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The Case of the Missing Energy Model

2 June 2016 | Posted By John Jennings 2,122 views No Comment

Energy modeling, performance modeling, energy performance simulation – whatever you call it, it is becoming an increasingly important and increasingly easy and affordable process for early stage design. This article in Architect explores reasons it isn’t being used widely and the successes where it has been used.

Posted on: May 31, 2016

The Case of the Missing Energy Model

Building performance is increasing in priority, and the tools to predict it are becoming more accessible. So why isn’t energy modeling used in every project?

Dave ChanceBrock Environmental Center, in Virginia Beach, Va., designed by SmithGroupJJR.

Carefully sited on an expansive parcel of land along the Chesapeake Bay, the Brock Environmental Center experiences the good and the bad of Virginia Beach, Va., weather—mild temperatures year-round, but clingy, perpetually high humidity. Yet the insulating value of the metal roof system topping the 10,000-square-foot structure is more akin to that of a building in the Northeast: R-50.

This design decision, says SmithGroupJJR vice president Greg Mella, FAIA, was determined through energy modeling, or performance modeling, as he calls it. “If we didn’t model, we would have used rule-of-thumb, and we never would have gone as high as we did,” the Washington, D.C.–based architect says. Completed in late 2014, the Brock Center was certified this month as a Living Building by the International Living Future Institute, one of about only 11 projects to date to achieve that recognition.