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This morning, a client called me and asked for some help. He needed to generate future weather files for a BREEAM certified project in Brussels (necessary for HEA04 – Thermal Comfort credit). I was happy to lend a hand!
The methodology is to use the climate change world weather file generator named CCWorldWeatherGen. It uses Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report model summary data of the HadCM3 A2 experiment ensemble and is based on the so-called ‘morphing’ methodology for climate change transformation of weather data, which was developed by Belcher, Hacker and Powell. From a present weather file (BrusselsIWEC), future weather predictions can be generated for the horizons of 2020, 2050 and 2080.
I was astonished by the magnitude of the climate change in this case. The mean dry bulb temperature is predicted to raise from 10.2°C (present) to 11.2°C by 2020, 12.3°C by 2050 and up to 14.0°C by 2080! This represents a +3.8°C elevation, much higher than the average +1.5°C under which the world’s nations committed to the COP21 in December 2015.
Another key point was the maximum temperature that rose from 34.9°C to 43.8°C and the percentage of the time the temperature was above 26°C rose from 1.1% to 5.5%. This means a drastic change in building management in terms of heating/cooling and comfort.
Just a few weeks ago, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) declared July 2016 as the hottest month on record in 136 years. So we are seeing first-hand the increase in temperature and my climate analysis for Brussels shows just how much it is set to rise.
In these conditions, how will our existing buildings behave? Should all our buildings now be designed to anticipate these forecasts? I hope the scenario is overly pessimistic but I think we need to prepare for the worst case scenario.
What do you get when you challenge nine interdisciplinary teams to design a net zero (or below) 50,000 ft2, 3-story Outpatient Health Care facility in Omaha, Nebraska? You get ASHRAE’s Lowdown Showdown, an energy modeling competition that showcases the talent and innovation of those in our industry using building performance analysis software.
Last year, Team IES won Best Energy Use Results and we were delighted that the winning streak continued after the team were awarded Best Workflow at SimBuild 2016 in Salt Lake City on August 11th.
This year’s IES team – going under the name Insane Energy Savers – consisted of the following members: Kent Beason, Joanne Choi, Cory Duggin, Alexandra Gramling, Ken Griffin, Amy Jarvis, Shona O’Dea, Igor Seryapin, Irina Susorova, Tristan Truyens, Brian Tysoe, Scott West and Xiangjin Yang.
Our design started by modifying the massing and program to be as climate responsive as possible, while still maintaining the core mission of an outpatient surgery center. Any non-critical spaces were migrated to the second and third floors where a common atrium was added in lieu of the circulation program areas. Exam rooms and office spaces were placed along the perimeter to allow cross ventilation from them through the atrium. Based on wind roses for the shoulder seasons, when natural ventilation is most viable, the building was rotated for the south façade to be in line with the predominant south eastern wind.
Stair stepping the south façade allows the building to self-shade for the entire cooling season and allows for passive heating in the winter as well as passive reheating of air-change dominated spaces on the first floor. Since Omaha has a significant heating season, the R-value of the walls, roof and glazing were optimized to reduce heat loss.
The air change constraints in the first floor program caused us to consider it separately. A separate dedicated outside air system (DOAS) is used for the critical spaces coupled with earth tubes to precool and preheat the required ventilation air. The non-critical areas use another DOAS with a south facing vertically mounted transpired solar collector for preheating since the windows will be open for cross ventilation during much of the cooling season. All spaces and both DOAS use a geothermal, water-cooled VRV system for their cooling and heating.
The tilted roof of the atrium was designed to hold photovoltaic panels with a 19.6% efficiency. Wind turbines were also used to produce the remainder of the energy required to get net zero.
Take a look at the poster below for more info on the project’s energy saving strategies.
An ‘Insane’ Effort
In my role as team mentor, it was awesome to see first-hand how our talented team used the Virtual Environment to complete this challenge. A lot of work was put in and it paid off when they picked up their award for Best Workflow.
It was a great effort by all involved – not just the insane ones – and it’s fantastic how each team came together to demonstrate how energy modeling tools can be used to make such a positive impact on our built environment. Bring on next year’s challenge!
Click here to see view the Insane Energy Savers’ Lowdown Showdown presentation slides.
Russia’s largest retailer approached IES recently to ask for help in designing significantly better performing buildings – the result a UK 4-day study tour led by our Business Development Consultant for CEE, Guy Eames.
“Britain is one of the leading countries when it comes to high performance or “green” buildings”, boasts Guy, “IES’ technology highlights what is possible, when building owners set their minds to reducing their carbon footprint”.
The executives saw first-hand how buildings are passively heated and cooled using locally grown materials pressed into blocks; how green roofs affect insulation and provide natural habitats and how rainwater harvesting reduces water use by 50%. “Implementing such build strategies would be impossible without first making careful calculations”, continues Guy. “Building simulation analysis offers the best way to do that, allowing “scenario analysis” or comparisons between various construction materials and technologies. IESVE offers the most integrated and speediest approach.”
We were pleased to welcome Environmental Sustainability Manager at Adnams, Ben Orchard on the tour to present to the executives and share the firms sustainability story. Part of this is its BREEAM Excellent distribution centre which incorporates many eco-friendly measures such as rainwater harvesting, solar panels and LED lights. “It was a pleasure to be able to highlight the features and demonstrate the success of our award winning, ‘eco’ designed, distribution centre; an iconic and crucial milestone in our sustainability story”, said Ben.
Globally renowned architect and pioneer for super-efficient buildings Bill Dunster, CEO of ZED Factory, also welcomed the group and praised the IESVE (Virtual Environment) platform. Zed Factory demonstrated the “Zero Bills Home” and how to use innovation to reduce energy demands whilst taking advantage of natural renewable energy – sun and wind.
Renewable energy was a reoccurring topic throughout the tour, as all of the buildings seen were powered naturally. “In the CIS there are very few wind turbines, although PV and hydroelectric are playing a growing role, so there’s nothing like standing under a wind turbine and comparing how whole communities can be powered on renewables.”, said Guy. It was a pleasure to meet with companies like RES which specialise in such schemes and demonstrate how IESVE can calculate loads on individual buildings”. RES showed off their thermal storage capabilities as well as combined solar heating and power installation. Visitors were impressed to see electric vehicles charging from wind and solar power.
The ZEDfactory Zero Bills Home showed how battery power could store excess energy or cheap off-peak power to cover energy peaks and even charge electric vehicles. The homes, although grid connected, are energy positive for 8 months of the year and only energy negative for 4 months, when they rely on the grid. This is possible thanks to their solar voltaic roofs (BIPV), low thermal loads by maximising energy efficiency and using all electric heat pumps producing hot and cold water, and the reduced costs of electrical storage. There is almost no case for centralised power plants with this combination. Affordable near off-grid buildings are now ready to replace investment in fossil or nuclear powered centralised grid infrastructure – however it requires clients and local government to stop investing in large scale solutions and concentrate on higher quality optimised local buildings and masterplans.
A green-building tour of the UK wouldn’t be complete without learning more about BREEAM. The group was lucky to visit 6 BREEAM certified buildings (many award winning) as well as being greeted by senior staff at the BRE (Building Research Establishment). BREEAM is increasingly being used abroad, either using the international BREEAM or National Schemes. IES works closely with the BRE, projects include IMPACT and modules for the VE to speed up the BREEAM certification process.
The tour was intense but deep – covering retail strategies (Mike Barry from Marks & Spencer found an hour for us), manufacturing and distribution buildings (Skanska, Adnams), and Residential and Office. To complete the day, the group were treated to a presentation of Terminal 5 at Heathrow – the UK’s largest free-standing buildings, where IES was selected as Energy and Sustainability Modelling Consultants.
Guy concluded, “The tour was a great success, full of inspiring projects, showcasing the best of British in taking forward the sustainability agenda. We look forward to these ideas being transferred across CEE countries and greeting more Eastern Europeans!”.