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Archive for the Energy Performance Category


An article appeared in the Telegraph last week, Energy Scandal: Misleading Efficiency Claims Leading to Huge Bills for Homeowners. At IES, while we’re 100% in support of the industry needing to do much more to tackle the energy performance gap, we feel that this article unfairly lays the blame for it at the doors of energy modelling professionals.

Headquartered in Glasgow, IES is the main provider of performance simulation software in the UK. We’ve been helping address the numerous causes of the performance gap for several year’s now, through training and education sessions.

Yes, the ‘performance gap’ is well documented and known about in the industry. But to address it requires action by all those involved in a building’s life cycle, from design to operation. That includes architects, engineers, energy modellers, contractors and facilities managers to name a few. The finger should not just be pointed only at building modelling professionals!

There are a number of issues in play here.

First off, a key misconception to understand, is that an EPC, as modelled by software during the design stage, is NOT a true reflection of how a building will perform once built. EPCs assess a building under normalised conditions, missing out ‘unregulated building energy loads’ that are not required to be included in the calculation. As an industry, we need to get away from modelling just for compliance and modelling for actual building energy use. Read more on our views on this here.

Next up there are already several well-established industry initiatives aimed at tackling the issue. CIBSE Guidance TM54 is focused on ‘Evaluating Operational Energy Performance of Buildings at the Design Stage’, and the BSRIA Soft Landings Process aims to help to solve the performance gap between design intentions and operational outcomes by better management of the handover process from design, through commissioning, and on into operation to deliver a better performing product.

Combine this with, the digital revolution of the construction industry that is Building Information Modelling (BIM), and the industry has a vehicle to capture relevant information during design for use during the operational phase of the building as well as accountability for operational performance.

So what’s the problem? Ultimately, building clients want low fees. To move away from a compliance only modelling approach that uses standard assumptions and leaves predictions of energy use way out, needs the support of clients. When done properly a building model can predict within +/- 5% of energy performance. But time and effort needs to be taken during the modelling process to predict realistic use. And time costs money!

In reality, this research just highlights why modellers use software tools to understand building energy use. The way a building responds in practice is complex with many factors interacting and needing to be accounted for. Modellers use tools like the IESVE to run scenarios and check their assumptions are correct. They often change their views based on feedback from models. The energy modellers that took part in the research were not asked to use any modelling software to inform their responses.

This is why tools like IESVE exist, to aid professionals in making informed decisions. All IESVE modellers can access detailed training and accreditation from us, and we would wholeheartedly support more courses, and in-depth, industry wide accreditation.

Monodraught-HTM Office (2)This week we announced that we have been collaborating with Monodraught to release further performance components within the IESVE. The components are for Monodraughts’ Hybrid Thermal Mixing (HTM®) ventilation system, and sit within our VE ApacheHVAC application.

With the previous success of integrating components for Monodraught’s Windcatcher and Cool-phase systems we are very pleased to be adding the HTM system to our components library, providing you with more accurate information for your designs, and in turn leading to more sustainable and better performing buildings.

Monodraught-HTM-Component

The IESVE for Engineers suite features a library of predefined 3D component representations of Monodraught systems that can be dragged easily from a catalogue of products onto a building model constructed within the IESVE. The performance and energy savings can then be assessed in an open and transparent process by the client alone, thus building confidence in the application of Natural Ventilation and Cooling systems and demonstrating the true capabilities and potential for this type of scheme.

The analysis tools that are available in the IESVE provide you with a visual insight into the performance of the HTM & HTM FS systems year round, and the authentic textures offer architects and designers a means of understanding the aesthetics of Monodraught systems and how best to integrate them into a building.

For further information visit: http://www.iesve.com/software/ve-for-engineers/manufacturer-tools/monodraught-htm

Plant
For many building types, maintaining space conditions will account for a significant proportion of the overall energy consumption. With the effects of climate change expected to increase the external air temperature, buildings will see a shift toward an increased cooling need. If we are going to reduce our carbon emissions whilst minimising running costs then the onus will be on designers to correctly ensure their plant design is optimised. The key will be to accurately predict the cooling energy demand and recognise how a considered system will operate in practice. Not doing this accurately could lead to increased risk exposure when the building is operational. So what considerations should designers be recognising in the early stages?

If we start by looking at the UK compliance route which typically uses a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) as a means of determining the cooling energy. SEER figures are intended to represent a weighted system efficiency that takes into consideration performance at varying part load conditions and at varying ambient temperatures. Manufacturer published SEER values are based on a specific set of conditions that in all likelihood will be very different to the range of conditions that a particular building is likely to operate within. While SEER values are useful for designers so to compare a range of products on a like for like basis they do not necessarily reflect the true performance when that cooling plant is then operational.

Typically SEER’s used in UK Compliance calculations will be based on the following standardised conditions:

Part Load Weighting Factor(Office Building) Weighting Factor(Unknown Profile) Air Cooled Chillers – Ambient Dry Bulb Temperature Water Cooled Chillers – Condenser Entering Water Temperature
100% 3% 25% 35°C 30°C
75% 33% 25% 30°C 26°C
50% 41% 25% 25°C 22°C
25% 23% 25% 20°C 18°C

The operating conditions for different part load conditions are used for benchmarking chillers internationally and do not necessarily even reflect the UK’s climate.

For many parts of the UK the air temperatures assumed for the SEER calculation at a 75% and 100% part load will rarely be observed. If the building is not an office type and the load distribution is unknown then the four part load points will be weighted equally putting an even greater significance on the plant at a high outdoor temperature when the system will be operating a lower efficiency.

The London TRY05 weather file for example has a peak external temperature of 31.8°C and exceeds 30°C for only 10 hours of the year but based on the standard weighting factors a 33% weighting factor should be applied to the performance at this condition

It should be remembered that simulations can be used to establish an appropriate SEER which permits a more accurate and indeed more favourable assessment.

Real Building Analysis

In many instances design consideration is still only given to the peak cooling demand to ensure the selected plant has sufficient capacity to safeguard the cooling plant needs. However it is important for designers to push on and understand the expected demand load distribution within the design. This is simply the case because a building may frequently experience part load conditions that the plant cannot meet efficiently, or its demand is lower than the cooling plant’s minimum turndown, or even the cooling system is an innovative design with multiple components where coolth is captured from many sources.

Take the example of when the cooling load demand is lower than the chiller’s minimum turndown, it will typically cycle on and off with this behaviour leading to inefficient performance. This in turn applies unnecessary stress on the plant which may result in faults and in places failure, but most certainly increased maintenance costs. Who will bear this burden? A building owner should not feasible expect this process after their investment has already been made.

To solve this step then the design should consider how the range of the cooling plant output can be extended through a modular chiller design. The chart below compares this range where the chillers can operate continuously for a single chiller and multiple chiller configuration.

Cooling Plant Output

While the chart above demonstrates that only a lesser proportion of part load conditions will lead to chiller cycling, this part load range can still be a common condition especially if the chiller plant has already been oversized.

As well as increasing the operational range of the chiller output, sequencing can be utilised to maximise the cooling plants operational efficiency by either running single or multiple chillers to achieve the best operating condition. The illustrative example below demonstrates a chiller’s COP at varying part load conditions. Alongside the COP, the load frequency is displayed indicating how often the cooling load falls into a particular range. This illustrates how sequencing multiple chillers can be utilised to provide smaller part loads efficiently.

The following series of charts illustrate how implementing multiple chillers and with sequencing can meet building loads more efficiently. The green bars represent the frequency a particular load condition occurs and in the example we see a significant number of hours where the cooling demand is relatively low. The grey line illustrates the systems efficiency at that part load condition.

The first example represents a single chiller serving the building where it operates at a poor efficiency across many hours. The SEER in this instance is 3.68.

Single Chiller

In the second example the same cooling demand is now met by two equally sized chillers which allows smaller loads to be met more efficiently than previously. The SEER now increases to 3.98.

Two Chillers

The final example uses two unequally sized chillers to go further in efficiently meeting the building loads. Now the SEER has risen again to 4.05.

Two Chillers2

The above examples are illustrative but are intended to demonstrate how the impact of plant selection and control can influence the performance of a building.

The efficiency of a building cooling plant is sensitive to a number of considerations including water loop temperatures, part load conditions and the ambient temperature, all of which continually change across the year. Only within a dynamic simulation can the building plant be modelled in the required detail to predict the true operation. With feedback from the dynamic simulation designers can confidently understand the HVAC plant operation and its responses to the pressures put on the building. Modelling the intended operation during the design stage will help identify potential risk far in advance to ensure an efficient and optimised plant.

ahmm_image_2 (2)Guest blogger, Dr Craig Robertson – Head of Sustainability at architecture firm Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, shares his insight on the value of integrating performance analysis tools from even the early stages of design.

At Allford Hall Monaghan Morris we work across a range of sectors, specialising in designing buildings that are enjoyable to use, beautiful to look at and easy to understand. Our ethos is to create buildings that work over time and have lasting qualities intrinsic to their architecture.

For us, a project begins with a strategy rather than a design solution. Each strategy arises from understanding the fundamental drivers of a brief and the parameters, problems and opportunities it represents. Although this approach might involve a complexity of thought, the aim is always to produce a simple, legible proposal that can be responsive to change while still remaining true to the core of the brief. This ensures that our design ideas are robust enough to survive the pressures that can be expected on the way to the finished building.

Our design process is architectural, in that our primary decision drivers are that of townscape, spatial qualities, user experience, materiality and form. However, we recognise that making buildings is a collaborative process and we work hard to integrate engineering and space conditioning strategies into our designs. We focus on adaptable, occupant controlled environments using passive means where possible.

Performance-based design is important to enable understanding of the energy, cost and comfort implications of our design decisions. We have to balance all these factors and more, and carrying out performance analysis provides us with the detailed information we need to make better design decisions.

We use IESVE to perform more detailed analysis of our proposals and to support our architectural decisions, challenge briefs and integrate a strategic environmental approach into our architecture. It is an essential tool to understand how our architectural proposals can be optimised to maximise comfort and minimise energy consumption.

Early stage examples we are currently working on include developing a fixed shading strategy for a new commercial office building, illustrating the benefits of hybrid conditioning to a developer client, reassuring a planning department over concerns about sunlight and simplifying the servicing requirements for a residential project.

We find that as the legislative framework around energy and sustainability becomes increasingly stringent, the onus is on us to make the case for low energy, high performance architecture. Outputs from IESVE help us do that.

Want to find out more about integrating VE analysis tools within your architectural practice? Visit our VE for Architects webpage or contact one of our representatives at sales@iesve.com for more information.

RBS HQ - BREEAM Excellent
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been contacted by a number of BREEAM Assessors who are looking for ways to boost their projects overall score and I found it interesting how many don’t realise the full number of credits available through analysis from IESVE.

The number of registered BREEAM projects continue to grow with resilience each year. With the BRE Environmental Assessment Method celebrating its 25th birthday, the numbers are staggering; globally there are more than 553,000 BREEAM certified developments, and almost 2,254,500 buildings registered for assessment, in over 70 countries since it was first launched in 1990. By any benchmark BREEAM is firmly placed in the construction industry.

In the UK, if you are working on a non-domestic building of any size the chances are that the project will be registered for BREEAM, and the work you are doing will influence the end result. Now, if you are reading this, then you are probably well aware of BREEAM and the role you will play in any particular assessment, either directly or otherwise, but did you know that 33% of BREEAM credits can be achieved using IESVE? *

Whether you are a BREEAM Assessor, or a consultant delivering credits, knowing which credits can be achieved can not only maximise the full potential of the projects BREEAM score but also generate additional revenue streams you may not currently benefit from. I’m not aware of any analysis tool which can deliver more credits.
If you are involved in BREEAM have a look at the following table to make sure you aren’t missing out attainable credits.

*For BREEAM UK NC 2014

Assessment issue Credit Description Credit score
Management
Man 02 Life cycle cost and service life planning 4
Man 05 Aftercare 2 +1 exemplary
Health & Wellbeing
Hea 01 Visual comfort 4
Hea 02 Indoor air quality 2
Hea 04 Thermal comfort 2
Energy
Ene 01 – Reduction of energy use and CO2 emissions 12 +5 exemplary
Ene 04 – Low carbon design 3
Ene 08 Energy efficient equipment 2
Materials
Mat 01 Life-cycle impacts 6 +2 exemplary

BREEAM UK NC 2014

Did you spot any? Worth thinking about existing projects you are working on and what additional services you could be offering. Another question I get asked often is what IESVE can do for other BREEAM assessments, for example BREEAM_NOR, BREEAM international, BREEAM Communities, and the answer is simple, yes you can use IESVE for a number of credits on all BREEAM Assessments, and for other environmental assessment methods such as LEED®, DGNB, WELL etc. If you would like to know more then please don’t hesitate to contact your local IES representative.

Using IESVE for BREEAM credit analysis in conjunction an online project management system allows you to make the BREEAM certification process even more efficient. IES TaP is a BRE Global approved, secure online portal for managing the evidence gathering and credit tracking process for BREEAM assessments. Using a system like IES TaP ultimately speeds up the evidence gathering process saving time and money, allowing you to realistically take on more projects over and above your current maximum.

BREEAM has enjoyed a prosperous 25 years and will no doubt continue to do so for the next 25 years. One element of this longevity for any assessment method is adapting to the market and alignment with complimentary assessment methods. The International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI™) and BRE recently announced an agreement between the two organizations to pursue alignments between the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL) and BREEAM that will make it easier for projects pursuing both standards. The crosswalk identifying the applicable credits between the two standards, is being done by WELL’s certifying body, Green Business Certification Inc., and BRE, and is expected to be completed in January 2017. Alignment between these assessment methods should help save time and costs, but ultimately help to deliver better, healthier, sustainable buildings.

Solutions like IESVE can help to maximise the full impact of under taking such assessments, by delivering the analysis and evidence required for credit attainment in as little time as possible. Rather than seeing the assessment as an addition to the core work, IESVE is able to integrate the analysis within a single model allowing you to not just validate but to undertake multiple studies to optimise the project for all aspects of its performance.

To read more about how IES can help you with your BREEAM assessment, visit http://www.iesve.com/software/breeam.

New IES customers can also take advantage of our limited time IESVE for BREEAM special offer.

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Photo Credit: Onix Building, Lille – Architect: Dominique Perrault

Over the past two years IES has collaborated with Somfy and Philips Lighting to analyse their shade & light combined solution “Light Balancing System” and its potential impact on energy savings. Most recently IES analysed the potential energy savings of a pilot project, the Onix office building in Lille. In this blog post, we invited Christelle Granier from Somfy to tell us a bit more about the collaboration, why they chose to work with IES and the importance of manufacturing companies integrating with the world of Building Physics and Building Performance Analytics…

We (Somfy and Philips) wanted to find a way to provide building design professionals with an effective and worthwhile product that would fit in with a holistic design process and help them to design both comfortable and energy efficient buildings. To do this we needed to validate the impact that the Light balancing system had on energy consumption.

To us, IES was the best choice because it is well known for its advanced dynamic simulation tools with the capabilities to conduct the most accurate analysis. After working closely with its Business Development Consultant, Luc Delestrade for over a year, he taught us a great deal which changed the way in which we demonstrated our solution.

More and more building regulations are being implemented worldwide and current ones are becoming much more stringent. We knew that in order to help industry professionals comply with these regulations we had to validate the Light Balancing System and prove its effect on a buildings energy consumption. In our pilot study, the Onix Building in Lille we proved that the System could reduce energy consumption by 29% in one year.

We understand that Building Physics and performance analytics is key to validating manufacturers building products.  Collaborations such as this one are extremely important for the future of sustainable building design. IES was vital in helping us prove our work. Automated shading should be part of the lifecycle management of the building. Working with IES helped us to democratise this product and make it more accessible to more building professionals.

The collaboration was a deep learning experience on both sides. We now have a much better understanding of where the Light Balancing system fits in the building lifecycle analysis process and how it effects occupant comfort and energy efficiency. The product should be analysed as part of a holistic model looking at HVAC, lighting and façade which includes automated blinds.

I’d like to extend a big thanks toIES, our collaboration helped to leverage our knowledge and understanding of building physics and performance analytics. I look forward to a future that holds further industry collaborations that help validate manufacturer products and their potential energy savings through building performance analysis.

Lindsey WELL BlogFor this blog Lindsey Malcolm of XCO2 discusses considerations of building services engineers and the potential role of simulation in catering for health and wellbeing in the building industry.

Health and Wellbeing. A phrase conventionally connoting to rhyming proverbs about the doctor-dodging power of a daily apple. Yet the proverbial days of the catchphrase are seemingly behind us, as ‘Health and Wellbeing’ is escalating into the latest buzzword within the building industry.

Our clients are demonstrating a growing demand for office spaces, retail areas and homes that enhance human health, productivity, and quality of environment. A business case for investment in health has driven interest in the commercial sector, and attention to this new industry buzzword in the retail and residential sector signifies this isn’t a short-term fad.

The vision of Health and Wellbeing is the long-term facilitation of productive and comfortable environments for the building occupant. Well-designed and operated environments should inspire conscious and subconscious positive lifestyle choices, resulting in healthier, more productive building users.

Considerations for design and beyond

Human health and wellbeing can obviously be impacted by an infinite number of factors; however, it is easier to consider if we chop this abstract concept into tangible and quantifiable chunks. Several core categories have been identified within the industry covering a broad spectrum of health and wellness drivers and indicators. These range from environmental (air quality, water quality, lighting) to behavioural (nourishment, fitness and lifestyle choices, working patterns and stress management).

As building designers, it is obviously outside our area of potential provision to shape to dietary and fitness of our building’s user. But implementing health and wellbeing into buildings is a holistic concept, and will have tangible effects on areas within our scope (see Figure 1).

The adjustment for engineers to consider is:

As building designers, it is obviously outside our area of potential provision to shape to dietary and fitness of our building’s user. But implementing health and wellbeing into buildings is a holistic concept, and will have tangible effects on areas within our scope (see Figure 1).

The adjustment for engineers to consider is: shifting our focus from the working of the building to the living of its user.

This shouldn’t be viewed as a trade-off against conventional design considerations such as energy efficiency or carbon emissions – our aim should be to adapt our existing solutions to improve our output for the people who will inhabit the building. This may involve throwing rules of thumb out of the window, or being guided by a forthcoming set of industry benchmarks – only time will tell. But for now, what we do know is that demand for healthier buildings is increasing, and we must respond accordingly to these requirements from our clients.

The Role of Simulation

Modelling and simulation support building design. Therefore, in order to improve our building design with occupants in mind, there is clearly opportunity to integrate cutting-edge areas of building simulation technologies.

Areas that could benefit from a simulation-based predictive approach could include:

  • Utilising CFD to assess indoor air quality;
  • Performing discretised zonal analysis of thermal comfort for individual occupants;
  • Performance and feasibility of different ventilation strategies;
  • Moisture and condensation management;
  • Reverberation and acoustic impacts;
  • Measuring and design ambient and circadian lighting.

An exciting assortment of modelling prospects; however, it is important for us to remember that modelling and simulation should support building design, rather than instructing. Particularly for health and wellbeing, where the benefits of a well-designed healthy building can be negated by poor operational use and user behaviours, the simulation of predictive conditions is less significant for design than other areas of the building industry.

And on a practical note, the feasibility of modelling so many different elements of building services is questionable – in terms of both metric limitations and issues on cost and resource effectiveness. Could an industry-wide interest in healthier buildings facilitate interest in the development of new metrics, as a way of regulating a better standard of living? Possibly so. Yet until that day comes, let us remember that simulation used for health and wellbeing should be taken with a pinch of salt – not too much salt, mind.

A healthy future for the industry

Simulation is a fantastic instrument to demonstrate the tangible benefits of health and wellbeing application. But let’s not forget the ultimate goal of the health and wellbeing – whether it be assessed through WELL or loosely ingrained concepts – is to facilitate a productive and comfortable built environment. Simulation can certainly be used to deliver this, but it cannot be considered a one-stop exercise. It must remain a tool to support operational-focused design and help to enforce the positive behavioural changes we are designing into our buildings.

As the health endemic continues to infect the building industry, a new ‘normal’ standard of building will emerge, requiring innovation and flexibility from all parties involved in the creative process to work with new concepts and metrics. As engineers and simulation specialists we can emphasise a greater focus on occupants, ensuring the holistic approach to health and wellbeing required to make a tangible difference to quality of life.

And as our building designs advance in the enablement of healthy living, our old proverb may just need a re-write. Forget the apples, dodge the doctor; it’s the engineers keeping illness at bay.

Lowdown Showdown 2016 Model

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.

A remote team meeting for the Insane Energy Savers

A remote team meeting for the Insane Energy Savers

Our Project
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.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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”.

IMG_7393

Skanska shows off their “Deep Green” engineering and manufacturing workshops near Doncaster

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.”

IMG_7217

IES Business Development Consultant Europe, Guy Eames

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.

IMG_7454

Passively heated and cooled distribution centre at Adnams

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 Zero Bills Home at BRE Innovation Park

The Zero Bills Home at BRE Innovation Park

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!”.

IES TaP for LEEDIn our last article on project management, we called upon the famous words of Mike Tyson to discuss design team management and achieving your desired certification.

This time we’ll put our boxing analogies aside and instead focus on the insight and knowledge of the team behind IES TaP, our online project management system. They’ve come together to create these five tips for successful management of the LEED® certification process.

1) Plan to succeed

It is important that at the very beginning of the project, the certification goal is identified, measured and communicated effectively to the design team. As simple as this sounds, there is a lot of value in having conversations to make sure everyone is on the same page about the goal and how to get there (realistically).

In the planning stages, it is important to target credits and measure the likelihood of achieving the points within those credits. And yes, IES has a tool for that. IES TaP allows the user to simulate/test multiple scenarios and helps inform the right approach to take on the project to achieve the desired certification goal.

2) Closely monitor progress

It is essential to keep close track of your LEED projects at all times, watching for any issues that may cause a setback to your project achieving its certification goal. Unplanned hiccups hold projects back. Having an understanding of how these mid-project adjustments affect the projects as a whole can mean the difference between earning LEED Gold and Platinum status.

The visual dashboard incorporated in IES TaP allows you to see all of your current projects in one place and monitor their progress toward certification in real time. At the individual project level, you can also view the credit and documentation progress per section and monitor the progress of individual team member responsibilities.

3) Communication is key

The project team must communicate and collaborate well as they work toward achieving the project certification goal, ideally while being managed by an experienced LEED AP. It is important that the project team is clear on their individual responsibilities and the progress the project is making and have the ability to highlight where there may be input from other team members or the project LEED AP required.

IES TaP provides a breakdown of the individual documentation requirements and allows each requirement to be allocated to a team member. With automatic e-mail reminders for project team responsibilities, everyone on the team is kept aware of what is required of them in order to submit the project for certification on time, giving the project manager one less thing to think about. If someone on the project team is not pulling their weight, there is a helpful project notification that the project manager can send which contains all the pertinent information of the project status and team member responsibilities. Everyone knows who has to provide what and by when.

4) Know your credits

Make sure all team members have the relevant guidance from the USGBC on hand, filtered so that the relevant information is available for the credit being worked on.

IES TaP gives you access to the USGBC credit library at credit level, access to LEED Online forms and real-time synchronization with LEED Online. LEED APs can also supply specific guidance on the credit to assist team members through the public commenting system or create additional custom requirements and assign responsibilities as needed.

5) Work smarter, not harder

Make sure the engagement with LEED requirements is no more onerous for the project team than it needs to be. The benefit of using a tool like IES TaP is the ability to cut down the project management workload, helping the design team work in as smart a way as possible.

To find out more about IES TaP for LEED, check out our new IES TaP for LEED video, sign up for one of our free webinars and try the software firsthand using our 30-day trial.

This article was originally published on the USGBC website.

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