Designing truly green and energy efficient facilities extends far beyond just the synergy of HVAC, envelope and lighting systems. A completely holistic approach is needed for buildings of the future to qualify as high-performance. Just as 90.1 defines minimum standards for building systems and equipment, ASHRAE’s newest standard, Standard 189 (due out in early 2010) aims to codify all aspects of high-performance building design, including project siting, materials, indoor environmental quality, energy and construction practice.
The question facing facility executives, which the standard aims to address, is: How can the envelope, orientation, location of glass cladding and more help improve the lighting without negatively impacting the building’s heating and cooling? The key is to integrate building systems through early team collaboration. From the most conceptual stage of a project, engineers and architects must work together to limit each building’s cooling and heating loads. For example, optimizing the building’s site, massing and height from day one will help leverage the quality of the envelope and set the building up for high performance even before working toward systems efficiency.
Modern analytical tools have made this a reality. By employing cutting-edge modeling software, architects and engineers can investigate and employ innovative design strategies while minimizing risk to facility executives.
The advanced visualization of today’s modeling tools has strengthened the involvement of both the owner and building manager in the design process. By providing a physical map of simulated energy performance, including optimized room lighting and temperatures, owners can actually see their energy-efficient spaces in 3-D and gain a greater appreciation for estimated energy savings. Furthermore, owners and building managers can use their building’s energy model to market spaces and attract new tenants and investors who are looking for green spaces to live, work and play in.
— Andrew Silverstein and Jim Vallort
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