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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.

Last Week Daniel Coakley of IES spoke on the topic of “Modelling Natural ventilation in the IESVE: Case studies & Research Outlook” at a half day seminar, organised by Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), for researchers, designers, engineers & architects.

This CIT Technical Seminar: Ventilative Cooling & Overheating Risk was organised in collaboration with IEA-EBC Annex 62 and presented state of the art utilisation of ventilation for reducing cooling energy demand and addressing the risk of overheating in low energy buildings.

In his presentation, Daniel covered;

  • an overview of Natural Ventilation simulation in the VE;
  • the use of natural ventilation and adaptive thermal comfort by the winning IES ASHRAE ‘Zero-Net Energy’ (ZNE) Challenge team;
  • and a future view of IES R&D work in the Building Operations space thought the EINSTEIN project.
     

Daniel at ASHRAE Ireland
Firstly, I must congratulate all the new ASHRAE Ireland committee, who worked really hard alongside myself, to make our first event a great success. It took place in the heart of Dublin (Dublin Castle), on 9th February 2016, and was incredibly well attended, with over 80 representatives from a diverse group across the whole building services sector – from both industry and academia. In addition, 10 sponsoring organisations including IES were also present, representing building design, HVAC equipment, refrigeration and controls.

A varied agenda included talks from across the industry:
• ASHRAE Organisation and the Ireland Section: Frank Caul (Sirus), Ken Goodman (ASHRAE Sub-Region B Chair) & Dr. Bruce D. Hunn (ASHRAE)
• Commercial Building Performance: Dr. Bruce D. Hunn (ASHRAE)
• Building energy policy and research: Kevin O’Rourke and Dr. Daniel Coakley
• Industrial Refrigerants: Seamus Kerr (RSL Ireland)

Bruce Hunn, the headline ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, spoke about ‘Performance Measurement protocols for Commercial buildings’, giving an in-depth discussion on characteristic measures for energy, water and indoor environmental quality (IEQ), as well as best practice guidelines for the application of each. This talk covered many important aspects of performance measurement, including setting the objective (why is it measured?), the metric (what to measure and how?), and finally the outputs in terms of appropriate benchmarks or performance indicators. The talk covered the three levels of performance objectives – basic, intermediate and advanced, giving detailed examples for each case, utilising the ASHRAE HQ building in Atlanta as a case study. Click here to view the presentation slides.

ASHRAE Ireland
In the afternoon session, which focused on building policy and research, I introduced the concept of smart cities and smart buildings. My presentation illustrated how current IES research in this space is driving improved integration between systems, buildings, communities and cities. In particular, the talk focuses on solutions being developed through collaborative research projects and training networks, such as Horizon 2020 and Marie Curie, and how these are helping create the next generation of urban energy planners and engineering solutions capable of leveraging novel ICT technologies to improve design and operational efficiency. In particular, I highlighted my involvement in one of these projects – EINSTEIN, a Marie Curie IAPP project in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, which aims to develop the next generation of optimised building controllers, through a combination of data-driven fault detection and prediction-based control optimisation. Click here to view the presentation slides.

Overall, the event was a great success for the launch of ASHRAE in Ireland, with a fantastic turnout, and positive feedback from attendees, sponsors and invited speakers and guests. It was great to see such a high level of interest and commitment from people from across the building services spectrum. We hope that this will lead to the growth of the organisation in Ireland, with further events already in planning, and growing interest in the formation of technical sub-committees among interested individuals and organisations.

 

Dublin Castle
Through my role with IES R&D, I’m lucky enough to find myself supporting the launch of the first ASHRAE Section in Ireland and am currently helping to organise its inaugural event. Taking place on 9th February at Dublin Castle, the conference will focus on commercial building energy performance, and will feature the ASHRAE Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. Bruce D. Hunn, who will lecture on measurement, evaluation and improvement of energy performance of commercial buildings. Additional talks will include recent developments in natural refrigerants, modelling of HVAC systems and controls, as well as building energy policy and regulation.

ASHRAE is an international organisation of around 53,000 members covering 132 nations, focussed on technical advancements in heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration, and helping to promote sustainability in these areas. In June 2015, I helped establish ASHRAE Ireland, with the aim to promote the organisations goals to our current national membership, and help encourage networking of member groups and organisations under this common goal.

As well as being involved in the launch of ASHRAE Ireland I’m also a research fellow on EINSTEIN, a Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project, between IES and Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The aim of EINSTEIN is to formulate and integrate a number of advanced building control strategies; Controls which will not only help eradicate errors between ‘as-built’ and ‘as-designed’ conditions but also include predictive analysis of how the building should perform, taking into account future weather predictions and occupant use. The synergy between the project and the conference theme made it the perfect fit for me and for IES who are sponsoring the event.

The event already has an excellent line-up of speakers so far, with energy sector representatives from both industry and academia. Our very own Catherine Conaghan will be speaking on “Building Energy Modelling and Smart Building Control” covering commercial available solutions IES already has in the space as well as looking at EINSTEIN and other research projects ongoing in IES R&D under the theme of operations and smart building control.

I fully expect the event will be a great opportunity to create meaningful engagement on the energy issues facing individuals and companies, particularly in the face of falling energy prices and increasing importance of meeting demanding sustainability targets.

Read more about the event and sign up here. We look forward to welcoming you to Dublin Castle on 9th February.

Team IES

 

You may remember we blogged back in August about our participation in the ASHRAE LowDown Showdown competition. Well, we have some great news… Team IES won the Best Energy Use Results category! Liam Buckley coached the winning team, fighting off competition from seven other practitioner teams, representing software-specific tools from: Autodesk, Carrier, DesignBuilder, eQUEST, EnergyPlus, Sefaira, and Trane. We asked Liam to tell us more about the winning entry and the winning team…

Our brief was to design a three-story; 53,600-square-foot office building that included a number of specific design challenges, but also encouraged design creativity. Projects were judged on energy efficiency, design creativity, workflow innovation, teamwork and collaboration.

Obviously, the team decided to make the challenge even more challenging by locating the building in downtown Boulder, where the climate experiences vast and extreme variations including annual external conditions ranging from (-4° F to 93°F); (6% -100% Relative Humidity) and commonly occurring daytime-to-night-time temperature swings of 35°F.

The team considered 150+ Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) and eventually chose 25-30 strategically sequenced ECMs, which included daylight harvesting controls; natural ventilation with exposed thermal mass and automated night-purge control; an air-to-water heat pump; energy-star equipment; plug load schedules from metered ZNE evangelists; fixed and dynamic solar shading; airside heat-recovery wheel; IT server virtualization; radiant floors for improved thermal comfort; an optimized electric lighting design; a high-performance envelope with heat-mirror glazing and insulated panels. Finally, the integral ECM of the building showcased a passive negatively-airflow-integrated atrium, which considered all climatic eventualities.

To compliment the solar hot-water heating system, which was coupled with electricity-generating PV panels, additional explicit onsite renewable energy technologies included 5 Vertical Axis Wind Turbines. These were further optimized by the building architecture.

Our team wanted to ensure that the design would not only meet net-zero standards for next year, but that 50 years down the line, would still be operating at net-zero energy. To ensure this, we morphed the TMY15 weather data 50 years into the future (to 2064) and planned for the addition of two building-integrated evaporative down-draft cool towers that assist with cooling, which would keep the building operating at zero net energy despite higher cooling loads.

I was thrilled that our team won this award for Best Energy Use Results. The team worked really hard; although the IESVE is a powerful software suite with vast capabilities, the tools are only as good as the people using them, and we had an incredible team using them. They deserved it. It was a real pleasure working with such a talented group of people.

The team members were: Anna Osborne (Integral Group), Ben Brannon (Arup), Shona O’Dea (DLR Group), Megan Gunther (Affiliated Engineers, Inc.), Cory Duggin (TLC Engineering for Architecture),  Greg Romanczyk (exp) and Scott West (HKS Inc.).

Our team has created a video presentation of the winning design which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/7V5LktxK5ig.

lowdown-showdown
On the build up to this year’s ASHRAE Energy Modeling conference in Atlanta, ASHRAE have launched the new Lowdown Showdown modeling challenge. ASHRAE have put together a selection of teams consisting of engineers, architects, designers and energy modelers, who will be coached by software vendors including IES, as they compete to design and model a net-zero energy building.

The challenge, which started in June, will run for 3 months on the lead up to the conference that kicks off at the end of September. Each team has been given a baseline building, which they must then work on together to create a design proposal that demonstrates net zero energy performance.

The teams will present their final design on October 1st at the ASHRAE Energy Modeling conference. The “LowDown Showdown” projects will be voted on by the conference attendees and will be judged on Energy Use Results, Creativity, Innovative Workflow and Teamwork.

I’m very excited to be working with the group that ASHRAE have assigned to the IES team. ASHRAE have given us a tricky challenge but I’m confident in the talent on the team, and that they’ll overcome and surpass expectations. Our team consists of the following members:

Ben Brannon (Arup)
Anna Osborne (Integral Group)
Greg Romanczyk (exp)
Cory Duggin (TLC Engineering for Architecture)
Shona O’Dea (DLR Group)
Megan Gunther (Affiliated Engineers, Inc.)
Scott West (Jacobs)
Andrea Costa (ACE Energy Concepts)

Even though the team is spread across a massive region, I’ve been lucky enough to meet them all before. On a personal level, they are all really wonderful people and it’s a pleasure to work with them. I’m looking forward to seeing their presentation. If you are too, we’ll see you in Atlanta on October 1st!

The conference is set to be a busy week for IES. Our team will be exhibiting our latest VE solutions and we’re hosting two pre show training workshops – HVAC Loads Sizing and Energy Modeling (http://ow.ly/QNYlk) and Advanced HVAC Modeling (http://ow.ly/QNYq3).

It doesn’t stop there. My IES colleagues Nathan and Megan will also be taking part in the following presentations, so try and check them out if you’re coming to Atlanta…

  • Climate Variation Sensitivity in Building Energy Simulation
    Wednesday, September 30, 1:45 PM-3:00 PM All About the Weather
  • Intelligent Simplification: Consequences of Grouping Floors with Identical Thermal Blocks
    Wednesday, September 30, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM Thermal Comfort
  • Quantifying Passive School Design Strategies for the 21st Century in 16 Climate Zones
    Friday, October 2, 8:15 AM-10:00 AM Parametric Modeling for Design

IES are also hosting a welcome reception for our customers on the Wednesday evening, September 30th – details coming soon.

IES TaP for LEED launched at Greenbuild

Posted: December 13, 2012 by , Category:IES TaP, LEED

The dust has just about settled after another hectic Greenbuild. If you were there in person or following online, it’s clear to see that this is the biggest and most anticipated green building conference of the year for a reason — it creates an energy and atmosphere that brings out the best in our industry.

If you were following our countdown to Greenbuild on twitter you’ll know we had a lot planned across the 3 day conference in San Francisco — presentations, workshops and manning our booth were just the tip of the iceberg! The most exciting part of our time at the show for our team was the launch of IES TaP for LEED 2009, taking us a step closer to automating as much of the LEED process as we can. There’s always a buzz in the company when we launch a new product and having the opportunity to present it exclusively to attendees at Greenbuild added to it.

IES TaP, our collaboration portal for managing Green Building Ratings Online, has been further developed to support LEED 2009. IES TaP for LEED enables project administrators to manage and track the process of gathering all submittal documentation from Charrette to Certification — allowing responsibility to be allocated to the project team for each individual documentation requirement. With seamless integration into LEED Online, LEED Online Forms, and the USGBC Online Credit Library, IES TaP for LEED enhances the management of the whole LEED workflow.

Additionally, it can be used in conjunction with our VE-Navigators for LEED and ASHRAE 90.1 (LEED Energy). These tools do analysis calculations and create the required documentation via LEED online.

Our aim with IES TaP for LEED is to substantially reduce the amount of time required by users to make a LEED submission, which will then hopefully have the knock on effect of encouraging them to use some of that time to make the building a little more sustainable.

After our 9th visit to Greenbuild, it’s fantastic to see IES and our peers in the industry continually pushing ourselves to bring products like IES TaP for LEED to the industry. I wonder what new IES software development I’ll be talking about after next year’s conference…

If you want to find out more about IES TaP for LEED and how you can use it to streamline, manage and automate the LEED submission process, check out our introduction movie on YouTube or sign up to one of our free webinars here.

LEEDing the way to NeoCon East 2012

Posted: October 17, 2012 by , Category:events, LEED

This week I’ve headed stateside for NeoCon East 2012 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Kicking off today and taking place over two days, NeoCon is the premier design exposition and conference for commercial interiors on the East Coast. I’ve been invited to the conference to take part in a seminar (taking place on Thursday 1-2pm) with the USGBC to demonstrate the benefits of LEED Automation and how LEED Automation Partner software can streamline the LEED workflow.

At IES we’ve been designing & selling LEED Automation tools for almost 4 years. Our tools are specifically targeted to be used by architects and engineers throughout the entire building design process and are used to aide integrated design. It’s an approach that sits well with the LEED methodology. For the NeoCon seminar I will be presenting our three software tools that specifically help LEED accredited professionals: IES VE-Navigator for LEED, IES VE-Navigator for ASHRAE 90.1 and IES TaP for LEED (launching next month at Greenbuild). These tools provide three levels of benefits to the LEED professional:

– Credit assessments straight from your BIM model (no need to recreate geometry or data)
– Credit interpretation — the software interprets the results of the analysis and crucially the LEED methodology and provides output tailored for submission to LEED Online
– LEED Design Team management — streamlining time spent chasing and organizing your design teams responsibilities and submission material

The first tool IES is offering as a LEED Automation Partner is the IES VE-Navigator for LEED. This tool, targeted at both architects and engineers, at any stage in the design process enables the assessment of a number of common sustainable analysis topics — Daylighting, Thermal comfort, Water, Renewables and Sustainable Sites — and crucially interprets the results output from the analysis tool, and creating reportage suitable for use within LEED letter templates. The tool can be used for the following versions of LEED: LEED NC V2.2/V3, LEED SchoolsV1/V3 and LEED Core and Shell V2/V3 and can be used for Daylighting, Comfort, Water, Renewables and soon Sustainable Sites credits.

The second software tool that aligns with the LEED Automation partner program is the IES VE-Navigator for ASHRAE 90.1. This tool is an EPACT Approved (since 2009) LEED Energy modelling tool for Ea Credit 1. The functionality and approach of the ASHRAE 90.1 Navigator follows the same concept as the LEED Navigator, in that it simplifies and streamlines the use of analysis tools to create efficient ways of assessing the energy credit.

You may be already familiar with the tools above but the final part of my presentation will be taking a look at a new one; IES Tap for LEED. Following on from a successful BREEAM version of this tool, IES TaP for LEED is a Project Management tool. IES TaP allows you to streamline and keep control of the project team and the material required for a LEED submission. It allows you to access and track your LEED projects and evidence documents in one secure online location, increasing the efficiency across the project team and cutting down on time spent chasing people up! The benefits of this tool are numerous and include two way communication between IES TaP & LEED Online, IES TaP directly populates rating system documentation requirements from USGBC online credit library (so the IES TaP system is always up to date), Score Card Functionality to easily calculate your certification goal and current credit rating, and automatic email notifications to keep the team updated.

So that’s where we are as LEED Automation partners. A lot has been done to assist you with your LEED projects, with more in the pipeline. I look forward to seeing some of you in Baltimore tomorrow at 1:00-2:00pm, for what should be an interesting insight into LEED Automation.

Remember to stay tuned for the launch of IES TaP for LEED at GreenBuild.

An update on Architecture 2030

Posted: February 27, 2012 by , Category:Architecture 2030

With the start of a new year, we’re that much closer to the year 2030. So the question arises, are we on track to meet the challenge of Architecture 2030?

Why is Architecture 2030 an important goal? In the U.S., commercial buildings are responsible for nearly half the greenhouse gas emissions. Rather than just talking about reducing this number, Architecture 2030 is committed to transforming the building industry, reducing climate change and energy consumption worldwide.

Check out this video for more on Architecture 2030, courtesy of PBS.

Last year, the organization took things a step further, launching the 2030 Challenge for Products. Celebrating one year since the challenge was launched, eco-structure checked in to see how things are going. The part of the interview follows.

Is there a set goal as to how many people you want signed on to any of the challenges?

We’ve never really approached our challenges in that way. Our goal is to raise awareness about the really big issues and get people talking and

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moving in a direction. As long as that’s happening, we focus on supporting it and making it better, but not necessarily on targeting a particular number.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. I think 2012 is the year to really move the needle in our industry. With the launch of ASHRAE’s new image — Shaping Tomorrow’s Built Environment Today — and this update

on Architecture 2030, sustainable design and the importance of utilizing quantifiable performance analysis to design the next generation of buildings is upon us.

Live from AHR Expo

Posted: January 24, 2012 by , Category:events

Well, we made it to Chicago. We weren’t going to let a little “winter storm warning” stop us from the biggest HVAC show of the year!

The energy has been great at the show so far — lots of excitement for the industry. Prior to the floor opening, there was big news from ASHRAE. The go-to source for standards and education for this industry, ASHRAE got a facelift, complete with a new logo and a new tagline…

Shaping Tomorrow’s Built Environment Today

Given our focus at IES this year, we are thrilled to see ASHRAE’s commitment to pushing the built environment in the 21st century. As ASHRAE President Ron Jarnagin stated, “integrated design is the cornerstone of sustainable buildings.” As the ‘Hub’ for sustainable design advancements, we look forward to joining ASHRAE in the conversation, promoting the importance of utilizing quantifiable performance information to design truly sustainable buildings.

We’ve also been following the conversation on Twitter. Kimberly Schwartz, managing editor of The ACHR News, tweeted a great picture (http://pic.twitter.com/6u2IsRSd) from the show floor yesterday afternoon, adding “…the aisles are still crowded! There’s a good buzz in the air.”

But the highlight of our day yesterday? Well, we’ll just let the image speak for itself…

See you on the show floor!


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