm decided to start with the "low hanging fruit" of energy consumption.


The first area where the team made significant energy efficiency improvements was lighting. Each cubicle has separate user controls for the overhead light fixtures. The T-5 lamped fixtures are managed by a central server and feature both automated daylighting and occupancy sensors. Work area lighting levels were increased, while decreasing electrical lighting consumption by 85 percent. Additionally, upstairs employees only use 9-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in desktop lamp task lighting and rely heavily on daylighting. The switch from incandescent bulbs to CFLs in desk lamps also reduced task light consumption by 85 percent. CFLs in overhead can lights are being replaced with new 12-watt LED recessed down lights.


Occupancy sensors were placed in restrooms to automatically shut off lights and the fan when the air has been refreshed. Printers were placed on timers, so they would turn off and not use energy overnight. By adjusting workstation BIOS, computers that have been turned off overnight automatically boot up 5 minutes before employee arrival. Workstations and monitors are put on stand-by after 15 and 10 minutes respectively, greatly reducing electrical consumption.

The team also focused on increasing insulation. A trip to the hardware store for weather stripping eliminated a persistent draft from the back door. Expanding foam sealant patched exterior holes and reduced the drafts felt throughout the building.

The team realized significant gains in efficiency with a heating and cooling makeover. Johnson Braund worked with the Carrier Corporation to design and install a highly efficient heating and cooling system using home-sized compressors. ENERGY STAR qualified equipment was a must, as were programmable thermostats. The removal of the previous rooftop units meant the roof became an ideal, shadow-free canvas for a solar array. A 10 kW solar array was designed and built to reduce reliance on the grid. To help with frequent power outages, a battery back-up was installed, which enabled operation even during a prolonged blackout. The solar array is projected to reduce consumption significantly and has the additional benefit of shading the roof in summer, thereby reducing air conditioning demand.

Dedicated duct work was set up in the server room to capture waste heat and direct it to cold building exits. In summer, the hot air is dumped directly outside. This eliminated the need for a dedicated AC unit to operate year-round in the server room and contributes an additional 8,000 BTUs of captured heat every hour during the colder months. Several other heat recovery ventilators were included with the system to recapture as much waste heat as possible.

The Johnson Braund team has met their goal of a 50 percent reduction in grid consumption and was a winner of the 2008 ENERGY STAR Small Business Award. JBDG has now set a new goal of reducing consumption another 50 percent over the next 3 years. The new program calls for more daylighting, common area LED lighting, solar hot water heating, reducing the number of servers, and converting many computer workstations to laptops. The firm has analyzed its electrical usage by category, such a lighting, computers, and HVAC. The ultimate goal is to generate more power on-site than is consumed from the grid. To meet that objective, the group is researching how to harness micro-hydro power from a stream that runs through their property.

Johnson Braund is saving more than 48,000 kWh annually at an estimated cost savings of nearly $3,000. This prevents the emission of 38 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of almost five homes.




Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by 52nd Ave LLC. or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Building Owner:*
52nd Ave LLC.

Property Manager:*
Johnson Braund Design Group, Inc.

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2009 (86)
2010 (93)

Facility Type: Office

Total Floorspace: 8000 sf

Year Constructed: 1986

Contract Type: None

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant
   Other Technologies/Strategies