Consulting Specifying Engineer Jan/Feb 2015-CSE : Page-26

Codes & Standards The notion of human impact should be considered in any conversation regard-ing energy efficiency in the built environ-ment. This topic is not directly related to ASHRAE Standard 90.1, but is one of the characteristics that elevate good build-ing performance to great building per-formance. The requirements of this stan-dard continue to advocate for automatic measures to minimize the need for human intervention. These automatic measures contribute to the high-performing build-ings being constructed today. Ensuring proper use and performance of lighting controls is an example of the importance of human impact on energy performance. An integrated design pro-cess is a useful platform to interject the human impact into the design. Involving the engineering and analysis team early in the design process can have many advan-tages, including sharing the requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 with other design team members and users who may not be familiar with the standard. When everyone understands the design requirements and the user’s expectations, good design can be elevated into a high-performance building. Traditionally, the design team’s role on a project ends when the building is built and all of the post-construction documen-tation is turned over to the owner. The emphasis on high-performance buildings is allowing design teams to become more engaged in post-occupancy activities such as user training, energy benchmark-ing, and operational feedback. As hard as we try to simplify things, systems in modern-day buildings are complicated, especially for users with little or no training in architecture or engineering. Systems that are not under-stood by facility managers or users are often altered by occupants to the detri-ment of occupant comfort. This leads to frustration by facility managers and occupants, and results in poor energy performance. The next big thing that design pro-fessionals can do to positively impact building energy performance is train both facility managers and occupants about how the systems work. This train-ing is not on how to replace an air filter or perform other routine maintenance. Rather, it should train users on the rami-fications of blocking the glazing intend-ed for daylighting with cardboard; train them how to temporarily adjust the light level for a special program; and train them to be successful in the space that was designed for them. The ASHRAE Standard 90.1 offers designers the tools and compliance cri-teria to create energy-efficient facilities. The application of this standard through an integrated design process should result in a facility that provides excellent value to the owner. All too often this value is not realized. While the reasons for this vary, the real problem is that a facility may operate incorrectly for years before the causes can be determined and rem-edied. An owner’s design and energy analysis team can play a key role in the optimizing the performance of the facili-ties they designed through post-occu-pancy services like energy benchmark-ing and operational feedback studies. A simple comparison of actual utility data to performance expectation using energy consumption data is the first step in determining if there are real issues. Operational feedback studies use energy data—utility and submeters, user surveys and system observations—as the means to understand how energy is consumed and how efficiency can be improved. ASHRAE Standard 90.1 is a fluid document that continues to evolve in response to changes in our industry and the desire for continuous optimization of energy performance. The application of this standard or subsequent building codes that are influenced by this standard, offer value to building owners through lifecycle cost objectives that are embedded into the information. ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and other industry trends such as integrated design, human impact on performance, and post-occupancy evaluations provide the foundation for energy optimization in the built environment. Rodney V. Oathout is regional engineer-ing leader and principal at DLR Group’s Overland Park, Kansas, office. He is a champion for integrated design, energy efficiency, and human engagement in high-performance buildings. Ruairí Barnwell leads DLR Group’s building optimization team from Chicago. He is responsible for growing this market and contributing his expertise in high-perfor-mance building design to benefit clients in the firm’s core market sectors. He is a 2013 Consulting-Specifying Engineer 40 Under 40 award winner. Figure 4: The new Business Building on the Lisle, Ill., campus of Benedictine Uni-versity is one of the first buildings permitted in Illinois under the new IECC 2012/ ASHRAE 90.1-2010 code. 26 Consulting-Specifying Engineer • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015

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