Consulting Specifying Engineer July 2014 - CSE : Page-33

Figure 1: Building simulation tools such as options from Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) are essential to accurately predict daylight glare and associated energy impact in order to best apply available budget to achieve a net-zero energy goal. Building simulation tools allow the design team to optimize, quantify, and present both energy and occupant comfort design strategies and demonstrate compliance with ASHRAE Standards 90.1, 62.1, and 55. Courtesy: DLR Group (or net-zero capable) buildings that maxi-mize occupant comfort and productivity. This vision of a high-performance building requires the traditional design process to evolve. A more integrative and holistic process with a focus on early decisions in the design phase and rigorous performance simulation is nec-essary. Building performance simulation and energy analyses are vital to estab-lish indoor environmental and energy optimization criteria. Also important is a clear understanding of the anticipated use of building spaces to fully inform the design. An initial visioning session must establish measurable high-performance goals based on the building’s anticipated operations protocol. Project energy budgets now take on as much significance as project cost bud-gets. Establishing energy and budget tar-gets early in the design, and then tying systems analysis and evaluation to both project cost and energy budgets are criti-cal to ensuring the project stays on track for energy consumption goals within the financial budget. Synergies between engineered systems must be evaluated and presented to key stakeholders as part of a holistic analysis. At this time it’s essential to share project-ed energy and operational savings along with first costs to illustrate the positive impact on occupant comfort, and the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the building. If a building owner is to invest in a high-performance glazing system, then the associated reduction in chiller and boiler plant size, and the associated energy and maintenance cost reductions must also be presented as a TCO comparison. Yet we don’t want to design bunkers. We want compelling, beautiful build-ings that elevate the human experience through design. Two consistent challenges must be overcome to produce buildings that achieve our new vision of high-perfor-mance design: 1. An emphasis on value engineering to lessen first costs versus operating costs 2. Thoughtfully considering occupant comfort and productivity through the entire design process. Cost conundrum A building’s initial capital costs and operational costs are often derived from different funding sources. This can pose a significant challenge in pursuit of high-performance if value engineering and minimizing first costs becomes the pri-mary driver of the design process. Acqui-escing to investor and/or owner demands to lower first costs during design can have negative long-term impact on occupant comfort and productivity. This does not have to be the case any longer. The Research Support Facility at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., is a 360,000-sq-ft office building that generates as much electric-ity as it uses. It uses rooftop photovolta-ics for on-site production and was built for the same price as a traditional Class A office building. NREL’s “Controlling Capital Costs in High-performance Office Buildings: A Review of Best Practices for Overcoming Cost Barriers” white paper further documents that it is feasible to design and construct buildings that can achieve net-zero energy goals with stan-dard first cost considerations. A holistic, value-based building per-formance analysis is key to any net-zero design project. As part of performance analysis the design team must be dis-ciplined, maintain focus, and champion the importance of elevating energy per-formance to the level of schedule and budget for the project. This ensures that both energy goals and budget priorities are managed and optimized throughout the design process rather than addressed in individual value engineering exer-cises. When a clear business case for a high-performance design strategy has been presented to the project team through a quality performance analysis, it is much easier to retain that strategy during a traditional value engineering process. Consulting-Specifying Engineer • JULY 2014 33

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