NZEB, ASHRAE 90.1, ASHRAE 189.1, IECC, IGCC, EISA, EO 13514 (1) – do you know what they are? If you are involved in building design and construction, you should know them. If you design the site, fenestration and building envelope, mechanical and electrical systems, and building systems controls, you have to know them. Why? Public laws, building codes, industry standards, and, yes, even the green building rating systems LEED and GreenGlobes will require a significant reduction in the use of fossil fuel-based energy over the next two decades, to the point of net zero energy use by 2030. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), buildings account for 39 percent of the energy use and 68 percent of the total electricity use in the United States. The challenge is this – we cannot achieve these stringent energy conservation goals by continuing to design buildings and systems the way we did in the past where the architect, mechanical engineer and electrical engineer independently, in isolation from each other, designed their part of the building using long standing rules of thumb.
What we need today and for the future is an integrated, whole building design approach. Whole building design takes an integrated design approach and an integrated team process to achieve high-performance buildings. Materials, systems, and assemblies are reviewed from many different perspectives, with the understanding that building components, sub-systems and materials are interdependent, can impact the total performance of the whole, and can perform ‘double duty.’
It involves all the stakeholders throughout the building’s life cycle – from planning, through design, construction, commissioning, occupancy, and operations and maintenance of the building. The stakeholders include the project design team, owner, tenants, contractor, and even the maintenance staff. What about the person choosing the site? If that person doesn’t understand solar access: building orientation for passive solar heating, daylighting, and natural ventilation, then the designers wanting to optimize energy use begin their job at a disadvantage. Sustainable site design is important to reducing a building’s fossil fuel use and optimizing its solar energy potential!
Now the design team can get started evaluating the choice of building envelope, glazing to let light in and reject heat and glare, operable windows for natural ventilation, deciding on a cool roof or vegetated roof, the HVAC system, the lighting, and the controls. To squeeze out every kilowatt, it will take smart, integrated control systems to monitor occupancy patterns, operate shades and blinds, bring in the right amount of fresh air, and balance the need for electric lighting with the availability of daylight. Use of energy modeling, building information modeling (BIM) and intensive coordination among the design team members is paramount to achieving the designated energy consumption goal. Note too, that this process is applicable to the energy retrofit of existing buildings as well.
Keep in mind that optimizing energy performance may be of primary importance, but it is only one aspect of sustainable design and sustainable design is but one of a project’s design objectives. Do not focus on sustainability at the expense of the other design objectives.
A true high-performance building is cost effective over its entire life cycle, safe, secure, accessible, flexible, aesthetic, productive for its occupants, and sustainable. So remember this:
- A high-performance building cannot be achieved unless the integrated design approach is employed.
- It is important to conduct charrettes & project team meetings from concept through planning, design & construction (include all stakeholders).
Written by Richard Paradis, Whole Building Design Guide
Use the Whole Building Design Guide as a tool to achieve high-performance buildings. Learn more about the Integrated Design Approach by visiting the Whole Building Design Guide at www.wbdg.org
NZEB – Net zero energy building is a building that, on an annual basis, produces as much energy as it uses.
ASHRAE 90.1 – ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2001 – Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
ASHRAE 189.1 – Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings
IECC – International Energy Conservation Code (IECC)
IGCC – International Green Construction Code (IGCC)
EISA – the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires federal buildings to reduce their fossil-fuel based energy use to zero by 2030.
EO 13514 – Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy and Economic Performance: Beginning in 2020 and thereafter, states that all new Federal buildings that enter the planning process are designed to achieve zero-net-energy by 203
Tags: building design, energy modeling, epa, fossil fuel-based energy, GreenGlobes, HVAC system, LEED, lighting, richard paradis, solar energy potential, sustainable site design, whole building design guide