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Free Design Guidance for Small and Medium Office Buildings

24 May 2011 | Posted By Jeff Cole 3,017 views No Comment

The U.S. Department of Energy has released the Advanced Energy Design Guide for Small and Medium Office Buildings: Achieving 50% Energy Savings Toward a Net Zero Building—the first in a series of four new construction Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs). K-12 Schools, Medium to Big Box Retail Buildings, and Large Hospitals are to be published within the near future. (The schools guide is scheduled for September 2011 completion.)

The 50% AEDG series provides a practical approach to achieve 50% energy savings compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2004, the commercial building energy code still in use in many areas of the country (Oregon and Washington have recently moved to a more stringent 90.1-2007 baseline, but still short of AEDG performance levels). The guides help architects and engineers choose energy efficient designs for daylighting, building envelope assemblies, heating and cooling systems, and renewables, among other technologies. The guides also recommend equipment and reduce the time and expense otherwise required for designers to individually model energy use for specific high performance buildings.

In addition to design strategies and measures, the guide provides an excellent introduction to a broad set of project-related activities considered necessary for achieving 50% energy savings:

1. Obtain building owner buy-in

2. Assemble an experienced, innovative design team

3. Adopt an integrated design process

4. Consider a daylighting consultant

5. Consider energy modeling

6. Use building commissioning

7. Train building users and operations staff

8. Monitor the building

The AEDG introduces an integrated design process and integrated project delivery methodologies, including details by project phase. Integrated design strategies are presented by climate zone and are annotated for greater clarity. Appendix C provides a good introduction to Commissioning. Extensive references and resources are listed for further consideration by project teams. (And for those of you still trying to understand, let alone use, psychrometric charts, you’ll find the assistance that you need.)

A key enhancement incorporated into the new office AEDG is support for designers who wish to achieve the same level of energy savings without being fully constrained by prescriptive measures. Appendix D provides an introduction to Early Phase Energy Balancing Calculations by using various energy modeling software packages to explore the “Perimeter Zone Optimization Method” using whole building energy modeling tools to explore permutations on glazing, façade and shading configurations on a small piece of the perimeter zone.

Thanks to DOE and their partners: the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), American Institute of Architects (AIA), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), the Advanced Energy Design Guide for 50 % energy savings in Small and Medium Office Buildings is now available for free download.


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