NET ZERO BUILDINGS • Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design
DAYLIGHTING: PARAMETRIC TOOLS ENVELOPE: FINDING REAL R-VALUE HVAC: THE HYDRONIC MOVEMENT
NET ZERO BUILDINGS July 2016 Volume 5, Number 3 Premier Issue: Jan. 2013
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NET ZERO BUILDINGS
A criterion that separates net zero projects from LEED certified facilities is verification of system performance. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Turn inside for some examples of how it’s being done and why.
| NZB: POWER | Babcock Ranch is a community rising from the hinterlands outside of Punta Gorda Florida, a solar-powered vision of what the future might hold, but one that harkens back to Main Street values. Th is 17,000 acre planned community hopes to attract 50,000 residents in 19,000 households, all powered by a 400-acre, 75MW solar array.
C I V I TAS Civitas /siv-i-tas/ noun Citizenship, especially as imparting shared responsibility, a common purpose, and sense of community.
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WHY DRI-DESIGN? Distinction isn’t just about standing apart from the crowd, but is more about elevating yourself above the crowd. Dri-Design’s nearly unlimited palette of design options, which includes materials, colors, finishes, textures, etc., make Dri-Design unique. What makes Dri-Design distinct, is that it provides this unique range of design options, in a system that installs and performs even better than it looks. A combination of form and function that is truly distinct. • No sealants, gaskets or butyl tape means no streaking and no maintenance for owners. • Not laminated or a composite material, so panels will never delaminate. • At Dri-Design, we have a strict policy of recycling and creating products that the world can live with. • Fully tested to exceed ASTM standards and the latest AAMA 508-07. • Available in a variety of materials, colors, ﬁnishes, dimensions and textures. Pittsburg State Univ. - Bicknell Family Center for the Arts - Pittsburg, KS Architect of Record: ACI BOLAND ARCHITECTS Design Architect: WILLIAM RAWN ASSOCIATES, Architects, Inc.
616.355.2970 | dri-design.com CIRCLE 23
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less energy consumption
powers smart solutions for big data Managing data center capacity and reliability is complex. Thatâ€™s why Inertech developed its innovative, modular data center cooling solution that enables expansion without compromising security or operations. Partnering with Danfoss for its energy-saving technologies, like oil-free variable speed compressors, variable frequency drives, controls and heat exchangers, enables Inertech to provide the worldâ€™s largest data centers with a flexible cooling solution that consumes less energy and water and costs less than a traditional chiller plant. Through innovative solutions, Danfoss and Inertech are changing the future of data center cooling and operations.
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To attain net zero in this office/distribution and data center, Delta needed to produce as much energy as it consumed. On the rooftops of the facility’s three structures is a 616KW solar system capable of producing over 1000 MWh annually.
project zero Delta Americas Headquarters Fremont, Calif. Having helped its customers save nearly 14.8 billion kwh of electricity, electronics and HVAC manufacturer Delta decided to really put its products to the test and use them to deliver a net zero facility. By John Mesenbrink ON THE COVER A new kind of community— one powered completely by solar—is rising in West Florida, an example of what towns and cities may look like in the not-too-distant future.
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06 Toward Zero Heed advice from the experts: Be more brave, get a good start and persevere. By Jim Crockett
48 End Point Collaboration is critical with any commercial project. Is it time for a net zero czar? By John Mesenbrink
P OW ER
The nation’s first solar-powered town is in the works. The 17,000-acre Babcock Ranch will be home to 50,000 residents, with move-in next year. By Chuck Ross
Solar Workforce EV Carports u Onsite Wind u Battery Storage u u
DAY L I G H T I N G
EN V ELO PE
Into Hot Water
Going Off the Wall
Color Me Radiant
In an effort to create sustainable buildings with net zero impact, the application and integration of the newest technology is essential. A major design discussion must be whether a product will be fully supported before it reaches its expected life.
Some alternative energy uses include the use of water as its medium, such as radiant heating/cooling or solar domestic hot water. It ultimately boils down to occupant comfort, though, and the industry needs a fundamental shift in thinking to get there.
Taking advantage of recommended tools for evaluating daylighting options early in the design process will aid design decisions. In order to get those much-needed accurate results, users need to get adequate experience in the simulation tools.
A well-planned and designed building can look great on paper, but the installation needs to be right and play nice with other façade components to get the total package correct. Energy modeling, and performance vs. prescriptive path, can help address this issue.
Installing radiant heating and cooling will significantly reduce the energy consumption associated with the movement of sensible energy. It’s time for a change in how we condition buildings, and a base reduction in consumption is key to reaching net zero.
LED Lighting Downlighting u Dimming u Color Tuning
Radiant Heating Solar Thermal u Tech Symposium u Snowmelt
Curtainwalls Glazing u Foam Insulation u Air Barriers
Skylights Circadian Metrics u Wireless Sensors u Daylight Analytics
By Kevin Willmorth
Onsite Energy at a Community Scale
By John Mesenbrink
By Barbara HorwitzBennett
By Alan Weis
NREL’s RSF Clemson’s Lee Hall u Chilled Beams u Smart Buildings By John Mesenbrink
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THE ANNUAL NZB AWARDS
VOL. 5, NO. 3
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Premier Issue: Jan. 2013
Premier Issue: Jan. 2013
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NET ZERO BUILDINGS Premier Issue: Jan. 2013
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Premier Issue: Jan. 2013
Premier Issue: Jan. 2013
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EDITORIAL E NVE LO PE
DAYL IGHT IN G
Barbara Horwitz-Bennett Contributing Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
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L IGHT ING
WAT E R
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One of the major criteria that differentiates net zero projects vs. say, a LEED-certified project, is that net zero certification typically requires verification of performance for at least a year’s worth of operation. In that spirit, for NZB’s inaugural awards program later this year, we’d like to highlight outstanding examples of product and technology in application, whether included as part of an efficient system or for more singular performance. In concert with our established “pillars,” we’ll be looking at technology applications within the categories of the building envelope, daylighting, lighting, HVAC, water/plumbing, and on-site power/renewables. These system-level entries do not necessarily have to be associated with a net zero project, but should be associated with a high-performance design. On the net zero level, we will also recognize a net zero project of the year, which may be a project already certified, or one under consideration. And to recognize the effort and work that goes into creating a net zero project we will also be issuing citations for:
BEST INTEGRATED PROCESS BEST ENERGY MODELING EFFORT BEST CONTINUOUS COMMISSIONING EFFORT
On a product level, we’d also like to recognize R+D and efforts to create products that will help further the net zero movement, in the following categories:
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MOST PROMISING NEW TECHNOLOGY BEST HYBRID PRODUCT PARTNERSHIP—Where two or more manufacturers have worked together to develop a single product that will better serve the part MOST PROMISING ELECTRONIC DESIGN TOOLS
Details and deadline information will be available soon. Questions about the program should be directed to Jim Crockett: firstname.lastname@example.org
Net Zero Buildings (NZB), Vol. 5, No. 3. Published five times per year by Construction Business Media. Publication Office: Construction Business Media, 579 First Bank Drive, Suite 220, Palatine, IL 60067; 847 359 6493; www.nzbmagazine.com. (Copyright © 2016 by Construction Business Media) A Publication of Construction Business Media
| TOWARD ZERØ |
Be Brave, Persevere and Look Around 2030 is closer than we think, but no reason to despair; to add believers, focus on the fact that we’re talking about a paradigm shift which one day will entirely change the way buildings are designed and constructed—even the way communities are created and planned.
At the AIA conference in Philadelphia, I attended a session on a net positive water and energy project. It was by two gentlemen from Bruner/Cott who both happened to be named Jason. At the conclusion of their presentation, someone asked them what they would do differently. Water Jason said “start a lot earlier.” Energy Jason said “be more brave.” The latter’s comment got me to thinking about another same-named pair, the Wright Bros. Wilber and Orville jumped on my radar with news of the second flight of Solar Impulse 2, a PV-powered aircraft, which made its first stop in Dayton, Ohio to honor the pair. This led me to pick up David McCullough’s bio of the brothers. The Wright’s trials and tribulations are fascinating, particurly in context of the entrepreneurial spirit.
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I get frustrated at times at the speed of the net zero/2030 movement. I realize I need to chill, and more importantly, get out and proselytize. In various encounters, I’ve found the term “net zero” is taken too literally. In context of doing something on a grand scale—like going to the moon—many feel if they don’t build rocket combustion systems, of what interest is their product to such deep thinkers and doers? This just makes me shake my head, as frankly, it took a lot of people doing many different things to send man to the moon. From my perch, everyone who wants to has a place at this table. McCullough’s book has been a salve for my spirit in hearing what the brothers endured, not the least of which was ridicule from many respected scientific minds who asked “what conceivable use could flying have?”
Beyond overcoming cynicism, what they achieved took a lot of hard work—hours of study of what had been written about aviation at the time, but also hours of studying birds and the wind, to the point that Kittyhawk’s residents thought they were looney, flapping their arms and bending their wrists imitating the movements of the local sea birds. After conducting their initial experiments— and this is critical: without mastering the movement of the flyer in air, its mechanical propulsion was meaningless (a not-soveiled allusion to the importance of envelope design)—the brothers found all the previous data and tables tabulated by prior aviation trailblazers was crap, and they had to start from scratch.
Their success was also a controls story—until they invented them, mostly through trial and error, it was difficult to fly the glider with any sustained results. The brothers, however, had an indomitable spirit, and would bounce back with a good night’s sleep. Good advice— and to the Jasons’ best practices, I would add “persevere.” Good things are happening, including a novel net-zero community in Florida. Continue on for that story.
DATA POINT: According to the New Buildings Institute, which tracks and certifies net zero buildings, the total verified net zero buildings to date as of 2015—39; Number of NZBs 2000-2009—17; Number of NZBs 2010 to 2013—20; “Emerging” (not verified, but on target, or in planning) net zero buildings—152.
Jim Crockett, Editorial Director email@example.com
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Delta Products Americas HQ Fremont, Calif. Market: Owner-occupied commercial Size: 180,000 sq. ft. Owner/User: Delta Products Americas Design Architect: J.J. Pan & Partners Architect on Record: Korth, Sunseri, Hagey (KSH) Architects Engineer: Alfa Tech Consulting Enterprises General Contractor: Bill Russell, director, Vance Brown Builders HVAC Contractor: ACCO Engineered Systems Plumbing Contractor: KDS Plumbing Civil Engineer: Kier & Wright Structural Engineer: Nishkian Menniger Landscape Architect: SWA Mechanical Engineer: Alphatech-Timmons
| PROJECT ZERÃ˜ |
DELTA PRODUCTS HQ
H AVI N G H E L PE D IT S C U STO M E R S SAV E N E A R LY 1 4 . 8 BI L L I O N K W H O F E L EC T R IC IT Y, T H E M A N U FAC T U R E R DECI DE D TO R E A L LY PU T IT S PRO D U C T S TO T H E T EST.
Curtainwall/Sunshades: Royal Glass Co. Inc. Metal Wall Panels: ALPOLIC by Mitsubishi Plastics Composites America Inc. Lighting: Delta Products Heat Pump Chillers: Daikin McQuay Air Handlers: Energy Labs Geothermal System: Terry Proffer, Major Heating and Geothermal Radiant Tubing/Mat: Uponor Solar Power: Delta Products Text: John Mesenbrink Photos: Delta
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Practicing What it Preaches The new Delta Americas headquarters, designed to meet LEED Platinum and net zero standards, features its own equipment that is incorporated into the design of the facility making it a showroom of products and technology. With a corporate mission statement “to provide innovative, clean, and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow, the management of Delta Americas’ very much wanted its new North American headquarters to make an iconic statement. “We maintain an internal directive to abide by the latest green standards, and with the new Fremont headquarters, our goal is to be net zero,” says M.S. Huang, president, Delta Americas. The nearly 180,000-sq.ft. facility, indeed, stands as a testament to that goal, as well as the company’s commitment to the Americas market. It incorporates many of the Taiwanese-based manufacturer’s own technologies to achieve an elite level of sustainability. Incorporating its most innovative products, Huang feels that the headquarters will become a model of green building, as well as a showcase for Delta’s building solutions.
Occupying the building for less than a year, the design team is still in the process of fine-tuning the various systems to make it to the goal of net zero. “We also need to educate our employees to be conscientious about energy conservation on a personal level. The goal can only be achieved with the cooperation of the entire organization and the support of management,” says Ruth Chao, General Affairs Manager, Delta. Team collaboration is what made this project possible. With architect J.J. Pan and Partners located in Taipei, the challenge of overcoming the vast distance and time difference was daunting. JJP, as the design architect, handled the initial design phases, but the building could only be realized with the expertise of the executive architect KSH and contractors, led by Vance Brown. “Several productive trips to the site and a lot of electronic communications eventually got the job done. Looking back now, working together toward the much larger goal of benefitting the environment was certainly the most rewarding part of the experience,” says David Lee, JJ Pan.
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TIMELINE September 2012: Groundbreaking in Fremont, Calif. 2013: Construction begins 2015: Construction completed October 2015: Dedication Ceremony Costs: Construction alone for the building was under $400 per sq. ft. From the very early design stages of the project, it was essential to coordinate with the entire team to ensure a successful outcome. The radiant slab is a perfect example of this effort—an underground geothermal loop system feeds into the central plant, which in turn pumps water through the slabs to help regulate the buildings temperature. This meant that very early on, site design needed to be coordinated with the geothermal engineers, landscape architect, civil engineer, and architect to ensure that the all of the elements of the site worked together. Inside the building, it was essential for the structural engineer to coordinate the radiant slab design with the mechanical engineer to achieve a successful integration into the structural design of the building. Because the slab on this project is filled with hundreds of yards of piping for the radiant heating/cooling, every penetration needed to be coordinated between the mechanical, plumbing, electrical and architectural teams.
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The buildings are strategically positioned to allow in as much natural lighting as possible, with the majority facing the north or south sides of the office. There are also skylights built in to allow for natural lighting. To ensure efficient operations and optimal use of the building’s energy resources, all of the electrical systems are built for peak performance, including an LED lighting system.
There is also a wireless streaming outdoor LED, which is Delta’s 70W and uses ZigBee mesh network that supports ON/OFF/DIN. It features an increased color-rendering index (CRI) at 7- compared to 24 CRI of conventional high pressure sodium, for producing correctlooking colors.
The warehouse uses high bay lighting that is 215W LED equivalent to 450W MH. This lighting saves 55% energy compared to convention 400W HID fixtures, with equivalent illumination levels on the ground. Its low-profile, one-piece housing design protects against elements including dust, water/moisture, salt fog and UV. Additionally, Delta’s high bay lighting features a 10kV surge protection standard that is 66% higher than regular 6kV commons.
THROWING SHADE The south elevation of the building features sunshades and the east/ west elevations have solid insulated materials with deep recessed windows.
To meet net zero criteria, the facility features a solar photovoltaic (PV) power system that can generate more than 1,000 MWh of electricity per year. The system uses Delta’s own inverter technology with 28 inverters that harness power and recirculate it back into the building from its 2,464 solar panels. The system also stores energy for peak demand. “Being in Fremont, next to the San Francisco bay, we are blessed to be in the climate that we are in. Our annual average temperature is between 70 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit with lots of sunny days. This mild climate definitely helps in reducing our energy usage, and the sunny days, of course, maximize our PV production,” says Chao. The buildings also have regenerative elevator systems in place that are capable of recapturing energy and converting it into reusable power, thereby saving as much as 55% in energy usage.
On the campus, there are 19 7kW AC chargers. Small, light, and smart in design, the Delta AC Charger features off-peak EV charging.
Delta Products are Core Components Delta manufactures many of the energy efficient and renewable energy products, which will be showcased in their new buildings. “We use Delta solar inverters as part of the building’s renewable energy scheme and use Delta LED lighting fixtures, lamps and controls throughout the project,” says Huang (pictured to the left). Delta motor drives and industrial automation products are used as part of the buildings HVAC equipment and for other infrastructure like elevators and pumps. “Delta energy efficient fans are used wherever needed throughout the building,” says Huang. “It is safe to say that every room in each building has some type of Delta energy efficient product will be used,” says Huang. Delta’s 70W LED luminaires are used throughout the parking lot. This solution offers greater than 50% savings in energy compared to 150W High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lighting.
“RENEWABLE PRODUCT SALES CONTINUE TO GROW HERE IN THE U.S. DELTA IS WELL POSITIONED TO HAVE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS AVAILABLE FOR THE MARKET TODAY AND IN THE FUTURE.”
PACKING POWER u The PV system is composed of 2,464 solar panels and generates more than 1,000 MWh of electricity per year. It uses Delta’s own inverter technology with 28 inverters that harness power and recirculate it back into the building.
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Geothermal Facts The main method of heating and cooling the building is a geothermal ground pump system. In total, there are 130,000 feet of 1 .25-in. pipe used outside the building.
VFDS VFDs enable energy savings by controlling geothermal, heat pumps, radiant system, chillers and air handling units, also used in the elevators.
To reduce the building’s energy requirements, the facility utilizes a geothermal heating and cooling system. This reduces HVAC energy consumption by 60% compared to traditional systems. It uses a ground source heat pump connected to a loop field of pipes that covers an area greater than five football playing fields. The ground source heat pump loops into the building’s bi-directional radiant floor and ceiling tubes embedded in the concrete slabs. In total, there is more than 92 miles of pipe circulating 12,000 gallons of water. This system accounts for roughly 30% of the building’s LEED design and is estimated to be one of the largest geothermal systems in the Bay Area.
DEEP DECISION Pipe is buried up to 30 ft. deep in an area equal to five football fields. In total, the 488,000 ft. of pipe contains 12,000 gallons of water for heating/cooling.
BIG IMPACT The HVAC system accounts for roughly 30% of the building’s LEED certification
A LOT OF PIPE If stretched in a linear fashion, the piping would reach over 92 miles, making it one of the largest installations in the Bay area.
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AUXILIARY COOLING Chilled beams are used in conference rooms and offices when the radiant system cannot respond quickly enough to maintain the temperature set point.
Delta’s variable frequency drives, which are used within systems that require motors, save the facility up to 50% in mechanical room energy usage. Furthermore, the building’s data center is more than 25% more efficient than a conventional data center. It utilizes Delta’s cooling system and an additional “smart cooling system” that employs the building’s chiller during daytime hours and converts to the use of cooler, evening air during the nighttime hours. Daytime cooling is provided by an electric chiller that uses chilled water from the geothermal pipes. Back-up cooling is available from a roof air chiller. At night, the system is able to use free cooling by filtering and circulating cool outdoor air. Mechanical contractor ACCO, in conjunction with Alfa Tech, designed the radiant heating and cooling layout using Uponor’s Radiant Rollout Mats for the campus. The radiant slabs are the primary cooling and heating systems in the campus buildings. As such, it was crucial for the design to ensure occupant comfort as well as the desired energy efficiencies.
HYBRID PLANT Back-up cooling is available from a roof air chiller. At night, the system is able to use free cooling by filtering and circulating cool outdoor air.
GREEN CULTURE The company has always embodied the principal fostered by its founder to improve the environment for future generations. Since 2005, all of its new buildings take this into account and are built to the latest green standards.
The headquarters also utilizes a 140,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system for irrigation, with uncollected rainwater being directed to a bioswale. The system is able to reduce municipal potable water consumption by 100%. The rainwater system works by collecting water from the buildingâ€™s rooftop.
This is then stored in the tank for use in watering the landscaping, which is comprised of native plants. These species were also selected with sustainability in mind as they are drought tolerant and require little water consumption to thrive.
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| PROJECT ZERO |
CAREFUL CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO THE NEIGHBORING WETLAND LOCATION IN THE DESIGN AND PLANNING. THE BUILDINGS AND SITE MEET ALL APPLICABLE ENVIRONMENTAL CODES AND WERE CAREFULLY CONSTRUCTED TO AVOID ANY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT.
LEED Certified The building was designed and constructed with careful consideration to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Platinum certification. “We expect to be fully certified within the next several months,” says Huang. Achieving net zero was another effort all together. “To attain net zero, we need to produce as much energy as we consume,” says Huang.
“On the rooftops of the three structures we have added a 616KW solar system capable of producing over 1000 MWh annually. We also have regenerative elevator systems capable of recapturing energy. Every other electrical system in the building is built for optimal performance,” he says. For example, the facility uses LED lighting and variable frequency motor drives used on systems with motors. “Delta is proud to manufacture most of these systems.”
Left: InSpire Wall Belvedere PenumWall ®
Color: Redwood Material: .032 Aluminum
PSE&G Kearny, NJ Architect: Anthony Garrett Bilow Garrett Group Architects and Planners, PC
InSpire Wall Solar Air Heating System Sunlight strikes the surface of the InSpire solar air heating panel, which is mounted a few inches from the building’s outer wall
Installer: Par-Troy Metals, LLC
Solar heated air is drawn through the panel, into the chamber between the panel and wall, and distributed through the building’s duct work
Lanced micro perforations
How it works
LOCAL CONNECTION u The 40 boulders surrounding the property are native to the area and are placed with respect to the other native landscaping elements to provide a serene natural environment.
CAMPUS AT GLANCE The new facility is built on a 15.5-acre campus and has 3 structures that total 175,000 sq. ft., consisting of an office building, warehouse and lobby space connecting the two.
NO SKIN FLINT The building skin is designed with a high-performance envelope incorporating R-30 insulation in the walls, R-45 insulation in the roof, and spectrally selective glazing.
The building skin is designed with a high performance envelope incorporating R-30 insulation in the walls, R-45 insulation in the roof, and spectrally selective glazing. These systems protect the building from heat gain and loss, thus reducing the load on the interior HVAC systems. All materials, from the coating of the asphalt to the rooftop membranes were specified with the intent of lowering heat island effect.
“The building is incredibly efficient and features very high value insulation in the walls and roof to help regulate the interior environment while reducing strain on the mechanical system,” says John Walter, architectural designer, Korth Sunseri Hagey (KSH) Architects.
The project features approximately 32,000sq.ft. of 4-mm. ALPOLIC aluminum composite material (ACM) in BSX Silver Metallic and PEX Pewter. The panels are used as an accent color for the building’s windows and offer a sleek finish, which reinforces the overall high-tech impression of the architectural design.
Surrounding the building is a high-performance curtainwall that is approximately 51,822 square-feet, which allows for natural lighting and ventilation. The roof uses R-45 insulation, while R-30 insulation is used in the walls. All glass used in the structure is insulated as well. In addition, the east and west walls are thicker to prevent heat loss.
“IN THE PAST 10 YEARS, WE HAVE COMMISSIONED THE CONSTRUCTION AND RENOVATION OF 21 GREEN BUILDINGS. WE HAVE GREEN PLANTS, OFFICES AND R&D CENTERS AROUND THE GLOBE.”
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| NZB: POWER | The nation's first solar-powered town is in the works. The 17,000acre Babcock Ranch in southwest Florida will be home to nearly 50,000 residents, as move-in is expected to begin early next year.
lorida real estate developers were hit hard by the housing-market collapse of 2008-2009, as home values plummeted and virtually all new construction ground to a halt. While many in the business faced bankruptcy, at least one company found a blessing in this economic curse. For Kitson & Partners, the development hiatus gave technology a chance to catch up with a vision for creating what it’s calling “the nation’s first solar-powered town,” the 17,000-acre Babcock Ranch in southwest Florida, where residents are expected to begin arriving early next year.
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Plans for the new town, which could eventually be home to 50,000 residents in 19,000 households, were first outlined in 2006, when Kitson & Partners acquired the property in a complex sale involving the family who’d owned the land for a century and the state of Florida. The deal, which also netted the state 74,000 acres of conservation land, was seen as a boon to environmental preservation efforts at a time when development pressures were especially fierce.
“At the time, Florida was growing extremely fast,” says Kitson & Partners spokesperson Lisa Hall. “We wanted to make this community extremely environmentally sensitive, to be a good neighbor. The commitment to sustainable design was there from the beginning.” But realizing that goal would have been more difficult—not to mention prohibitively expensive—in 2006 than it has become, now, a decade later.
Florida Power & Light (FPL), the local utility, just completed a 400acre, 75 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) array on land donated for the purpose by the developers, and all homes and commercial buildings will feature roofs engineered for possible panel installation, as owners may choose. The combined output, fed through an onsite substation, will produce more electricity over the course of a year than the town’s residents and businesses are anticipated to consume.
C I V I TAS Civitas /siv-i-tas/ noun ď ľ Citizenship, especially as imparting shared responsibility, a common purpose, and sense of community.
Babcock Ranch is a community rising from the hinterlands outside of Punta Gorda Florida, a solar-powered vision of what the future might hold, but one that harkens back to Main Street values. Th is 17,000 acre planned community hopes to attract 50,000 residents in 19,000 households, all powered by a 400-acre, 75MW solar array.
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POWER DISTRICT COOLING Phase One of construction for the downtown business center of Babcock Ranch has recently broken ground. To boost efficiency, the buildings here will be cooled by a central chiller plant in a district-cooling arrangement. CASE STUDY
BABCOCK RANCH Punta Gorda, Florida
The 18,000-acre community of Babcock Ranch is expected to be home to 50,000 residents, once it’s completed. Developers Kitson & Partners balanced desires for sustainability and economic diversity in their plans, with a mix of single-family, townhome and condominium residences to be priced between $200,000 and $900,000. Approximately 50% of land in the development will be devoted to greenspace.
Kitson & Partners CEO Syd Kitson meets with local leaders in announcing the development.
PUNTA GORDA, FLA.
“We had a commitment to solar and renewable energy, but we didn’t know what that meant,” Hall says. The company’s initial solar efforts hit roadblocks posed by both equipment costs and utility regulators. Then all development stalled in 2009, as Kitson decided to wait out the recession. When work restarted in 2015, a changed renewable-energy market made the earlier vision of a renewably powered town much easier to achieve. “The cost of solar panels has gone down and the efficiency has gone up,” Hall says, of the most obvious evolution in PV economics during the construction halt. In fact, FPL now is building two other 75 MW fields elsewhere in the region, taking advantage of bulk-buying benefits to realize even greater savings.
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SOLAR COSTS IN 2020 According to a new report by GTM Research the cost of fixed-tilt ground mount PV will be under a dollar.
Power Surplus Delivery Kitson & Partners chairman and CEO Syd Kitson donated 450 acres of the Babcock Ranch property to help create the 75 MW solar array that will supply electricity directly to residents and businesses within the development. Surplus power will be delivered to Florida Power & Light, which constructed and owns the installation. The community will depend on grid-supplied natural gas generation when the sun isn’t shining.
SOLAR SUPPLY The total solar production is anticipated to exceed the electricity consumption over the course of a year.
Green In More Ways Than One Kitson & Partners have addressed a range of sustainability issues. In addition to the 75 megawatt solar array, the development also will include:
EXPANSIVE GREENSPACE Half of the community’s 18,000 acres will be devoted to greenways, parks and lakes.
WATER MANAGEMENT An independent water and wastewater utility will utilize graywater for all outdoor irrigation. The development is building its own water and wastewater utility and incorporating a graywater system for outdoor irrigation. Landscaping will be based on native species.
Local utility provider Florida Power & Light (FPL) is going to build two other 75 MW fields in the region. The community will rely on FPL's supplies during post-sunset hours.
Such advantages of scale are one reason it can make sense to look at net-zero concepts at a community level, rather than building-by-building. Additionally, these plans can enable optimal placement of renewable resources where it makes the most sense for both maximizing electricity production and supporting the local utility’s distribution system, and it reduces the redundancy of multiple, individual inverters and wiring systems. The U. S. Dept. of Energy recently recognized zero energy communities in its “Common Definition for Zero Energy Buildings,” (ZEBs) along with zero energy campuses and zero energy portfolios, “to expand the reach of the ZEB concept, provide the collective generation of renewables and account for different energy needs of buildings.”
Advances on the demand side of the Babcock Ranch energy equation also will help minimize electricity consumption onsite and maximize how much excess energy the community can export to the larger grid. Notably, every home and business will have fiber-optic Internet connections, making smart-home controls (such as remotely accessible thermostats standard in the residences) easy to implement. The homes also all will be designed to Florida Green Homes Certification standards. And the central business district, with the first phase now under construction, will feature a district cooling system sized for future expansion. 20
DISTRIBUTED ENERGY The community’s business district will incorporate a central chiller plant for district cooling.
RADICAL TRANSIT A fleet of autonomous electric vehicles will provide on-demand transportation.
NET ZERO BUILDINGS | 07.16 | 19
Recruiting Vets for the Solar Workforce
THE COMBINED OUTPUT WILL PRODUCE MORE ELECTRICITY THAN THE TOWN’S INHABITANTS ARE ANTICIPATED TO CONSUME OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR.
While energy storage now is being considered, it is not in developers’ Phase One plans. As a result, the community will depend on FPL’s supplies during post-sunset hours when the onsite solar system isn’t operating. However, the company still anticipates the resulting combination of solar and natural gas generation will be “the greenest in the country,” according to promotional materials.
Babcock Ranch homeowners who want to add solar to their rooftops might be working with a recent military veteran, thanks to expansion of a nationwide effort to bring solar training to military personnel approaching their service-separation date. Eglin Air Force Base in Valparaiso, Fla., is one of five bases recently added to the Solar Ready Vets training program, thanks to funding from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.
fied Energy Practitioners’ Entry Level Exam as their classes wrap up, providing them with widely recognized certification. After graduation, service
Launched as a pilot effort at five bases in 2014, the program has graduated 250 trainees from the four- to sixweek hands-on classes. Students take the North American Board of Certi-
members interview with national and local solar companies for a variety of sales, installation and inspection opportunities.
Solar Ready Vets Programs
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high performance translucent building systems
SOLAR CARPORTS How can auto makers stay relevant? A pair of European car makers unveiled solar-powered carports to further the sustainable image of their own electric vehicles.
Automakers Driving Stylish EV Carport Development
IN THE NEWS
Whirpool to Remain Bullish on Onsite Wind Whirlpool Corp. is becoming a corporate leader in onsite wind with its announcement that it will be installing four more 1.5 megawatt turbines—three at its Marion, Ohio plant and one at its Ottawa, Ohio plant—within the next year. The company began operating a two-turbine installation in Findlay, Ohio in January.
The three Marion units are expected to offset 19% of that facility’s demand, while 34% of demand at the Ottawa plant will be offset by its new turbine. Like the previous installation, the
new turbines will be financed through One Energy Wind, with Whirlpool purchasing electricity at a flat rate through the course of the agreement.
DECREASED DEMAND Three Marion, Ohio units will offset 19% of demand while the Ottawa, Ohio plant will be offset 34%.
ALL-IN-ONE Grid-independent living could be getting easier with the introduction of the Powerstation 247, which brings together battery-based storage, along with inverters and all the wiring needed to directly use and store electricity produced by onsite solar panels. Available in 5 kW, 10 kW and 15 kW sizes (all with the same 17.25 kWh of storage capacity), the units are being marketed as a single-source alternative to Tesla’s Powerwall battery (which does not include inverters or wiring). Powerstation 247 www.powerstation.com CIRCLE 307
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Auto manufacturers are beginning to take a fresh look at their business models, exploring new ways to stay relevant in these days when ride-sharing services are on the rise and multi-vehicle families could be on the wane. Two European companies recently unveiled solar-powered carports to further the sustainable image of their own electric vehicles. BMW’s offering, developed by DesignworksUSA, was just launched in tandem with the company’s new i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Though more a concept than actual product, it bears a strong resemblance to a carport BMW recently developed for the South African market. Peugeot’s new Parasol carport is designed for commercial settings, with a dramatic lattice structure accommodating 88 solar panels to power up to seven vehicles, along with onboard lithium-ion batteries. Multiple Parasol structures can be networked to share the electricity they generate with each other.
photos: Phil Grayson
Design Prototyping & Testing Centre (DPTC) University of Sheffield, UK | Bond Bryan Architects
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| NZB: LIGHTING |
Defining Sustainability in Lighting In the effort to create sustainable buildings with net zero impact, application of new technology is essential. LED is among those technologies, but with its rapid rate of change, a major consideration must factor as to whether a product will be fully supported before it reaches its expected life.
Kevin Willmorth is a lighting professional who has emphasized lighting conservation for more then 30 years. He helped create Architectural SSL magazine and remains its editor. He is also the owner of Lumenique, a consultancy focused on deploying SSL products.
uildings are assemblies comprised of long lived components—electrical distribution, structures, facades; mid-term components—lighting, controls, HVAC, etc; and short-term components—FF&E, paint and tenant-specific items. Lighting, to date, has never been part of the long-term infrastructure of buildings—neither are lighting controls, even if they have been treated as such through neglect and inattention. Conventional lighting technologies, such as T8 fluorescent troffers—plenty of which we still see as the main illumination source in many “green,” even net zero projects--were not specifically designed to last indefinitely; they are just simple systems that reflect the state of technology at the time they were produced. Modern sustainable designs, however, include recognition that buildings are more than assemblies of parts, they are living organisms that must be refreshed and refurbished over time to remain viable. For lighting, this means recognizing that there are no current technologies that will remain viable indefinitely, demanding that any systems installed now fully justify their existence before being replaced in the future.
effective, smaller, lighter, thinner, and easier to use, creating the conundrum of when to adopt. With that said, it helps to understand the nature of lighting fixtures before making a final decision. Historic conventional luminaires are comprised of three primary components: A fixture housing with associated lens, lamps, and electrical components. Over a fixture’s lifetime, several lamps will be installed to replace failed components, with a few ballasts, and an occasional socket as needed. So long as the components are available, the luminaire can be kept in service indefinitely. Further, as newer lamp and ballast components become available, older fixtures can be retrofitted in place, extending their life and increasing their performance, albeit at the cost of efficiency and quality.
Obviously, in the effort to build sustainable buildings with net zero impact, application of the latest new technologies, most notably LED, or solid-state lighting, is essential to success. The issue—per the above notion that the most sustainable systems are those that don’t need to be replaced with frequency—is that each new generation of solid-state lighting delivers improvements in efficacy and quality, while controls become more sophisticated and far reaching, and the rate of change is accelerating. Furthermore, products are becoming more complex, more
22 | 07.16 | NET ZERO BUILDINGS
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The central concept of the architect was to unify and connect the old and new parts of the campus by creating a “glowing box”—the main Forum– interpenetrated by ‘pegs”—the spaces and structures that lead off it. Given the large volume and open flowing nature of the architecture, it was key to the usability of the space that the lighting design, by Speirs + Major, be grounded with a sense of human scale. Light is positioned to reveal details, and is located at multiple levels to make the space seem more accessible and feel more comfortable.
Changes in color temperature mark the difference between public (social) spaces vs. private (teaching) spaces. Within the teaching, library and office spaces, a cooler neutral color temperature creates a fresh, calm and diffuse environment for study.
Where appropriate, the design breaks away from the rigidity of grid like arrays of downlights, offering instead playful layouts that reflect the social nature of spaces. Social spaces are lit with a warmer color temperature for a welcoming ambiance. Point and direct sources help to reveal the textures of the architectural materials used, creating sparkle, contrast and modeling. A comprehensive control system provides flexibility to the overall scheme.
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With LED or solid-state lighting, the light source and luminaire are generally integrated assemblies. This means that when the light source or driver components fail to perform within acceptable specification, the entire luminaire is replaced as a unit. The rationale behind this is founded on the assumption that the solid-state product will provide very long service life (15+ years), at which time replacement products will have improved enough to justify the cost of complete replacement. This same thinking is applied to lighting controls, where future new technologies will be so compelling that full replacement will be accepted, negating the need to consider very long-term support.
PLUG AND PLAY Lightify is a simple, but easy system to introduce wireless color tuning and dimming into any space with a variety of LED sources. Sylvania www.sylvania.com CIRCLE 306
One of the most difficult walls to breach for new technology is the persistence of less complex precedent systems operated past their viable technological life. The T12 fluorescent lamp and magnetic ballast is one example, as is the incandescent lamp, phase-cut dimming, breaker box switching, and relay-based time and photocell controls. Soon, the CFL lamp, HID, and T8/T5 lamps will joint this list. None of these deliver solutions as efficient as fully integrated solidstate product. Yet those involved with lighting decisions for next zero projects need to understand SSL does not necessarily address this issue. In fact, the more finite life of integrated products creates a condition where continuous improvement is applied to all buildings, where original luminaires are obsoleted and replaced by newer technologies. This creates upward pressure on lighting system producers to justify replacement costs through improved performance, extended service life, and lower cost; for building owners, the deciding factor is the finite capacity to no longer keep obsolete systems in service. This supports escalation of performance in all buildings, old and new, that does not exist with a conventional luminaire approach.
The concern for lighting decision makers is that integrated LED products remain supported long enough to deliver to the building owner full benefit before requiring replacement. For this reason, selecting products based on project life, must include risk of a product being discontinued too soon before its life cycle. For this reason, even the most prudent decision maker is well advised to select the most advanced products available from reliable sources. A second approach involves selecting products that are modular in nature, with the light source components being the replaceable element vs the entire luminaire, and system with components that can be sourced from more than one provider. For luminaires, this would include favoring products utilizing Zhaga-compliant light sources, driven by drivers that utilize a common footprint, drive current, and voltage characteristic. For controls, selecting open standards, such as Zigbee or Enocean offer standardization that can be provided by alternative sources should the original product become unavailable.
A third option is a somewhat hybrid approach. For at least the very near term, utilizing conventional products with retrofit solid-state lighting components may provide a transition from one state of technology to the next. This includes use of well-established 0–10V or phase-cut dimming for control. Assuming that local codes allow it, this interim solution will be viable for at least a few more years. However, as the cost and performance of integrated luminaires and advanced controls improve, it is likely that any retrofitted conventional luminaire will be replaced sooner than fully integrated luminaires, negating any on-paper initial savings realized short term. 26
SELECTING PRODUCTS BASED ON PROJECT LIFE, MUST INCLUDE RISK OF A PRODUCT BEING DISCONTINUED TOO SOON BEFORE ITS LIFE CYCLE IS COMPLETE.
SMOOTH DIMMING Offering high density and fully configurable dimming for all lighting technologies, the LCAP series panels are available in four options to meet any space where sophisticated sequences are required. The panels allow the dimming curve for each channel to be independently customized for starting and stopping points as well as linearity. LeGrand www.legrand.com CIRCLE 305
Disk-shaped, glareless downlights are wired together in small groups, allowing the electric light to dim and reduce as daylight moves through the space. Task lighting is integrated into custom-designed furniture throughout the space; localized spotlights and pendants supplement ambient light.
Daylight is diffused from toplights creating a comfortable space with minimal energy use. If needed, daylight sensors activate pendant uplights and manual task lighting supplement the area for 400 lux on the table tops.
GIFU MEDIA COSMOS Gifu, Japan
“Minna no Mori” Media Cosmos in Gifu, Japan, is an open-floor, openshelf reading room with large, suspended, umbrella-shaped “globes” that gently divide the space, incorporate daylight, and circulate air. The lighting design concept from Lighting Planners Assocs., is aimed to create the illusion of being in a forest, connecting the visitor to nature through the lighting environment, while reducing primary consumption of energy by 50%. The design won the team IALD’s Sustainability Award at their annual awards at Lightfair in San Diego.
NET ZERO BUILDINGS | 07.16 | 25
SOURCE of Future Lighting Wisdom?
FOR BUILDING OWNERS, THE DECIDING FACTOR IS THE FINITE CAPACITY TO NO LONGER KEEP OBSOLETE SYSTEMS IN SERVICE.
A recent winner in Eaton’s annual SOURCE Awards in the student design category, Bibliothek, by Emily Gross, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, is a library environment for collegiate art and design students. Its lighting design is focused on shadow play and movement with lighting levels that are fluid and adapt based on the exposure of natural daylight by using photo sensors to provide comfortable luminance levels at all hours of the day. The expansive windows on the north wall maximize diffused natural daylight, support sustainable lighting design practice and aid in increasing productivity.
In the end, specifying LED luminaires is somewhat like buying a new computer—the longer one waits, the better—and sometimes cheaper—the product will be, but that comes at personal cost of productivity and functionality. Given advances in SSL technology, particularly for color-tuning and other human-centric lighting benefits, decisions to pursue SSL technology also have benefits that are more in tune with philosophies driving decisions to pursue net zero. That said, equal care should be given to product selection that also meets the long-term vision and goals of the project.
p Strategically placed linear recessed direct downlights create shadow variability throughout the day; clear sight lines and open bookshelves allow visual security and a feeling of transparency.
t DVB BANK The conference rooms of DVB Bank, in Frankfurt, Germany, are awash with details from a holistic design dominated by glass and a careful blend of white and grey tones. Lighting integrates seamlessly.
EZ INSTALL The OneFrame downlight features bar hangers that pivot for either horizontal or vertical mounting and easily locks horizontally into place with just a screwdriver. It’s equipped with a floating height module to ensure perfect alignment even with varied ceiling thicknesses up to two inches. The fixture captured the Technical Innovation Award at Lightfair in San Diego. DMF www.dmflighting.com CIRCLE 304
ELEGANT Zumtobel’s MIREL evolution system is at the heart of the purist design.
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VERSATILE LED modules make it possible to create a series of different-sized luminaires.
FLEXIBLE The modular design guarantees flexibility for a variety of functions.
LIGHTING TASK LIGHTING The 18-in. Edge-Lit LED Undercabinet source, part of the wireless Lightify family, is a dimmable, 3000K source that consumes only 7 watts, but yields 290 lumens; on/off by touch. Sylvania www.sylvania.com CIRCLE 302 t MINIMAL The 4000K LED columns provided an aesthetic that matched the arena’s “festival” feel. Landscape architects Project Paysage selected sister product-line bollards to branch off the main passage.
POLE-CENTRIC Quebec City’s Videotron Centre, built to attract an NHL team back to the province, includes a landscape illuminated by 12-ft. Lumenarea Esplanade light columns. This installation features a two-sided option which allowed additional illumination of the center pathway without a need for additional columns. Lumenpulse www.lumenpulse.com CIRCLE 303
ANOTHER PERSON’S DARK SPACE IS OUR BLANK CANVAS. AN IALD PROFESSIONAL LIGHTING DESIGNER SEES THE POSSIBILITIES IN EVERY ENVIRONMENT. LEARN HOW AN IALD LIGHTING DESIGNER CAN TURN YOUR VISION INTO REALITY. VISIT IALD.ORG AND CLICK ON "FIND A LIGHTING DESIGNER" TO REFINE YOUR SEARCH.
PUBLIC PASSAGE | MUNICH, GERMANY | LIGHTING DESIGN, PFARRÉ LIGHTING DESIGN | © ANDREAS J. FOCKE
| NZB: WATER |
Getting Into Hot Water When talking heating and cooling, the industry needs to change its message to overall occupant comfort. With careful design and installation, the use of water as a medium in heating and domestic hot water applications—such as radiant heating and solar thermal—is means to deliver net zero.
John Mesenbrink has been covering the building and construction industry for more than 15 years, focusing his efforts on the plumbing and HVAC industries—including the launch of his website, which focuses on the installation side of mechanical systems.
ntegration of systems is a key component in delivering net zero buildings. Sometimes it requires maximizing synergies well beyond the norm, and conceivably, crossing over to other MEP systems, such as power generation or HVAC. Water role’s in a building, beyond carefully stewarded plumbing, can also serve buildings in many advantageous ways. Take radiant heating and cooling as an alternative HVAC choice—it’s one way to incorporate more passive plans. “The largest parasitic cost of operation in a commercial setting is the use of large air handlers to move sensible and latent energy around the building ,” says Mark Eatherton, executive director, Radiant Professionals Alliance (RPA). Following is a look at such strategies. In fact, this piece serves as a primer for hydronic integration, with “in application” coverage coming later in the HVAC pillar. But back to the subject of moving heating and cooling energy—Eatherton, not surprisingly, argues hydronic-based heating and cooling significantly reduces such energy consumption, while improving occupant comfort.
In fact, water-based mechanical is completely compatible with all alternative energy resources, and will be directly compatible with future components such as hydrogen fuel cells. That said, designers embracing the idea better be prepared to overcome consumer conditioning not necessarily compatible with net zero objectives. Radiant technology has become associated with warm floors, but to do so requires installers to place a foot of pipe per sq. ft. of conditioned space—not an efficient system by any means. Using ceilings and walls, says Eatherton, allow panels to do a better job of moving energy—that plus the fact that most commercial occupants aren’t typically walking around bare foot. “Our industry must switch the hook,” says Eatheron. It needs to be about delivering overall radiant comfort utilizing any surface available.
THE WATER WAY
Hydronics have a major place in many net zero projects given its ability to move energy more efficiently.
In such cases, he prefers ceiling-based radiant solutions as more BTUH/sq. ft. can be generated because heating or cooling energy does not have to deal with human contact. Additionally, the energy required for fresh air ventilation and its latent properties is significantly reduced at that point. It also allows designers to target the occupant comfort, and not just “building” comfort. “In order to truly reduce basic energy consumption, all good conservation efforts must be achieved first. Hydronics is known as the most efficient means of transporting thermal energy from point A to point B. You name it, hydronics can do it,” says Eatherton.
28 | 07.16 | NET ZERO BUILDINGS
Hood River Middle School | Hood River, OR
2016 Catalyzing the future of zero net energy buildings
October 12â€“14, 2016 | Denver, CO Join leading designers, owners, operators, commercial real estate professionals, policymakers and others to share perspectives on the growth of zero net energy (ZNE), discuss the policies driving new projects, engage in best practices for successful projects and collaborate on opportunities for ZNE to transform the built environment.
The Getting to Zero Forum brought together a wonderful mix of passionate, knowledgeable people from a broad diversity of sectors, though with a common purpose. The feeling of urgency and also of positive momentum was infectious . . . I learned more and made better connections than at other green building conferences. I will definitely participate in a future GTZ conference. â€”James Gray-Donald, VP Sustainability, Bentall Kennedy
Program details now available at gettingtozeroforum.org MOUN KY
SPONSORSHIPS ARE AVAILABLE For more information: Stacey Hobart, firstname.lastname@example.org or Tim Shea, email@example.com CIRCLE 28
The closed-loop solar thermal array produces 540,000 BTUs an hour. The energy takes a circuitous journey before reaching water fixtures throughout the building. The PV and solar thermal rooftop installations provide MassMutual with a combined savings of about $100,000 a year.
MASSACHUSETTS MUTUAL LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY HQ. Springfield, Mass.
The 1.3 million-sq.-ft. headquarters features two rooftop solar arrays with enough “wow” factor to impress solar connoisseurs. There are 96, 4 × 10-ft. SS-40 solar thermal collectors manufactured by Solar Skies, and a 528-panel PV array helping to offset some of the facility’s energy needs. Installed near the solar thermal panels, the REC Solar photovoltaic array provides the facility with 111 kW of electric energy generation. A set of Taco solar collector pumps circulates water from the solar array through two brazed plate, 330 MBH heat exchangers. The solar installation operates at a 15 degree ∆T, with a maximum solar loop temp of 220 degrees, and a target temp of 205 in the hot water tanks. Given the extreme pressure changes that solar loops can endure, a Taco expansion tank was used for system protection. Within the potable water system, a pair of Taco domestic water pumps circulates water through the brazed plate heat exchangers into four, 500-gallon storage tanks. These ‘solar target’ tanks are connected to another 1,000 gallons of existing hot water storage. The reserve is used to supply hot water to all potable water points-of-use in the building.
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“We don’t have to cover every square foot of available surface, and we can deliver an excellent overall radiant experience, in either heating or cooling mode with less money expended.”
By having radiant ceilings near the exterior partitions, the cold sucking effects or hot radiating glass effects of the windows are negated by the radiant panels.
It has been proven numerous times that radiant cooling can and is being done. It requires the use of off shelf technology known as DOAS to control the humidity coming in from the outside, as well as controlling the internally generated humidity.
“Hopefully someday, radiant windows will become the norm, and the occupant comfort factor and energy consumption factors associated with keeping people comfortable during the heating season will be even better yet,” says Eatherton.
SOLAR CAN BE USED TO OFFSET HEATING LOADS ON BUILDINGS. WITH CAREFUL DESIGN AND INSTALLATION, IT IS POSSIBLE TO ATTAIN NET ZERO.
Solar Domestic Hot Water Water, via solar thermal heating, can also be employed to offset both domestic hot water and heating loads on buildings. A great example of where such a strategy has been incorporated
IN THE NEWS
IETS Success The International Emerging Technology Symposium (IETS) recently gathered 30 respected experts in the fields of water, energy efficiency, plumbing and civil engineering, and microbiology to discuss their areas of expertise.
The topics included Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing: The prime directive of the plumbing industry is to design and install safe water supply and sanitary systems for our nation’s buildings. However, water scarcity resulting from persistent drought and declining water
quality are causing problems that the plumbing engineers, building and facility managers, health officials, and even the public-at-large need to be aware of in order to mitigate the potential for opportunistic pathogens to thrive in premise plumbing and infect building occupants.
is the Drake Landing Solar Community (DLSC) project in Western Canada. DLSC is the first community of its kind in North America and modeled after a proven European technology known as “solar seasonal storage.” Each home is heated by a system designed to store an abundance of solar energy underground during the summer months and redistribute the energy throughout the winter. This innovative technology fulfills 90% of each home’s space heating requirements from solar energy, which results in less dependency on increasingly limited fossil fuels. DLSC is the largest subdivision of single-family homes in Canada meeting the R-2000 standard— an initiative of project developer, Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Office of Energy Efficiency, to promote the use of cost-effective, energy-efficient building practices and technologies. According to Bob Rohr, a training and education manager with Caleffi, a manufacturer of components for solar-powered HVAC equipment, DLSC has proven that with careful design and installation, it is possible to attain such net zero results with solar thermal. In fact, he says, the results
“OUR INDUSTRY MUST SWITCH THE HOOK TO THE DELIVERY OF ‘OVERALL RADIANT COMFORT,’ UTILIZING ANY SURFACE AVAILABLE.” should be predictable. “With an appropriate design and simulation programs, the viability of the proposed design can be modeled and predicted,” says Rohr. “This would answer both the energy contribution, as well as the economics of the proposed design—see RET Screen, T-Sol and F-Chart software programs.”
This first-of-its-kind SHC roadmap, developed by a task force made up of SEIA-member companies and BEAM Engineering, lays the groundwork—as well as makes a compelling case—for driving installed SHC capacity from 9 GW thermal to 300 GW thermal by 2050.
Even if financial incentives are not ther, RPA’s Eatherton is optimistic water’s time has come. “Times are changing, and the concept of excellent overall radiant comfort, regardless of the emitting/absorbing surface are finally bubbling to the surface.”
The installation included radiant floor heating, snowmelt, improved domestic hot water and a year-round hot tub.
RED SKY Eagle County, Colo.
For Mustafa Aydin, president of American Plumbing Heating & Solar in Edwards, Colo., his client was gutting and rehabilitating a 7,000-sq.-ft. home in the Red Sky neighborhood of Edwards, redesigning its infrastructure to include radiant floor heating,
The challenge was to create a system that would integrate solar thermal with condensing boilers to serve all four loads seamlessly and efficiently.
3,000 sq. ft. of outdoor snowmelt, improved domestic hot water, and the comfort of a 1,500-gallon hot tub. The design relied on a TSOL, a solar thermal computer simulation
program that analyzes load within the context of the location’s climate and weather. The resulting analysis formed the basis for design that includes nine, 4’ x 8’ solar panels on the roof, and two Viessmann Vitodens
200 wall-mounted condensing boilers. The solar system ties into two 120-gallon single-coil stainless steel tanks—one for DHW, the other to preheat water for the boilers—reducing their load.
Solar Thermal Increases Today, more than 30,000 solar heating and cooling systems (SHC) are being installed annually in the United States, employing more than 5,000 American workers.
Incentives and rebate programs are available, but sporadic. Utilities, too, often help incentivize renewable energy programs including solar thermal.
In Eagle County, Colorado, authorities not only promote energy sustainability, but insist on it. Residential projects that incorporate more than 200 sq. ft. of snowmelt must mitigate the load with an offset that draws upon a renewable energy source.
IN THE NEWS
As a new report spells out, in order to reach that target, it will require the installation of 100 million SHC panels over the next 34 years. Admittedly, that’s a lot of solar panels. But the payoff would be enormous: stiff competition and economies of scale would drive down system prices nationwide; more than 50,000 good-paying American jobs would be created across the United States; and there would be an estimated $61 billion in annual energy savings. This dramatic expansion of SHC systems will allow America to generate nearly 8% of its total heating and cooling needs through clean solar energy, displacing an estimated 226 million tons of carbon emissions annually. That’s the equivalent of mothballing 64 coal plants.
NET ZERO BUILDINGS | 07.16 | 31
| NZB: DAYLIGHTING |
Leveraging Simulation Taking advantage of recommended parametric tools for evaluating daylighting options early in the design process will obviously only help inform designs. But designers need to build adequate experience in the simulations tools that are necessary to get accurate results.
Barbara HorwitzBennett has been reporting on the architectural industry for the past 15 years. She covers glazing and daylighting for Architectural Products, and in 2011 contributed to an important industry white paper on net-zero buildings.
nstead of evaluating the lighting levels and performance of a space once it’s already been designed or even built, a better ideal, say experts in the discipline, is analyzing the building early in the design phase so that performance metrics can help inform the developing design. Covering a number of daylighting-related topics in a recent Illuminating Engineering Society New York chapter presentation, this was the main take-away posited by presenter Elliot J. Glassman, AIA, NCARB, LEED BD+C, building performance specialist with WSP Built Ecology, New York. Addressed in more technical detail in his 2015 Conference of International Building Performance Simulation Assn. (IBPSA) paper, “Multi-Objective Parametric Studies of Exterior Shading during Early Design Phases,” Glassman shares a relevant case study to illustrate how parametric design tools can be applied to perform a more integrated analysis by combining multiple simulations into a single software environment.
While software like Autodesk’s Lighting Analysis for Revit is also a good evaluation tool—performed within the Revit model so that daylight analysis is tracked parametrically—it is not, says Glassman, as customizable as Grasshopper. Autodesk, he notes, is in the process of developing a more flexible tool called Dynamo, which is expected to function much like Grasshopper, but in the interim, he advises looking to plugins like Honeybee and DIVA for Rhino and Grasshopper which he feels offer more seamless integration between the design process and performance evaluation. “They start to inform one another, particularly when utilizing them early in the design process,” says Glassman.
As for how to accomplish this, at the top of his daylighting software list is DIVA for Rhino, as well as Grasshopper, a powerful simulation tool, offering daylighting evaluation within two layers: 3D building geometry and parametric modeling. Developed by highly respected daylight expert, Christoph Reinhart, currently an associate professor of architecture at MIT—who Glassman studied under as a Harvard graduate student— DIVA is a plug-in which enables users to look through many design options quickly while analyzing climactic influences, such as sun position, glare, direct sun and solar radiation. “It also helps us visualize assorted performance options which can lead to design solutions,” says Glassman.
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SMART SOLAR The battery-less MechNet Wireless Daylight Sensor monitors light coming through the curtainwall and, via EnOcean RF communication technology, transmits data to a daylight controller to move roller shades in small offices. MechoSystems www.mechoshade.com CIRCLE 301
INVESTCORP BUILDING ST. ANTONY’S COLLEGE OXFORD UNIVERSITY Oxford, UK
“AFTER MASSING, WE THEN CAN FOCUS ON THE FACADE, LOOKING AT THINGS LIKE THE WINDOW-TO-WALL RATIO, DAYLIGHT PENETRATION, DIRECT SUN LEVELS, GLARE, EXTERIOR SHADING AND VISUAL COMFORT.” 32
Another resource worth noting, according to Glassman, is the Sensor Placement + Optimization Tool, also known as SPOT. It is used widely by lighting designers, despite the fact that it is not a plug-in, and therefore requires a rebuilding of the design model so that it can be analyzed within the software tool. On the plus side, it integrates a lot of electric lighting and photosensor-based lighting controls and offers some geometry importing options.
Massing and Façade Studies
Radiance is another tool worth investigating. Its behind-the-scenes engine runs all these simulations, and because it is text-based, it essentially speaks the language of a computer programmer, meaning architects can rely on the graphical user interface offered by the different daylighting simulation programs which are available. This way the designer can easily specifying materials, set up the parameters for the simulation, choose the required output and then let Radiance do its job.
“After massing, we then focus on the façade, looking at things like the window-wall ratio, how far daylight can penetrate into the building, direct sun levels, glare, exterior shading and visual comfort. We can run these studies pretty quickly and easily as we look for the most optimal solution,” he explains.
Returning to the notion of utilizing tools capable of evaluating daylighting design options early in the process, Glassman explains how these relative comparisons can then impact how the building is laid out. Through massing, designers can compare assorted options to see which one has the best daylight potential. Massing can also aid in laying out the interior spaces based upon daylight and other programmatic requirements.
The Investcorp Building by Zaha Hadid Architects features 25 GRG skylights in two sizes. The significant amount of the openings required a dense orthogonal structural pattern to accommodate the column-free space below, meaning the majority of the vertical support came from two lines at the front and back of the building.
Inspired, perhaps, by Alvar Aalto’s Viipuri Library in Vyborg, Russia, Zaha Hadid put her own spin on the concept for the library within Oxford’s new Ivestcorp Building for the Middle East Centre. Opposed to simple circles, Hadid’s skylights feature a tear drop shape which is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The facility holds the institution’s collection of the modern Middle East materials, and the library houses a world-class archive of private papers and photographs used by scholars with an interest in the region. The curved form of the reading room’s west facade also accommodates a century year old Sequoia tree and its extensive root network. The structure’s stainless steel skin also helps softly reflect natural light to echo the building’s context.
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The skylights are clad on the roof with electro polished stainless steel sandwich panels.
POWERFUL RENDERING For a 40-story mixed-use building in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the proposed façade design is presented with and without an exterior solar screen for comparison purposes.
DAYLIGHTING BIG PICTURE VIEW By running simulations on various massing models, the results provide a basis for comparison between the daylight potential for different massing options.
The New Metrics With people spending 90% of their time inside buildings, architects are focused on providing greater access to very nourishing daylight, says Elliot J. Glassman, AIA, NCARB, LEED BD+C, building performance specialist, WSP Built Ecology, New York.
GET A GRIP ON BUILDING GEOMETRY This screenshot of a Grasshopper canvas using Honeybee components for daylight analysis enables users to visually script an algorithm the generates building geometry while the Honeybee components send the model to Radiance for analysis.
Case in point, for a 40-story mixed-use building in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, DIVA for Rhino and Grasshopper were used to investigate a vertical exterior screen to mitigate the direct and diffuse solar radiation emanating from the harsh Vietnamese sun. As delineated in Glassman’s IBPSA paper, the façade analysis tool helped the design team study the performance of the screen, provide a methodology for optimization and determine the best façade properties for the system to work together as an integrated whole. While tools like DIVA have a lot to offer the design process, these types of sophisticated programs do require a learning curve for things like setting parameters and determining different levels of resolution. In addition, it takes time to learn how to interpret results which can inform the design, and what types of studies are the most useful to address a particular design/performance question. “Designers need to build up some experience using these tools to get an accurate result,” explains Glassman. Fortunately, there is an on-line community of users and lots of how-to videos, which are very helpful. Overall, there’s a lot of interest in knowledge sharing.”
“DESIGNERS NEED TO BUILD UP SOME EXPERIENCE USING THESE TOOLS TO GET AN ACCURATE RESULT.”
BEATS THE LOW SUN The Dynamic Dome is engineered to reflect less light and to harvest more light, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. The design focuses on maximizing low sun angle performance. Electric lights can be turned off earlier in the day and will not have to be turned back on until later in the day. A broad variety of
outer and inner dome combinations are available. The standard clear smooth outer dome over a white prismatic inner dome provides 100% diffusion of the light and delivers 20% more light than a skylight that uses prismatic as both the inner and outer dome. Velux www.veluxusa.com CIRCLE 300
On the same page, the latest green building certification programs have adopted newer annual and climate-based metrics to support better quality daylighting. For example, Daylight Autonomy tracks the percentage of annual hours between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., where illumination is equal or greater to a specified illumination level, and Spatial Daylight Autonomy is the percentage of total area that achieves daylight autonomy of 50% or greater. Glassman also anticipates that developing circadian-based metrics will be adopted. As delineated in a 2015 Conference of International Building Performance Simulation Association paper entitled, “Spectral Daylighting Simulations: Computing Circadian Light,” developed by designers from ZGF Architects and the University of Washington, Department of Architecture, circadian lux is a multi-spectral simulation method that can be employed to analyze circadian lighting in built environments.
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| NZB: ENVELOPE |
Going off the Wall A well-planned building insulation system can look perfect on paper. But that’s little comfort to occupants and owners if it isn’t installed properly and doesn’t play well with the other façade components. Energy modeling, and a performance vs. prescriptive path, are means to address this issue.
Alan Weis, a contributing writer for Architectural Products, covers thermal management issues, including building envelope and HVAC systems.
hile certain fundamental “truths”—airtightness, thermal transfer, windowto-wall ratio and more—drive façade insulation systems, designing them for maximum efficiency is anything but cut and dry. But that’s good news, as this frees architects up from designing to a script and can allow more flexibility in making an exterior insulation system work with the desired design. And maybe that design includes more windows than usual, something that some designers tend to avoid. But taking the prescriptive approach does not always deliver optimal assembly efficiency when it comes to determining insulation levels—nor does counting out doors and windows as opportunities for energy loss. “Prescriptive design, which specifies assembly insulation R-values, is typically accompanied by a limited window-to-wall ratio under most building codes,” explains Rick Duncan, technical director of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. “Instead, designers should become familiar with the performance path, which uses U-factors to evaluate assembly performance and can include potential trade-offs like reduced air leakage. Proficient use of whole-building energy modeling software will enable designers to maximize the use of fenestration by accounting for building location and orientation.”
studs) does not allow the same gaps for air transfer, and by nature is thermally more efficient. In fact, she says, creating a wall system without studs is an even better choice, as studs in envelope assemblies also conduct hot and cold from the inside to the outside face of the wall. “Structures without studs typically have minimal heat transfer and thermally efficient continuous insulation,” she concludes. But it’s not just about studs or similar components, adds Katrin Klingenberg, cofounder and executive director of Passive House Institute US. Designers need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture when it comes to thermal transfer. “Thermal bridges in façade designs are often overlooked because they are often viewed as small compared to the total wall area,” she warns. “New building science research is beginning to quantitatively show that a large percentage of the heat flow through the wall might actually be due to thermal bridging.”
Striking Studs One exterior wall component that play a bigger role in energy efficiency than one might thing is studs, notes Becky Susan, marketing manager for Insulfoam, who explains that specifying a continuous layer of insulation over the entire face of a wall (rather than in between wood or steel
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DOES ITS JOB Glazing provides a 52% light transmission and an SHGC of 0.32.
WILLIAM RANSOM WOOD CENTER University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks wanted more from its student union, so it planned a 34,000-sq.ft. addition to and renovation of the building’s dining facility. Architect Perkins+Will wanted the glazing solution to be high-performance and well-insulated and let in as much daylight as possible. The resulting curtainwall, anchored by SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 glass, honors the aurora borealis and gives the building a colorful appearance.
ALL-WORLD SOLUTION Guardian’s SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 glass allowed Perkins + Will to offset the colored glass—an homage to the Aurora Borealis—with real views to the exterior that still delivered performance goals.
Guardian’s SunGuard SuperNeutral 68 glass on the #2 and #5 surfaces in triple-glazed units provides a visible light transmission of 52% and a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.32.
CLEAR CHOICE Although the colored glass is clearly visible, it’s only about 30% of the curtainwall, meaning clear glass had to perform.
Tough Transition Part of addressing the wall as a whole includes hitting those tough transition points—such as where glazing systems meet cavity walls, floor slabs and parapets—as well, notes Paul Wisniewski, marketing manager of building OEM and structural glazing with Dow Corning Corp. He explains that the thin, flexible profile of his company’s HPI-1000 Building Insulation Blanket is suitable for insulating space-constrained applications and enabling new design possibilities. Space constraints or not, proper installation is crucial to getting the best performance out of any insulation system, notes Susan.
“Many insulation products start with an impressive insulating value, but the R-Value isn’t stable and decreases significantly when installed,” she says. “Warranties regularly reflect this, so be sure to specify an insulation with 100% warranted R-Value. “ “To ensure optimum performance of the chosen fenestration product, hire an installer who is trained and certified to install fenestration products,” agrees Rich Rinka, technical manager, standards and industry affairs with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). “The highest performing products will not perform well if installed poorly.”
IN THE NEWS
“Not all of the glass is colored—only about 30%,” explains Carsten Stinn, senior project designer and senior associate at Perkins+Will. “The rest is clear. In those areas, we wanted to offset the color with real views of the exterior— the true landscape, which is what SuperNeutral 68 provided—a glass that provided an alternate image, or was tinted gray.”
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UMass and Mass Energy Lab Insulation to Test Spray Foam Insulation Safety Researchers at University of Massachusetts Lowell are conducting a study to evaluate exposures associated with the use of products that contain reacting chemicals (such as isocyanates and epoxies) and controls that reduce exposures to these chemicals in construction during the installation of
actual spray foam insulation installs in homes across Massachusetts. “We are looking forward to the partnership with Mass Energy Lab Insulation, as they are a widely regarded insulation company here in Massachusetts and have given us unprecedented access to numerous
job sites and insulation personnel in order to assess exposures to and develop recommendations for safer work practices for installers, bystanders and occupants,” said Anila Bello, a research occupational and environmental health scientist at UMass Lowell’s College of Health Sciences.
“SPF is an excellent insulating material,” continued Bello. “The chemistry and technology of spray foams has improved, and adherence to which enable safe foam applications. Good data will allow us to make informed decisions on best practices and controls so we can reap the benefits of the technology.”
E NVE LOPE “MANY PRODUCTS START WITH IMPRESSIVE VALUES, BUT THE R-VALUE ISN’T STABLE AND DECREASES WHEN INSTALLED.” Considering the climate zone is also an important factor in ensuring the selection of proper fenestration products, says Rinka, noting that ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC 2015 provide guidance for what performance requirements are needed to maximize energy efficiency within the climate zone where the building is located.
Tight Formation Of course, R-value is moot without considering airtightness, says Paul Warren, building and codes engineer with SWD Urethane. “We all like to talk about R-values, but they really are insignificant if you don’t have an airtight structure,” he says. He suggests a spray foam like Quik-Shield, which acts as both an insulator and air barrier; the foam expands to fill the voids and cracks that might otherwise allow air to leak into a building.
Against the Wind
“Often, industry tries to claim thermal benefits for claimed air tightness inherent in the installation of the insulation product and they calculate assumed air tightness of the system into some effective R-value; that is not good science,” cautions Klingenberg. “The assessment of the thermal effectiveness of the insulation system on the whole building system and the calculation of the thermal benefit of airtightness really need to be kept separate to be accurately represented in an energy model.”
Looking into Windows The American Architectural Manufacturers Assn. (AAMA) has released its 2015/2016 Study of the U.S. Market for Windows, Doors and Skylights. This report delivers timely information on market trends and product relationships for windows, doors, skylights, curtainwalls and storefronts. Forecasts are based on projections of construction activity as of March 2016.
Right Ratio Window-to-wall ratio is also important, as is modeling. “I determine if the window-to-wall ratio is appropriate when I model the home and check the performance,” he explains. “If it passes that code cycle, the ratio is acceptable in that home, that climate and that orientation. This varies from house to house and climate to climate. I think designers have done a good job keeping that in check, as at one time it was becoming a bit overkill—i.e., entire sides of high-end homes are all windows. In those instances, the ratio was extensive and it showed in the model as a fail.”
CINCINNATI KID The Banks project, designed by Preston Partnership, is a multi-stage development featuring retail, office space, hotel rooms and residential space.
Located between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark in downtown Cincinnati, The Banks project, designed by Preston Partnership, is a multi-stage development featuring retail, office space, hotel rooms and residential space. The second of three phases is a 291-apartment mixeduse building that also features 20,000 sq. ft of retail space. Phase II incorporated VaproShield’sWrapShield SA Self-Adhered Water Resistive Vapor Permeable Air Barrier Membrane, citing the product’s versatility and ability to be easily installed in temperatures that were too cold for the originally specified fluid-applied barrier.
IN THE NEWS
EASY CHOICE VaproShield’s WrapShield SA Self-Adhered Water Resistive Vapor Permeable Air Barrier Membrane offered great versatility.
Plus, it didn’t require special installation equipment, provided labor savings and eliminated the risk of overspray in the windy conditions.
NO ‘COLD’ BARRED The product was able to be installed in temperatures that were too cold for the originally specified fluid-applied barrier.
The 2015 market for nonresidential entry doors in the U.S. has continued to experience growth, up 5% over 2014 and up 16% since 2013. Storefront applications and site-fabricated commercial windows combine to account for 54% of the nonresidential market. Shop-fabricated commercial windows represent 24% of the market, with curtainwalls accounting for the remaining 22% of nonresidential vision area. All of these categories were up from 2013. On the residential side, the demand for prime windows improved moderately in 2015 and increased overall by just over 3%, driven by continued strong new housing demand, although not as strong as originally forecasted at the beginning of the year. The demand for windows in new housing increased by just over 6% in 2015, with double-digit increases forecasted for the next two years.
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TOUGH TECH Platinum R-Tech includes factory-laminated facers for enhanced jobsite durability, impact resistance and breathability to allow moisture to escape as environmental conditions require. Platinum Total Wall insulation incorporates R-Tech products with integrated weep channels, as well as a tongue-andgroove edge to allow for
Passive House Provides New Component Database Whether just browsing or to find a specific product, a new online database from the Passive House Institute provides a detailed overview of components for Passive House construction. All of the products, which have been independently tested and certified with reference to their energy-relevant qualities, are listed together with relevant technical information. From the start site, an illustration of a house (see below) facilitates the selection of the desired category. The respective components can then be sorted according to different criteria, and individual depictions with graphs and key characteristic values provide information at a glance. The full information relating to energy-relevant characteristics can be found in the corresponding Passive House certificates, and links to manufacturers are provided.
Matching the proper insulation with the designated use is also an important consideration, perhaps even more so than R-values and airtightness. “When incorporating insulation into a building envelope for a net zero structure, it’s important to consider the type of walls and their function,” says J.R. Babineau, building scientist with Johns Manville. “A successful wall system is able to manage heat flows, air leakage, wind washing and moisture. Matching the type of wall to the ideal type of insulation is important for optimal performance. Both framed and masonry walls can be designed to use fibrous insulations, spray foams, rigid foam, SIPS panels, air barrier systems and vapor retarders to successfully manage environmental challenges.” He also stresses that insulation and air barriers must work together, noting that a common pitfall happens when combining insulation with air sealing.
All of the independently tested and certified products include references to their energy-relevant qualities, and are listed together with relevant technical information.
secondary moisture relief. It is especially advantageous when applying stucco to a building, as contractors simply add Grade-D paper, wire and one-coat stucco, and the building envelope is complete. Insulfoam www.insulfoam.com CIRCLE 299
“Insulation systems like fiber glass or mineral fiber must be paired with effective air barriers to work properly and air leakage points not located in the wall cavity can be overlooked, negatively impacting overall performance and energy use,” Babineau says. “This is especially important at ceilings and roofs, building foundations and around windows and doors. Even spray polyurethane foams, which provide an air barrier function, only work in the areas they are installed.”
Retrofits It goes without saying, but employing new insulation and façade components into existing buildings begins with extensive planning and taking stock of the current situation “In exterior retrofits, design professionals must be mindful of the structural capacity of the existing wall, suitability of the existing substrate for cladding attachment, air water management (including dew point analysis), wall thickness constraints, flashing details to existing windows, base and parapet conditions and much more,” explains Dave Summer with Interra Architectural Products. “Once the right combination of new products are chosen to replace or complement the existing ones—and are properly detailed—it’s also worth testing for proper adhesion between the various materials, which can usually be done at no cost by the material suppliers.”
More than 600 highly energy-efficient products can be found in the newly launched online database at: www.database.passivehouse.com
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“WHEN INCORPORATING INSULATION INTO A BUILDING ENVELOPE FOR A NET ZERO STRUCTURE, IT’S IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER THE TYPE OF WALLS AND THEIR FUNCTION.”
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The Royal BC Museum in Victoria, British Columbia was a stone cladding retrofit. The original white marble had failed and two large panels fell off the building into the pedestrian area. No one was hurt, but the cladding had to be stripped off the building and was replaced by a lightweight, honeycomb reinforced system from Stone Panels.
It’s also a good idea to verify the situation with an expert before beginning a retrofit. An energy efficiency expert, such as a BPI Building Analyst, HERS Rater or a qualified ESCO, should always be consulted before any energy retrofit, offers Duncan. And don’t just look at the performance of the insulation and envelope elements. Consider the building as a whole. “In many cases, poor energy performance could be from inefficient lighting, air leakage at the foundation or through the attic plane, often accompanied by insufficient insulation and leaky ductwork in the attic and other unconditioned spaces, says Duncan. “These are relatively simple to fix and often provide much better bang for the buck than retrofitting existing walls or replacing windows. Systematic and well-planned envelope improvements should always be considered as a first step in a zero-energy retrofit project, before installing high-efficiency HVAC systems or renewable energy systems such as photovoltaic panels and wind turbine systems.”
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| NZB: HVAC |
Color Me Radiant Have we been conditioned to the way buildings are heated and cooled? Achieving net zero requires a reduction in base consumption by any method possible. One alternative—radiant heating and cooling—is a solution that reduces the energy associated with the movement of sensible energy.
John Mesenbrink has been covering the building and construction industry for more than 15 years, focusing his efforts on the plumbing and HVAC industries— including the launch of his website, which focuses on the installation side of mechanical systems.
hether a commercial project is large or small, radiant heating and cooling can be an effective system strategy to lower overall building energy usage while maintaining optimum comfort. According to Devin A. Abellon, P.E., Business Development Manager - Engineering Services, for Uponor, radiant systems can help building owners towards their net zero energy goals in a variety of ways. Because of the way the human body reacts to operative temperatures, he points out optimum human comfort can be achieved at higher or lower room setpoints. “Buildings don’t need to be maintained at 72°F-75°F in the summer. A typical setpoint for a space with radiant cooling is 78°F,” says Abellon. Furthermore, because the heat transfer capacity of water is so much greater than that of air, Abellon says it takes considerably less energy to transfer the same amount of BTUs moving water through PEX tubing, for example, vs. blowing air with fans. Last, but not least, the system’s thermal mass can be used to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the day with less energy from the building’s central plant. “We continue see growing interest in radiant as a strategy to dramatically increase the energy efficiency of a building,” says Abellon.
as bold as the new RSF itself: Spur innovation and replication throughout the governmentand commercial-building sectors. “In designing and building the new RSF facility, our aim was to move the needle in how America uses energy to heat and cool buildings,” says NREL senior engineer Paul Torcellini. “It isn’t enough to be energy-efficient when commercially viable technology exists to make buildings energy-neutral.” Among the many groundbreaking innovations that made the RSF possible was a new method for installing radiant heating and cooling systems. Principles of thermal mass heating and cooling not only applied to the core Thermally Activated Building Systems (TABS) radiant system, but also included separate design innovations to improve the pre-heating and cooling of the system.
Case in point is the Dept. of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Research Support Facility (RSF). A functioning, super-efficient, 220,000-sq.-ft. office structure that is the largest net-zero energy building in the United States, the building opened in 2010 in Golden, Colo.—a $64 million complex—and showcases what is technologically possible and commercially viable. That’s why, in creating the new facility, NREL had a goal
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BECAUSE THE HEAT TRANSFER CAPACITY OF WATER IS SO MUCH GREATER THAN THAT OF AIR, IT TAKES CONSIDERABLY LESS ENERGY TO TRANSFER THE SAME AMOUNT OF BTUS WITH WATER VERSUS AIR.
NREL RESEARCH SUPPORT FACILITY Golden, Colo.
The aim at RSF was to move the needle in how America consumes energy to heat and cool buildings. It’s not enough to settle for energy efficient when technology exists to make buildings energy neutral. NREL’s Paul Torcellini believes that the PEXbased, radiant heating and cooling slabs are one of the keys to energy performance at RSF, and, he hopes, in TABS-style buildings yet to come. “Logic will prevail,” says Torcellini. “Water is a much better conductor of energy than air, and employing hydronic systems as a pathway for energy will be one of the strongest tools in rewriting our energy profile.”
BOLD AMBITIONS FOR HEATING AND COOLING Accommodating the largest net zero building in the U.S., 42 miles of Uponor PEX-a tubing was subsequently prefabricated into numerous rolls whose dimensions were customized to match those of the RSF’s various heating and cooling zones.
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The TABS Concept The majority of radiant applications in North America utilize conditioned surfaces, where PEX (crosslinked polyethylene) tubing is embedded in a concrete topping slab, thermally separated from the rest of the building structure with insulation. TABS, a more common strategy in other parts of the world, takes advantage of the high thermal mass of the entire building structure. Rather than just heat or cool with the surface, the tubing is embedded in the building structure without thermal breaks. The floor structure providing radiant cooling on one floor also acts as a radiant ceiling for the floor below. The higher mass system maintained at temperatures close to room setpoints can provide improved energy efficiency and consistent comfort throughout the space. In the case of NREL, a unique and innovative ventilation heat exchanger—the labyrinth—was constructed out of the buildings lower level with concrete airflow diverters/partitions.
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This maze wasn’t designed to confuse workers, but it is a trap of sorts—one that captures the heat of the day or the cool of the night, holds onto the thermal energy and then slowly releasing it to help warm or cool the ventilation supply air. The labyrinth acts as a thermal battery, storing the chill of the night air to reduce the building’s cooling load in summer by pre-cooling the ventilation air. During the winter, the labyrinth stores heat drawn from two sources: 1) computers in the facility’s new data center; and 2) outside air warmed by the sun beating down on a transpired air collector.
HVAC Engineering consultant David Okada of Stantec designed the radiant heating and cooling system and wrote a unique computer program to optimize the size and shape of the labyrinth system. In his experiece, Abellon says it’s true that some designers and building owners sometimes feel more comfortable limiting radiant heating and cooling to smaller, more discrete spaces, such as open lobbies and atria, but the square footage of NREL’s Research Support Facility was never an issue. He says this is because a radiant floor cooling system’s ability to effectively deal with high direct solar heat gains—a challenge often faced in such spaces. A similar system was installed at Clemson University. Completed in December 2011 and occupied in January 2012, the 55,000-sq.-ft., Lee Hall (Lee III) expansion project—a net-zero-ready project—was built to accommodate the expanding needs of the college, including 12 professional degree programs in the four departments of Art, Architecture, Construction Science and Management, and Planning and Landscape Architecture.
Currently, Lee III has an energy use intensity (EUI) of a mere 35kBTU/sq. ft./year and it exceeds the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline by 52%. Building energy monitoring reveals the expansion is four times more efficient than the average building on the university’s campus. For the HVAC system, the team looked at a number of alternative energy systems to minimize energy loads. “Geothermal was on the table early on,” says Jim London, assoc. dean for research and graduate studies at Clemson. “A radiant heating and cooling system was also proposed, which would maximize the performance of the geothermal system.” Trying an in-slab radiant floor heating system was a new concept for the school. And a radiant cooling system—in a high-humidity environment like South Carolina—was radical. The radiant system would be flowing warm or cool water through crosslinked polyethylene (PEX) tubes embedded in the slab of the structure to heat and cool the building. The radiant system, with a projected payback of 10 years (compared to a standard VAV system) proved economical, especially given the high initial cost of additional PV panels (to achieve zero-energy use).
Controlling the HVAC system at Lee Hall proved to be a unique balance between the hydronic radiant system controls and the building automation system.
IN THE NEWS
Doubling Energy Productivity At the ninth annual Energy Efficiency Global Forum (EE Global), Danfoss joined with the Alliance to Save Energy and nearly 500 energy-efficiency industry leaders from around the world to advance the productivity and profitability of energy efficiency.
In addressing the forum, their North American President John Galyen noted buildings represent nearly 40% of energy consumption and account for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, he said making buildings more efficient is vital to achieving climate and energy goals. “It’s going to require a holistic approach to smart, connected buildings,” said Galyen. “In the short term, we need to implement progressive policies that encourage the use of available, proven energy-efficiency technologies, low-energy building design, and building renovations that can achieve 25–50% reductions in energy demand from new and existing buildings. This includes technologies such as variable speed, energy recovery, combined heat and power, and renewables.”
NET ZERO BUILDINGS | 07.16 | 45
To boldly go where no fan has gone before!
YWCA TORONTO ELM CENTRE Toronto, Canada
Aligned with Toronto’s energy efficiency targets, the complex features a multi-stage heat recovery system, and a geothermal water-to-water heat pump system integrated with a thermally-activated slab radiant heating and cooling system. It includes 236,000 ft. of 1/2 in. RAU¬PEX O2 barrier PEXa pipe embedded in the center of each of the suspended 8-in. concrete slabs through each level of the three residential towers.
RADIANT NORTH OF THE BORDER The Elm Centre is a permanent housing complex that features a radiant system designed to deliver 3 million BTU/hr.; it is fed by a geothermal well and is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by 415 tons per year.
Airius air destratification fans fit tightly within building truss structure for full ceiling-to-floor air circulation
While a radiant floor system can achieve up to 32 BTU/hr∙ft2 in the heating mode and 16 BTU/hr ft2 in the cooling mode, both under ideal conditions, a thermally activated slab, because of its bidirectional output, can achieve output in the range of 50 BTU/hr ft2 in the heating mode, and 30 BTU/hr•ft2 in the cooling mode.
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And because a radiant system keeps heating or cooling near the floor where people are located, it made even more sense with the building’s high ceilings. The architects also found radiant appealing because it eliminated ductwork from the ceiling, so they didn’t have to provide a hung ceiling which adds costs to the structure. Because a radiant system is designed to work in zones, which can switch from heating to cooling dependent on the indoor climate need, the heat pumps can provide simultaneous heating and cooling by taking advantage of heat transfer within the facility. For example, in certain months, the southern exposure has an abundance of heat from the afternoon sun while the shaded northern exposure requires radiant heating for occupancy comfort. The system can use the high return-water temperatures from the south zones to heat the north zones. Heading toward net zero, these installations exemplify the benefits and use of radiant heating and cooling in large commercial buildings. As the industry gains a better understanding of how this technology works, and as confidence in radiant systems is bolstered by a growing list of successful projects, Abellon believes more owners and designers will start seeing these systems as not a niche alternative, but the primary source of heating and cooling throughout a building.
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The Continuing Architect
Next issue is our annual Greenbuild show companion/preview in which weâ€™ll include a heavier focus on products relating to what will be shown or presented in many of the various educational sessions at the expo, which will be held in Los Angeles. Weâ€™ll also do a bit of a forest for the trees stop to take a look at the NZB movement as whole. This particular installment will focus on synergy to be gained from success on the residential side, particularly strides that have been made with new standards developed by the Passive House Institute U.S., who sees multifamily as the bridge to more commercial passivecertified design.
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NET ZERO BUILDINGS | 05.16 | 47
| END POINT |
‘Zero’-Land Czar Needed? As with most things, communication and collaboration are key. The fi nest symphony in the world couldn’t possibly come together without the leadership of its conductor, and the coordinated efforts of each member.
Long security lines at the airport are a reminder of procedures put in place to make travel more safe. But it’s more than just TSA agents that make the system work—it’s a concerted effort from agencies, including the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security, all working together to make sure our skies are safe. Yet, it wasn’t always like this, and it’s a lesson that well serves those pursuing net zero. If you look back at the 9/11 Commission Report, one the biggest contributing factors of the security breakdown was the fact that these agencies were disparate entities that had little, if at all, communication between agencies, or even within their own walls. For example, the FBI did not have the capability to link the collective knowledge of agents in the field to national priorities.
Better communication and collaboration within and among agencies might have helped prevent 9/11, but in its absence we saw the creation of Homeland Security formed to coordinate all efforts under one umbrella. As with most things, communication and collaboration are key. Take this publication: the collaborative efforts of the publishing team—from the graphic designers, writers and editors—make it all possible. It’s absolutely the same on the design and construction front, particularly when dealing with complex and integrated systems. “In our industry today, it’s clear that there is a desire and a need for more collaborative delivery methods,” notes Tom Palange, marketing director of J.C. Cannistraro, a top 50 mechanical contractor located near Boston.
To achieve the optimal benefits of these project delivery methods, early collaboration for all members of the project team is necessary. “Being able to make a strategic investment in planning up front—with all trade contractors at the table with the design team—measurable benefits quickly become evident in the form of a more efficient building process and quantifiable cost savings,” he says. Throughout the pages of NZB, and especially as documented within the National Renewable Energy Lab project featured in this issue’s HVAC pillar, the importance of integrative design and collaboration through an integrative design process, is quite clear. It’s critical that all disciplines across design and installation sides need to work for one common goal. This certainly was key for the Rocky Mount Institute in executing its new facility, as featured last issue.
“Integrative design enabled us to optimize our onsite renewable energy generation system [negotiating orientation, tilt and aesthetics on our rooftop PV system] to achieve net zero,” says Cara Carmichael, LEED AP, manager, RMI’s Innovation Center. I think you get the point here. To do the job completely, concisely and correctly, there needs to be a coordinated effort from the initial stages of inception to design to installation to monitoring. Here’s some food for thought: amid all the disparate consultants and contractors working on high performance buildings, do we need a Net Zero Czar? Maybe not, but maybe we do need a central association or institute to help collect and disseminate best practices to the world. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing our part, but we certainly welcome volunteers.
OPERATION & MAINTENANCE TEAM
According to the CABA Building Controls report, the above highlights the measured performance feedback gap that many design teams have avoided. A more ideal approach to ZNE goals would include involving the O&M team in the design process and the design team in early operations of the building.
John Mesenbrink Contributing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
48 | 07.16 | NET ZERO BUILDINGS
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©2016 LG Electronics U.S.A., Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ. All rights reserved. LG Life’s Good is a registered trademark of LG Corporation. CIRCLE 34
Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design.