Net Zero Buildings - March 2019

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NET ZERO BUILDINGS • Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design 1903NZBCVR2.indd 1


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NET ZERO BUILDINGS Volume 8, Number 1 Premier Issue: Jan. 2013

March 2019

(is still learning new tricks)

Like all growing things, UCSD’s microgrid—initially based on natural gas cogen tech—is now incorporating PV and other novel renewables, including biogas, in its evolution to become a truly diverse and flexible power system. Page 12 

University of California San Diego’s Geisel Library, powered by the nation’s oldest operable microgrid.

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Top 10 reasons why our customers choose SlenderWall cladding. How many of these will work for you? 1. A Turn-Key System – A complete one-source panelized envelope system, inside and out, from a 2” precast concrete exterior skin to an integrated heavy-gauge galvanized steel stud interior frame filled with closed-cell foam and ready for drywall. We can include erection, caulking, even factory-installed windows to complete a product engineered for new curtain wall construction, re-cladding, over-cladding, and even load-bearing projects. 2. Design Versatility – A vast selection of class “A” finishes and colors. Looks that mimic much higher priced stone and masonry products. Formed patterns, bump outs, reveals and detailing only limited by your imagination, including multiple finishes on the same panel. A good choice for applications from low-rises to skyscrapers, hospitals, hotels, offices, multi-families and more. 3. Structural Savings – At a composite weight of only 30lbs per sf (66% lighter than traditional precast) SlenderWall eases foundation, piling and structural needs, even crane requirements. 4. Speed of Installation – Larger panels, quicker connections, fewer weather delays, and an install rate of 2,000+ sf per day all lead to quick enclosure schedules. The integrated interior stud wall and insulation takes days off of project completion. 5. Reduced Site Impact – Off-site manufacturing with just in-time scheduling means less space and less waste, fewer deliveries and parked trailers. Plus less on-site man hours. 6. Durability – High-quality proven materials & components, resistant to corrosion, rust and damage. Stainless steel fasteners and dual reinforcement combining welded wire and moleculary-bound fibers designed to meet seismic and windstorm standards. 7.Thermal Efficiency – Our industry exclusive ThermaGuardTM connection system creates a thermal break and air barrier between our precast face and interior stud wall.The combination of factory-applied closed cell foam and on-site joint application provides for continuous insulation that meets IECC energy code and air barrier compliance. Lab tested to R-28, variable options available for your specific zone requirements. An effective choice as a LEED or Net-Zero contributor. 8. Fire Code Compliance – An ASTM E119 tested assembly containing NFPA 285 rated insulation, fire stops, and non-combustible components. 9. Risk Mitigation – A product with 25 years of field proven success, fully tested by certified independent labs to meet all current building codes. The quality assurance of controlled environment manufacturing. Water repellent concrete mixes and the availability of a unique caulking system, H2OutTM, mitigate any water issues. SlenderWall is built to pass the test of time. 10. Economics – Both up-front and long-term savings in materials, labor, time, and maintenance, even an additional 4” of perimeter floor space created because SlenderWall is designed to hang outboard of the floor slab. All this gives you more money to add to other parts of your project, or the bottom-line.


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SUNY Polytechnic’s net-zero ready zero energy building proves that net zero is possible in large, even mixed-use facilities.

project zero SUNY Polytechnic ZEN Building

05 Toward Zero

Albany, New York

A sunny forecast for aggressive daylighting. Here’s to math, modeling and modelers—data matters.

A grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority helped fund the analyses necessary for the university and architects EYP Architecture and Engineering to approach the idea of delivering net zero—including in a manner that it could serve as a demonstration project. It has successfully

applied and integrated high-performance building systems, proving net zero can work on a large scale. ON THE COVER Initially based on natural gas cogen technology, the University of California San Diego’s Geisel Library is incorporating renewables in its evolution to become a diverse power system.


By Jim Crockett

44 End Point By Barb Horwitz-Bennett

06 

Why not design a plumbing system and implement a management program the right way from the start? By John Mesenbrink


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Learning New Tricks

Already a sophisticated microgrid, the University of California San Diego is eyeing carbon-free status by 2025, which may force changes in plant operations.











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By Chuck Ross

Actively Passive

Graywater for All?

Lessons Learned

Smart Controls

Role in Total Energy

Passive buildings consume about 90% less heating energy and 75% less overall energy than “average” new construction. These buildings don’t need a laundry list of “green” bells and whistles. Therefore, they just need to stay true to their passive nature.

There is no denying that water recycling through graywater systems can have a significant impact on a building’s water consumption and savings, and its resiliency. Properly treated and managed graywater can prove to be a wise investment. But is it for everyone?

A successful daylighting design is critical in any commercial project. Net-zero designers share some lessons learned daylighting pointers in seeking that elusive balance between lighting reduction, glare and occupant comfort and control.

While saving energy through efficient lighting is well founded, it is also an over-generalization. Efficient products carry price premiums, while capital to invest in them is not always available. Occupants may be paying the highest price for this approach.

Passive Principles Building Insulation  Metal Panels  Green Roofing

Smart Pumps Water Recovery  Treatment Process  Blackwater

Although many controls in a building automation system are inherently “smart,” more intelligent controls help make built environments smarter and better equipped to optimize energy use. Building IQ is the goal and energy efficiency is the end result. .  Central Monitoring  Load Reduction  VRF Tech  Integrated Controls

Alan Weis

Distributed Generation Apple 100% Renewable  Puerto Rico’s Resiliency  Energy Storage

By John Mesenbrink

Occupant Wellness Glazing Choices  Passive House By Barbara-Horwitz Bennett

By John Mesenbrink

 

Wireless Controls LED Lighting

By Kevin Willmorth


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MARCH 2019



VOL. 8, NO. 1



Premier Issue: Jan. 2013

Premier Issue: Jan. 2013

Gary Redmond

Managing Partner Director Publishing Operations

NET ZERO BUILDINGS Premier Issue: Jan. 2013

Tim Shea

Managing Partner Director Business Development

Dave Pape

Jim Crockett

Vice President Director, Art & Production dpape

Editorial Director



Premier Issue: Jan. 2013

Premier Issue: Jan. 2013



Premier Issue: Jan. 2013




Alan Weis

Barbara Horwitz-Bennett Contributing Writer

Chuck Ross

Contributing Writer




Contributing Writer

Kevin Willmorth

John Mesenbrink

Contributing Writer

John Mesenbrink

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor

Megan Mazzocco

Senior Editor

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:   


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: 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 design community  MOST PROMISING ELECTRONIC DESIGN TOOLS


Art Director

Lauren Lenkowski

Christine Ha

Associate Art Director

Graphic Designer


847 359 6493 gredmond

Bob Fox

917 273 8062 bfox

David Haggett

847 934 9123 dhagg dha ggett gg ett

Tim Shea

Michael Boyle

847 359 6493 tshea

847 359 6493 mboy mbo yle

Jim Führer

Jim Oestmann

503 227 1381 jfuhrer

847 924 5497

Ted Rzempoluch

609 361 1733 trzemp trzem

 

Details and deadline information will be available soon. Questions should be directed to Jim Crockett:

Special Consideration: We wish to thank the following authorities for their contributions to this issue: Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating; Louisiana Pacific; Kingspan Insulation & Panels; Vitro Architectural Glass; and American Hydrotech.

Net Zero Buildings (NZB), Vol. 8, No. 1. 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; (Copyright © 2019 by Construction Business Media) A Publication of Construction Business Media

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Making the Business Case: A Hedonic Model for Daylighting “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were all my business!” —The Ghost of Jacob Marley upon visiting Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

It is my heartfelt wish that politicians, people and businesses would be motivated to make buildings and spaces better simply for the good of mankind. Alas, I may be too naïve, or vice versa, perhaps too many are blind to the chains that may fetter them in the life beyond... That said, despite all nonreformed Scrooges of the world, there is hope that daylighting may yet rule the day. What ray of sunshine, you might ask, burns through the gray of winter and the gloom of our tariff-burdened economy? Good daylighting equals dollars. That was the pronouncement issued from Greenbuild—at least from a session highlighting gamechanging research by MIT Professor Christoph Reinhart. Along

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with his colleague, Irmak Turan of the MIT Architecture department, the professor presented the results of research establishing real-estate values of properties in Manhattan with “good” daylighting vs. those without. To speak the language of the real-estate community, the MIT researchers decided to apply a Hedonic model to their work, for apples-to-apples results. To deliver proper daylight autonomy, as delineated by standards such as LEED, Reinhart said spaces must deliver at least 300 lux of natural light at least 50% of the time. With that as the baseline, the researchers modeled spaces in NYC using Radiance software. Five typologies, from low-rises to super-thin, supertall high-rises, were established. The latter, Reinhart added, scored extremely well, as the combination of narrow floor plates, well above neighboring buildings, create ideal conditions.

According to Turan, MIT studied many different criteria to establish what factors—what the real-estate community calls “hedonic characteristics”—that improve rental values, such as view, walkability and energy efficiency. It was their hope to establish a similar value score for daylight. So, by establishing price/value as defined by hedonic characteristics, including some other specific factors they wished to identify, MIT believed they could determine daylight’s value. Next, the researchers modeled thousands of buildings, and then paired that data with available real estate transaction numbers. The city was then broke into various chunks for further simulations to address specific criteria, such as floor plate depth, and urban context, such as how much a building is in shade or exposed to the sun. The key criteria was sdA—spatial daylight autonomy—which is scored as a percent-

age. An sdA of 46%, for example, earns a LEED credit. (See the data point to the right). The bottom line: high sdA buildings, found MIT, yielded a 5.9% premium. At a realestate value of $100 per sq. ft. in Manhattan, that equals $5 more per sq. ft. Reinhart said that ought to get the attention of a number of clients. Indeed, Turan added, their findings have sparked a lot excitement. What’s more exciting to her—and should be to wholistic building designers—is that their model is applicable to other buildings systems, such as HVAC.

DATA POINT: The design criteria for the study was based on spatial daylight autonomy (sdA), which is scored as a percentage. The average sdA was about 43%, meaning only 25% of the buildings studied would be LEED compliant. The researchers then applied regression for a more accurate result. The bottom line: high sdA buildings yielded a 5.9% premium, which at a value of $100/sq. ft., equals $5 more per sq. ft.

That’s certainly a winwin for developers and designers alike. Here’s to math, modeling and modelers—data matters.

Jim Crockett, Editorial Director


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SUNY Polytechnic ZEN Building Albany, NY Market: Higher Education Size: 363,000 sq. ft. Team Owner: SUNY Polytechnic Institute/Fuller Road Management Corp. (FRMC) User: SUNY Polytechnic Institute Colleges of Nanoscale Sciences & Engineering Architect: EYP Architecture & Engineering M/E Engineer: EYP Lighting Designer: EYP Structural Engineer: EYP Construction Manager: Whiting-Turner Contracting Landscape Designer/ Civil Engineer: CHA Companies



Beneath its ultra-light ethylene tetrafluoroethylene roof system, the ZEN Building spurs formal and informal collaboration and social spaces, ultimately, creating a dynamic 10,000-grosssq.-ft. community hub within the confines of its signature atrium. Further setting the tone for the building, the light well harvests daylight to offset 70% of the building’s electrical consumption without adversely impacting building load. Text: Barbara HorwitzBennett Photos: David Sundberg, ESTO Photography


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Ramping Up Net Zero for the Big Stage Integration process and feedback tools were critical in applying net-zero concepts to a complex of such scale. “It’s an incredible complex,” marveled former President Barack Obama on a tour of the university’s high-tech research complex, of which the still-under-design ZEN Building would later join. As the newest addition to SUNY Poly’s fleet of

innovative facilities, the 363,000-gross-sq.-ft. facility supports a wide range of R&D activities, providing office space, as well as teaching and flexible research spaces, for faculty, students, business and industry. A grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority helped fund the analyses necessary for the university and EYP to approach the idea of delivering net zero—including in a manner that it could serve as a demonstration project. And what a demonstration it has become, successfully applying and integrating highperformance building systems into the massive structure, ultimately proving net zero can work on a large scale.

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The design-build team, led by Albany-based EYP, co-located to instill an atmosphere of collaboration. Facilitating this process was a pair of mechanisms that helped it meet its objectives: the first was NEO—the Net Energy Optimizer software tool, created by the project’s energy analysts and EYP subsidiary, the Weidt Group; second, a novel energy management system (BEMS) from Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Development Organization (NEDO), uniquely positioned the project for success. According to Matthew O’Grady, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, EYP’s lead designer and principal, NEO allowed the team and client the ability, in real time, to collectively understand potential system approaches, and then select, and more importantly, test, viable options all the way through pre-design to construction administration. EYP’s goal was to be able to provide real-world data to analyze the cost, benefits and performance of clean energy technologies as stand-alone and as integrated system-ofsystems. For example, notes Weidt Group’s Joe DiSanto, P.E., CEM, when fully implemented, the BEMS will be able to pull data not only from HVAC systems, but deliver information on occupancy, actual weather conditions, PV generation—including gathering real-time energy prices— giving the team the ability to make more holistic and energy-aware decisions, as to how the building should deliver comfort.


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TIMELINE  August 2013: Design start date  March 2014: Design complete date  March 2014: Construction start  December 2015: Substantial completion Close-knit integration was key to reaching net-zero-ready status. In order to foster this level of coordination, the firm employed what they called a “big room” approach. Team members were co-located into the big room of EYP’s office for a period of four months to allow for realtime collaboration and cross-discipline problem solving. With the project managers, architects, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, plumbing/ fire protection engineers, structural engineers and energy specialists all sitting at the same table, through laptop-enabled BIM collaboration, the team was able to conceptualize, test and implement designs together while sharing real-time result information with construction and operations team members. “Physical proximity and constant discussion, was key to meaningful and fast collaboration,” says O’Grady.


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CONNECTION POINT The atrium light well harvests daylight to offset 70% of the building’s electrical consumption without adversely impacting building load.


Technology was a key part of designing the building, and began with a massing analysis using DOE2.2 computer simulations to evaluate four potential options determined by the constraints of the site. Through these various iterations, a “donut” atrium design emerged to bring in the large volumes of natural light the team desired. “We established the need for daylight deep within the building floor plates,” says Peter D. Ottavio, P.E., CEM, LEED AP BD+C, director of engineering, principal, EYP, Albany. “This was important for the wellbeing of the occupants, so they won’t feel closed into a tunnel like work space.”

At the same time, maximizing energy savings by harvesting daylight would be a prime strategy toward achieving the net-zero energy goal. The project team recognized that by nature, a large skylight would add a significant cooling and heating load to the building, which would work against net zero. “However, when we analyzed the benefit from daylighting, we found a net reduction in overall energy required to condition the space.” For this giant skylight/ roof, EYP decided on an ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) film. They chose this a number of reasons: the material performs better than glass from an R- and U-value perspective, while also re-

quiring less structure, both in weight and quantity of material. ETFE, in fact, was about half of the weight of glass, and therefore supported a less costly structural design, greatly facilitating the budget. As a result, the ETFE roof boosted HVAC performance in addressing thermal environments within, and the amount of structure to support the size of the opening required. “This is an example of how the electrical engineers (daylighting), mechanical engineer (HVAC), structural engineers (support steel) and architects (pleasing space) worked together and achieved several project goals as an integrated design team,” says Ottavio.

In fact, when automatic daylighting controls were factored in, this iteration was the lowest energy option, saving 4% energy compared to the highest energy-using option using just a single skin façade. As for the walls, CENTRIA 3-in. insulated metal panels, and a YKK AP unitized curtainwall, comprise the main building skin.

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To guarantee performance results, an integrated approach to the atrium design was essential. It involved designing and fine-tuning size and geometry, the building’s floor-to-floor dimensions, and what resulting impacts such tweaks would make to the lighting and HVAC systems. “Working with the Weidt Group’s daylighting analysis software, we were able to determine and rationalize the surrounding floorplate depths and heights to a dimension that would create the most tenant space while providing maximum daylight harvesting potential,” says O’Grady.

Furthermore, a graduating frit pattern, placed along the curvilinear ETFE pillow, mitigates the glare potentially created by the steep sun angle conditions. “Interior graduated frit patterns help control diffuse glare from an exposed floor bounce condition, as well as heighten owner requested privacy screening,” adds O’Grady.

Tenant spaces that receive daylight from the atrium or from the building perimeter are also provided with both automatic daylight dimming and window shade controls. “Window shade horizontal blades are automatically adjusted based on sun angles and levels of direct sunlight at the exterior glazing to maximize natural light into the space while eliminating glare,” explains Robert C. Eichelman, P.E., LEED AP, ATD, DCEP, EYP, Albany, New York. Ultimately, the daylighting design offsets 70% of the building’s electrical consumption.

 MAKE COMFORT KING EYP hopes that data continuously collected from its sophisticated building management system will allow it and SUNY Poly to better address comfort in all spaces, including the ability to react to weather conditions and occupancy. LIGHTING

With an average lighting power density approximately 40% below New York State Energy Conservation Code requirements, the ZEN building is definitely benefiting from a well-integrated daylighting/lighting design. Starting with the core and shell, automatic daylight dimming controls are connected to all the fixtures in the first-floor main lobby and the third-floor atrium spaces, and controls are centrally controlled through a networked lighting control system.

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“Energy consumption is further reduced by the use of task lights, which allow average lighting levels throughout the general work areas to be lowered,” he adds. As is increasingly common, LED fixtures were specified for nearly all spaces in the building. A combination of occupancy, vacancy and daylight sensors provide automatic on-off and dimming controls to reduce energy consumption.


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high performance translucent building systems


The building systems selected for the Zero Energy Nanoscience building were not out of the ordinary, but the fact that they were thoughtfully integrated in a way that achieved net zero for such a large building. One example is how EYP used plate and frame heat exchangers to recover waste energy from the

future data center. “These heat exchangers are conventional in their design, but applied in this way provide a large portion of the winter heat for the building,” explains Ottavio. In addition, the heat exchangers work in conjunction with large chiller/ heaters (heat pumps) that transfer the heat from the

data center cooling circuit to the building’s heating circuit. “This system is backed up by gas-fired boilers during the ramp-up period before the data center comes on line,” says Ottavio.

covery dedicated outdoor air system unit. During the cooling season, it pre-cools the outdoor air using energy from the return air, and during the summer months, it pre-heats the outdoor air using energy from the return air.

Also noteworthy is the fact that the building’s ventilation is enhanced with a total enthalpy energy-re-

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photos: Mark Duffus ®



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 NOTHING WASTED Plate and frame heat exchangers recover waste energy from the facility’s data center. They work in conjunction with large chiller/heaters (heat pumps) that transfer the heat from the future data center cooling circuit to the building’s heating circuit. The system is backed up by gas-fired boilers during the ramp-up period before the data center comes on line.

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ULTRA EFFICIENT The building’s ventilation is enhanced with a total enthalpy energy-recovery dedicated outdoor air system unit. During the cooling season, it pre-cools the outdoor air using energy from the return air; in summer, it pre-heats outdoor air using the return air.

Living Lab The facility, beyond proving zero-energy energy performance, is also serving as a test bed for emerging building technologies. For example, lighting products from multiple vendors were specified on each of the floors to allow for evaluations of interoperability and systems coherence. It is also a test bed for Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS). Essentially, ZEN provides robust feedback loop throughout the CPS continuum from engineering/design to modeling/analytics to correlating/control, concluding with scaling/deployment and is driven by cost-toperformance for highly integrated clean energy technologies. “This powers the investment in and installation of new green technologies at our world-class zeroenergy NANO building,” explains Pradeep Haldar, former vice president of entrepreneur innovation and clean technology programs, SUNY Poly.


Offsetting a total building energy consumption by 89%, the ZEN Building incorporates 2MW of Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) modules—provided under a partnership agreement with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization—and 30MW of crystal silicon (c-Si) photovoltaic distributed generation net-metered installed capacity. Part of the PV is installed on the roof of the NanoFab North facility for testing and evaluation purposes. In particular, 2MW CIGS and

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2MW c-Si modules will be evaluated in a side-by-side comparison to determine the performance of each under different conditions in industry-scale deployments. The opportunity to install and operate a 100kW Fuji fuel cell was of great interest to the team as it could reduce the project’s carbon footprint through the electro-chemical process used to generate electricity, while also reducing energy load for heating and cooling using heat exchangers or single-stage absorption chillers.

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts between facility design/ construction and project agreement/installation, the team was not able to include the fuel cell within the envelope of the ZEN facility and this opportunity to capture this waste heat wasn’t realized. At the same time, the institution plans to evaluate fuel cells as a potential solution for its 30,000-sq.-ft. Tier III data center to meet the need for energy resiliency and reliability while also addressing cooling requirements. The evaluation

will focus on performance reliability, cost-of-ownership, return-on-investment, and energy/cooling density for various tenant use requirements currently underway.


According to former EYP President and CEO Tom Birdsey, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, the ZEN building has a much larger purpose. “As part of New York State’s plan to stimulate business and reduce state-wide energy consumption and carbon emissions, ZEN is both a demonstration facility and a living laboratory,” says Birdsey. “It is showing the world what can be economically accomplished today when readily available systems work in concert, while simultaneously developing and refining tomorrow’s technology in a real-world setting.”


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NATION’S OLDEST MICROGRID (is still learning new tricks)

Over the last two decades, the University of California San Diego has added capabilities to its onsite cogeneration plant to create one of the most sophisticated microgrids. However, a goal of 100% carbonfree power by 2025 could force changes in the natural gas-fired plant’s operations.

Mention San Diego, and most thoughts will go to that city’s temperate climate—considered by many to be nearly perfect—and stunning ocean views. But energy experts also know the city, and more particularly its namesake school, the University of California San Diego (UCSD), is home to one of the nation’s most significant microgrids.

most technologically advanced microgrids, it also offers researchers and equipment manufacturers a great opportunity for testing new equipment and operations related to onsite power generation and distribution.

like others in the UC system, owns the substation connecting it to San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E’s) transmission system, along with all campus meters. This has given UCSD energy

UCSD has a unique advantage when it comes to onsite power resources—the school,

As one of the nation’s oldest and largest such installations, the UCSD system supports both ongoing campus energy requirements and emergency backup operations. And as one of the world’s


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planners enormous flexibility in how electricity is produced and distributed throughout the campus. A second critical component to the school’s onsite power efforts is a cogeneration plant that includes two

13.5-megawatt (MW) natural gas turbines and a 3MW steam turbine. Combined, the turbines supply 85% of the campus’s electricity demand, along with meeting 95% of cooling and heating needs. The plant became operational at the turn of the current century, and has been the centerpiece of the microgrid’s operations ever since.

“That was the genesis of the microgrid and a lot of it was cost-related,” says David Weil, UCSD’s director of campus sustainability and carbon neutrality. Once campus energy managers began exploring this system’s capabilities, he adds, they realized, “Hey, there are a lot of good things from doing this.” So, in 2007, UCSD began incorporating renewable resources into the fuel mix, beginning with a 1MW solar array and adding the 3 MW steam turbine—not part of the original cogeneration design—to drive chilled-water operations. Since then,

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solar capacity has been boosted to 3MW, and a 2.8MW fuel cell and 2.5MW lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system have been added. And a central control room now enables facilities staff to monitor status and make operational changes as needed. Weil says the onsite systems and controls capabilities are saving the school approximately $8 million in avoided energy costs. 14 


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STANDING-SEAM ROOFS AND SOLAR: A PERFECT MATCH Metal roof manufacturer McElroy Metal recently completed its second rooftop solar system on its Adelanto, Calif., plant, turning again to S-5! attachment systems to ensure long-lasting performance. The company’s RibBracket IV is designed for simplified installation and features a factory-applied EPDM rubber gasket seal that’s concealed from UV exposure to prevent drying and cracks.

Proof of Concept In addition to energy savings, of course, microgrids are also key tools in any facility’s efforts to improve resiliency. In fact, this is the motivation for much of the enthusiasm for microgrids in the wake of Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. That is when many East Coast states began releasing plans to encourage development of systems that could be powered by distributed resources and disconnect from local utility grids with the goal of keeping critical facilities up and running after a disaster. The UCSD microgrid has proven itself on this front as well. During wildfires in 2007, the system was actually able to help support SDG&E’s operations, Weil says. At one point, the utility turned to its largest customers to curtail their loads. Within

S-5! CIRCLE 307

The 100% renewables pledge will require additional procurement beyond the 626 megawatts (MW) the company already has purchased to bring its current operations to that scale of carbon-free operation. Just as helpful to the company’s bottom line as the environment, this energy is acquired through long-term power-purchase agreements that guarantee stable pricing for up to 20 years.


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And during a major outage in 2011, the microgrid’s ability to island itself from the local distribution network allowed it to bring restore campus operations much more quickly than the broader SDG&E system. “We were able to come up in just a matter of hours, while the rest of the city was down for eight hours or more,” says Weil. Since that time, the school has added synchro-phasers that could provide enough warning prior to such events to disconnect from the utility and remain online, even as the city around them goes dark.

Distributed generation putting distribution under pressure


A GREENER APPLE As designers hit the drawing board to plan out Apple’s Austin, Texas campus, the tech giant has announced the 133-acre facility will be entirely powered by renewable energy. Sited just about a mile away from its current 6,200-employee office, the new Robinson Ranch operation is anticipated to provide workspace for 15,000 employees, once completely built out.

10 minutes, the university did an about face, switching from importing 4MW of power from the utility’s grid to exporting 3MW back to the utility. That 7MW margin helped enable SDG&E to continue serving other customers.



 POWER OF GREEN Apple’s planned $1 billion Austin campus will be powered by renewable energy.

Say the risk of electricity consumers going off-grid and only using it as occasional backup will significantly increase within two years.

Say that parts of their grid will reach maximum capactiy within three years or fewer.

However, these challenges have the power to turn into growth engines



Say that distributed generation and storage-services provision will be a major profit growth area for distribution companies beyond 2025. See owning large-scale distributed generation, grid-connected storage or small-scale prosumer distributed generation as business growth opportunities.

UTILITIES UNDER PRESSURE FROM DISTRIBUTED GENERATION Distributed solar-plusstorage systems are beginning to force electric utilities—and their regulators—around the globe to rethink business models, according to a recent international survey of utility executives. Rapidly falling storage costs are beginning to make grid defection a real threat—95% of survey respondents say the number of consumers going primarily off-grid for their electricity will grow significantly in the next two years. The ability to handle all those added distributed systems could hit a wall in just three years. On the flip side, an equally large number of respondents see long-term opportunity in this paradigm shift. Beyond 2025, 95% of surveyed executives said distributed generation and storage-services could become profit centers for their operations. Increased electrification of both building operations and transportation are expected to boost longterm demand by 2025 and beyond.

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Puerto Rico’s Ambitious Resiliency Goals With their electrical grid almost completely destroyed by 2017’s Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans are more aware than most of the dangers posed by climate changedriven extreme weather events. The territory’s Gov. Ricardo Rosselló recently announced plans to cut Puerto Rico’s carbon footprint in half within just five years, and to increase the ability of both electrical systems and the island’s building stock to survive future storms.

RENAISSANCE IN RESILIENCE After some harsh weather-related events recently, the island of Puerto Rico plans to cut its carbon footprint in half in just five years, and this includes increasing its electrical capabilities and building stock.

The 10-point Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change includes provisions to plant 500,000 trees in five years, meet 40% of electricity demand with renewable sources by 2023–and 100% by 2050, and introduce a new construction code emphasizing resilience.


Microgrid as Classroom The value of the microgrid to UCSD goes beyond energy-cost savings and resilience—it also has become an important teaching and research tool. Because of the university-owned substation, the campus distribution system is, essentially, an independent utility wholly controlled by the school. As a result, energy managers and researchers are free to add new generation resources and energy loads to demonstrate new technologies, which is enabled by the system’s plug-and-play design. As one example, the microgrid’s control system has been extended to provide oversight of the campus’s 156 Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, which support the more than 400 EV drivers commuting to the school each day. The controls receive utility pricing signals that balance charging requests against electricity costs. Thirty of these chargers are serving as vehicle-to-grid test sites, with the capability to use vehicle batteries as stationary storage resources to support grid operations.

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“There’s a controller that can send a signal to the car to start sending power to the grid,” Weil says, describing the effort co-led by the school’s Center for Energy Research (CRC) and the California Energy Commission. “They can send different price signals and model what would entice people to participate and how it can actually help the grid.” The CER is also running a demonstration project that pairs a 12 kilowatt (kW) solar panel with a bank of second-life batteries to support four fastcharging stations. The batteries no longer hold enough charge for vehicle use, but—as this project has proven—still have the potential for years of life in other applications. The demonstration has been sponsored by charging-system operator EVgo. After two years of successful operation at UCSD, the company launched a commercialized version at a station in Union City, Calif., in July 2018.

In making the announcement, 39-year-old Rosselló noted the changes San Juan, the island’s largest city, has experienced in his lifetime. “When I was born, the city of San Juan could expect to have about 21 days per year at or above 90-degree heat,” he said. “Today the number of days at or above 90-degree heat is 104, a massive increase of 395%.”

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Future Challenges While UCSD’s microgrid has certainly proved to be a boon to the campus, it could face some challenges as the UC system heads toward a goal of carbon neutral operations by 2025. Weil says that goals likely will be reached through a combination of energy purchases and continuing efficiency upgrades—and possibly some big decisions about the natural gas-fired cogeneration plant.

BOOSTING PORT RESILIENCE IN LONG BEACH A recently announced microgrid will enable islanding of the Joint Command and Control Center at Southern California’s Port of Long Beach, the nation’s second-busiest port. The installation, led by Schneider Electric, will incorporate a 300-kilowatt (kW) solar array, three battery-based storage units and a 500kW diesel generator. In addition to emergency backup, the system’s controls will enable the microgrid’s use for demand response and peak shaving to lower the facility’s energy costs

UCSD already draws on carbon-free resources for the electricity supplied through SDG&E. The UC system is a direct-access customer, meaning it purchases its power on the open market, rather than buying it from the local utility. This gives the system greater flexibility as it works toward its carbon-neutral goal. “What we’ve done, the entire 10-campus UC system, is we buy our electricity through the office of the UC system president,” says Weil. “They have 80 megawatts of solar and they also go out on the market and buy carbon-free energy.”

However, those system-wide purchases don’t address the 85% of UCSD’s electricity produced by its own natural gas turbines. In one step toward reducing that equipment’s carbon footprint, the campus is looking to directed biogas to supply 40% of the turbines’ fuel by 2025. In this arrangement, biogas—essentially purified methane produced by landfill and agricultural operations—can be purchased from a remote supplier and injected into SDG&E’s gas distribution pipeline. Like offsite solar or wind resources, the biogas wouldn’t directly serve UCSD’s equipment, but it would offset an equivalent amount of natural gas from entering the SDG&E system. Regardless of the strategy chosen to meet the ambitious 2025 target, Weil says UCSD continues to see great value in microgrids, as a whole. With an investment that can grow over time, he says these systems offer their developers both greater energy independence and energy security. “When you have a group of buildings and you want to have some control and a requirement to have some resilience and redundancy, it makes sense to have a microgrid,” he says. “And you don’t have to do it all at once—you can do it over time, like we have.”


Record-Setting Solar Install Supports Greener Shopping At just under 4 megawatts, the newly installed solar system at the Westfield Topanga & The Village is now California’s largest retail center solar system. Developer Safari Energy installed almost 15,000 panels in traditional rooftop and parking-canopy arrays. Earlier efficiency efforts at the center have cut its electricity demand by 30%.


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Sky-High Efficiency The 43-year-old Chicago Willis Tower—the skyscraper known for decades as the Sears Tower—is no longer the nation’s tallest building, but it may soon be among the most energy efficient. Currently undergoing a $500-million renovation that already has earned it the title of the largest office building to earn Energy Star certification. Among the efficiency upgrades, an elevator-modernization effort has cut energy use by 35%, while speeding passengers to their floors up to 30% faster.

THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM Nestlé Waters North America inched closer to its goal of powering its operations with 100% renewable energy in November with the installation of a third wind turbine at its Cabazon, Calif., bottling plant. The first two turbines, with a total rated annual capacity of 2,200 megawatt-hours (MWh), were installed in 2012. The new turbine will add 8400 MWh to the total, which will meet 50% of the facility’s needs.


Storage Developers Seek to Undercut Batteries’ High Costs Lithium-ion battery costs seem to be dropping by the day, but they remain expensive for use in long-duration, utility-scale operations. Two new approaches to the challenge of efficient, price-sensitive energy storage illustrate the creativity developers are bringing to the problem. The Swiss-American venture Energy Vault uses a six-armed electrically powered crane to stack concrete blocks into a tower during periods when renewable solar and wind energy are plentiful and inexpensive. The same crane, then, disassembles the tower, capturing kinetic energy as the blocks are lowered.

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Though Energy Vault has only constructed a one-seventh scale demonstration version of the plant, it does have an order in hand to build a full-scale model in India this year. It has partnerships with the global cement company Cemex to develop the blocks and GE for the unique, sixarmed cranes. At MIT, researchers are counting on large tanks of white-hot, molten silicon to provide a storage medium for a system they say could cost half as much as the least expensive storage technology of its size now on the market. The researchers—whose work is still very much in the design phase—estimate a single system incorporating two 10-meter-wide

tanks could enable a city of 100,000 homes to be entirely powered by renewable energy. Their plan would store use electricity from wind or solar resources to power heating elements that would boost the temperature of molten silicon up to 4,300 degrees F as the material was pumped from one tank to the other. At that temperature, the silicon actually glows white, and specialized photovoltaics can capture that light, turning it back into electricity. Some have dubbed the idea “sun in a box.”


The MIT concept involves two graphite tanks capable of containing and insulating molten silicon at 4,300 degrees F. The team also developed a pump with the highest heat tolerance on record to move white-hot metal between tanks. It’s been recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records.


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Actively Passive Not just about housing anymore, Passive House buildings consume considerably less overall energy than “average” new building construction. Yet, a passive building doesn’t need a laundry list of “green” bells and whistles. It just needs to stay true to its (passive) nature.

Alan Weis, a contributing writer for Architectural Products, covers thermal management issues, including building envelope and HVAC systems.


he push for Passive Houses has become more active. As a quick refresher, a Passive House (PH) project relies on a robust envelope system to minimize or even eliminate the need for conventional heating systems—relying instead on “passive” sources such as solar radiation or waste heat—as well as employs natural light and ventilation as much as possible. More specifically, a passive building is designed and built in accordance with the following strategies and systems:  Continuous insulation throughout its entire envelope with minimal to no thermal bridging.  An extremely airtight envelope that prevents infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.  High-performance windows (double or triple-paned windows depending on climate and building type) and doors.  A balanced heat and energy recovery ventilation system.  Minimal space conditioning.

But PH is more than just a designation. Founded in Germany 25 years ago—the first Passive House was built in Darmstadt, just south of the bustling city of Frankfurt—PH has become a general concept for any building that adopts the “passive” lifestyle. While the standard has been popular in Europe and Canada for several years now, more recently a United States program (PHIUS) has been established, aimed at growing the domestic high-performance passive building movement. And it is indeed growing. “2018 was an amazing year in terms of passive building growth in the multifamily sector,” says Katrin Klingenberg, executive director and co-founder of PHIUS. “At the end of April [2018], nationwide PHIUS had already certified as many units as in all of 2017 together. The exponential growth continued throughout 2018 and exceeded expectations.”

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Such buildings consume about 90% less heating energy and 75% less overall energy than “average” new construction, according to the Passive House Institute (PHI), which administers the PH certification program.



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A global drive which began in 2011 at 0% NZE has now pushed us to achieving 69% NZE in 2017.

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 SYMBIOSIS The Keffer Residence is Pike County, Pennsylvania’s first home designed to meet the Passive House standard. The surrounding forest was selectively pruned to provide filtered views to a nearby lake, improve solar gain and facilitate natural light and air flow.

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Passive House Principles 1 2 3

Solar Orientation High Insulation High Performance Windows

Dedicated to Healthy Housing Some firms have made the PH concept a top priority—and the norm. Richard Pedranti Architect (RPA) specializes in PH and high-performance buildings, primarily serving the Upper Delaware River Region, as well as Philadelphia and New York.

 DON’T GO WIH THE FLOW The Reed Passive House in Wilson, Wyo., employs a layered envelope strategy to control heat, air, water and moisture moving between the inside and outside of the building.

The company has implemented a dynamic envelope assembly for multiple projects, including the Reed Passive House in Wilson, Wyo. (currently in design), the Keffer Passive House in Pike County, Pa.—a weekend family retreat for a retired couple from the New York metropolitan area, the state’s first home to meet the Passive House Standard— and the Soeder Passive House in Bechtelsville, Pa. The envelope strategy provides the durable and robust construction necessary to control heat, air, water and moisture moving between inside and outside the building. RPA refers to these four energy flows as the “control layers.” In good envelope design, each one of these layers is clearly defined and continuous around the entire building. The super-insulated wall that RPA uses in its PH projects includes the following layers:

© Richard Pedranti Architect


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© Richard Pedranti Architect, 2017 Rick Wright Photography



 A 12-in. layer of dense pack cellulose for the thermal insulation.  An exterior layer of solitx mento that provides water protection but also lets the wall breathe.  ZIP wall sheathing attached to the 2×4 structural frame serving as the air barrier.  ZIP sheathing also serves as the vapor barrier.

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Air Tight Enclosure Balanced Ventilation with Heat Recovery Renewables

This layered approach brings several benefits:  It has a service cavity (2×4) structural wall with the air barrier to the outside of the service cavity so the air barrier is protected.  The exterior insulation over the air barrier also greatly reduces the condensation risk.  It is thermal bridge-free because the insulation layer is on the outside of the structure.  It uses conventional building materials and building techniques.  It is vapor-open so moisture vapor can pass though the wall and dry out when necessary.  The cellulose is hygroscopic, meaning it can hold or buffer moisture vapor, which contributes to stable relative humidity on the interior.  It has a rain screen on the outside of the water control layer (Solitex Mento) that allows the cladding to breathe and prevents moisture being trapped behind the siding. Given the comfort and efficiency that this type of envelope can provide, the fact that it pushes a project toward PH certification becomes somewhat of an added bonus. “We have found that once our clients learn that they can have a house that is very comfortable and healthy, and also uses very little energy for heating and cooling, we don’t need to work very hard at selling the remarkable Passive House approach to home building,” says the firm’s founder, Richard Pedranti.

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Big in Bilbao In Bilbao, Spain, the Bolueta project is taking the PH movement to new heights. When completed, it will be the tallest PH building in the world, incorporating 361 units in three buildings: a 28-story tower, a smaller building, set aside for social housing and an under-construction 21-story tower. According to the architect, Spain-based Varquitectos, the façade is a combination of brick and a ventilated, glossy aluminium composite finish. Its insulation thickness is 10 cm of rock wool in the outside, with an additional 5 cm inside.

Affordable Passive The Windy City is also making strides in PH projects, specifically when it comes to affordable housing. Chicago’s Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) has developed a new wellness-centered housing development called Tierra Linda, located near the city’s 606 Trail—a three-mile-long linear park built on a defunct elevated rail line—in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Designed by Landon Bone Baker Architects (LBBA), the six-flat building is on track to receive PH certification—the first affordable multi-family housing of any sort to achieve PH certification in Illinois. The development also includes a “twin” building designed to comply with code-minimum energy requirements, which will allow the team to compare energy usage between the two. According to LBBA, a several wall types, both conventional and advanced, were studied to determine the most efficient exterior wall assembly. Chicago Building Code requires noncombustible framing like steel studs for exterior walls in six-flat structures. While this type of framing introduces undesirable thermal bridging that is significantly higher than conventional wood framing used elsewhere, the code compensates for this issue by requiring a continuous insulation layer—which becomes a driving factor in the wall assembly design for PH due to stringent thermal and performance requirements.

When designing the exterior wall assembly for the Tierra Linda project, the discussion focused on thermal performance (R-Value), thermal bridging, air sealing, moisture management, constructability and cost. Multiple assemblies were considered in an attempt to achieve the best balance. They are listed below, along with disadvantages and advantages: Conventional wall plus rigid (R-32) Disadvantages: Significant thermal bridging, specialty long fasteners required, potential installation compression/damage by hat channel. Advantage: Conventional construction Proprietary cladding clip system (R-28) Disadvantages: Expensive proprietary clip system, labor sequence requires three crews, insufficient R-value. Advantages: Highly effective thermal break, similar to conventional installation

“This is the best ratio found,” says Germán Velázquez Arizmendi with Varquitectos. “With less insulation, the efficiency was really worse, and with more, the gains were almost unmeasurable.”

Advanced conventional wall (R-27) Disadvantages: Significant thermal bridging, insufficient R-value. Advantages: Conventional construction, minimal construction trades required Double metal stud (R-35.5) Disadvantages: Difficult to panelize, condensation issues. Advantages: High R-value, highly effective thermal break

By keeping the exterior simple—using a continuous exterior insulation layer with no balconies or complicated shapes, geometric thermal bridges were eliminated.

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© Landon Bone Baker Architects

© Varquitectos

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Tall is becoming the norm for PH projects. When it opened, Cornell Tech’s 26-story, 270-ft.-tall “The House” residence hall was the tallest PH building in the world (though it has been surpassed by Bilbao, Spain’s Bolueta project). Its façade, constructed of a prefabricated metal panel system, acts as a thermally insulated blanket wrapping the structure. Actually, one façade acts as the building’s “gills” via a full-building-height louvered exterior space where the heating and cooling equipment live, allowing the system to breathe. In addition, the super-air tight skin drastically reduces the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the building, only opening at three places: the base, where it peels up to form the Porch structure; the top where, the edge rises up and down, expressing the spiral around the building revealing the roof terrace; and the elevator landings, expressed as a reveal between the planes of the wrap, which support the condensers for “gill” cooling equipment.

The wall type eventually used at Tierra Linda is 1in. deeper than the above R-27 system but much more effective. It eliminates thermal bridging and achieves a high R-value per inch while the single-source cladding system approach simplifies and streamlines constructability. It also allows for efficient moisture management with the drainage plane located at the air barrier that is created with the insulation adhesive.

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Typical Floor Schematic Duct Layout

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Heat Pump and Distribution with Remote Mount Condenser

Continuous Fresh Air Supply Tempered by ERV


Unit Exhaust Air into ERV

Un-tempered Fresh Outside Air into ERV

Exhaust Air from ERV

BUILT-IN BENCHMARK  The Tierra Linda development is the first affordable multi-family housing in Illinois to achieve PH certification. It includes a code-minumum “twin” for energy comparison.

© Landon Bone Baker Architects


Big Efficiency in the Big Apple New York’s three-story R-951 Residence apartment building hopes to establish a new benchmark for both efficiency and comfort. Designed by Paul A. Castrucci Architect, it is the city’s first residential project to achieve both PH and Net Zero Ready certifications, paving the way for projects to adhere to the city’s Green Zone regulations. Inspired by dense, urban landscapes prevalent in Asia, the front,


In addition, the project also incorporates a door U-value 0.09 (R-11), roof insulation of R-60 value, continuous under-slab rigid insulation and Isokorb steel attachment components—which significantly reduce thermal bridging at canopy and porch connections. The building also uses an energy-recovery ventilation (ERV) system to exchange the energy contained in the exhausted building air and precondition incoming outdoor fresh air. A less common wheel-type ERV (versus conventional plate type) was selected due to its high efficiency (over 80%), which was necessary to provide the required tempered air at minimum design temperatures. The equipment also meets the air cross-contamination level at 1.6%, which is well under the code threshold of 5%.

south-facing façade is highlighted by a folding screen system that lets residents adjust solar gain levels in the three 1,500-sq.-ft. units, all of which feature open loft layouts, high ceilings and abundant natural light and fresh air. The top of the building also takes advantage of natural light via a rooftop solar system, providing each apartment with 4 kW of grid-tied electricity—enough for virtually all the heating, cooling and appliance loads. Triple-glazed “tilt and turn” windows and doors

© Paul A Castrucci, Architect

Reaching New Heights

offer natural ventilation, light and views to the 5,600-sq.-ft. building, which is wrapped in a high-performance building envelope sealed with a breathable membrane system and stucco and zinc cladding. Assisting the envelope in its

efficient role is a Zehnder energy-recovery ventilation system providing constantly filtered fresh, low-humidity air and saving 94% of energy from exiting the building; a 1,200-gallon rainwater system provides water for landscape irrigation.

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The ABCs of Efficiency A new home for ABC No Rio is projected to be one of the first commercial PH certified buildings in New York City—and is expected to require only one quarter of the energy needed for a typical building of its size. The new building for the

group, a community arts organization with roots in the Lower East Side, will include performance spaces, exhibition spaces and artist studios. Designed by Paul A. Castrucci Architect, the project was conceived in conjunction with the New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Economic Development Corp. The

building’s envelope is expected to reach its Passive House goals with components such as a high-performance envelope with super-insulated walls and roof; two green roofs; high-performance low-E-glazed windows employing solar orientation and reflective bars; and a photovoltaic system at the roof level. © Paul A Castrucci, Architect

Passive Health Perhaps one of the most telling things about the passive housing trend is that fact that it’s not just about housing anymore. In fact, the world’s first hospital designed to the PH standard (by wörner traxler richter) is currently under construction in Frankfurt, Germany. Scheduled to open in 2020, the seven-story facility, 143 m long and more than 23 m tall, will have 664 beds, with the option to add 40 beds in the outpatient clinic. The new facility, which replaces an existing hospital built in the 1960s, was built to optimize internal processes and shorten distances that staff need to travel within the building.

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Of course, it was also designed with patient comfort in mind. Responding to studies suggesting that higher temperatures are typically desired in patient rooms, the temperature will be set to 22°C. And due to the building’s high level of thermal protection, this temperature goal can be achieved using less energy. The typically high differences between surface temperatures and room temperatures will be avoided thanks to this improved thermal insulation, as well as the building’s more than 1,000 triple-glazed windows. In addition, the ventilation system incorporates a heat-recovery component, ensuring the constant delivery of fresh preheated air to the rooms, as well as the efficient removal of unpleasant odors. And if that’s not enough, the windows are operable.

COORDINATION KEY A senior living center in Salt Lake City, Summit Vista required a UL-listed 349 wall assembly. LP FlameBlock Fire-Rated OSB sheathing was specified to create a 2-hour fire-rated wall. The issue was that it was the first time the material was applied at such a large scale. The project’s local material supplier, Burton Lumber, organized a pre-construction meeting between the builder, code officials and the framer to educate them on the hybrid sheathing. There, the supplier constructed a demonstration wall as a resource for the framers who had not used the product. Such foresight actually helped Burton Lumber secure the bid for a second building in the phased project. “Our pre-construction meeting is now the benchmark for every project moving forward,” said Brian Carlson, Burton’s GM. Burton Lumber continues to help educate on the materials and installation front. In fact, they’ve even provided architectural drawings. “A big advantage of LP FlameBlock is the sheet sizes,” said Carlson. “I can get it in 8- and 9-ft. lengths, where with plywood, I can only get it in 8-ft. lengths. The framers can go from plate to plate and don’t have to block it. It saves them time.” LP Building Solutions CIRCLE 306


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Graywater for Everyone? There is no denying that water recycling through graywater systems can have a significant impact on a building’s water consumption, and its resiliency. Properly treated and managed graywater can prove to be a wise investment. But is it for everyone?

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.


raywater has multiple benefits for commercial buildings but perhaps big picture, it helps build resiliency into that particular building. In the event of a water loss, the building would still have water supplied to various non-potable systems like HVAC, flushing plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems. Yet, when it comes to water recycling in commercial buildings, there are still some common barriers in terms of misconceptions and upfront costs. And while there isn’t a universal code for graywater yet, much of the regulations are left to the local jurisdictions and municipalities.

Some municipalities immediately reject a proposal for a graywater system because their codes may explicitly prohibit the use of graywater for irrigation or toilet flushing. “But those codes are meant to restrict the use of untreated graywater. Once graywater has been properly filtered and disinfected, it is technically no longer graywater. The proper term then is ‘On-Site Treated Non-Potable Water,’ and is suitable for flushing toilets, spray irrigation or cooling tower make-up. And there is usually not a problem reusing that,” says Bauer.

“For most of the country there is no national code allowing the use of non-potable water indoors. While some cities have proactively written indoor graywater use codes, many have not. The system could also be costly based on the level of treatment required by the local ordinance,” says Patrick Boyle, director of Corporate Sustainability at Sloan.

Furthermore, the industry is new, and there are misconceptions about the reliability or maintenance requirements for these systems. But those issues have mostly been resolved so that new generation systems are both reliable and do not require the maintenance efforts of earlier models.

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As far as we know, says John Bauer, president, Water Harvesting Solutions, there are no jurisdictions that prohibit the reuse of properly processed graywater. Regulations are rapidly changing across the country and the systems are being increasingly welcomed in more cities every year. Most likely is that a jurisdiction is unfamiliar with graywater reuse or does not yet have codes in place to regulate them. Then the team must go through a series of steps for review and approval as an “exception,” and that can take time and add costs. “We often hear customers confuse graywater as any non-potable water source,” says Bauer, “when the industry specifically defines the source as municipal water that has already been ‘lightly’ used once for bathing or washing.”


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 In the event of a water loss, the building would still have water supplied to various non-potable systems like HVAC, flushing plumbing fixtures and irrigation systems.

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Graywater by the Bay Yet California, for instance—ever progressive on the “green” front—promotes water recycling in its many forms. San Francisco, says Boyle, is one municipality that has promoted, and even required the use of graywater in some newer buildings.

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San Francisco State University (SFSU) Mashouf Wellness Center SFSU was projected to use 180,000 gallons per month for non-potable uses of toilet flushing and irrigation. Wahaso designed a system that stores 10,000 gallons of raw graywater and processed graywater. The system treats raw graywater in batches of 1,000 gallons, producing over 6,000 gallons of treated water per day. Raw graywater is pumped from the holding tank and mixed with chlorine and allowed to settle before filtration. Wahaso’s three-stage filtration process achieves California’s Title-22 water quality requirement with disk filtration, multi-media filtration and activated carbon filtration. Treated water is then stored in a second 10,000-gallon tank where it is pressurized to toilets and irrigation with well pumps.


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The 118,700-sq.-ft. Mashouf Wellness Center at San Francisco State University (SFSU) features a graywater system that provides water for site irrigation, as well as provide non-potable water to the water closets and urinals, to make the site net-zero non-potable water. Backwash water from the pool, as well as graywater from the showers and lavatories, is captured and processed on site to provide 100% of the non-potable water needed for flushing all toilets and for site irrigation, including an adjacent sports field. The solution was a win/win as it was cost neutral and allowed the project to take advantage of infrastructure already being installed and supported the adjacent sports field.

The project originally was planned to use a very high-efficiency pool filtration system; however, Interface Engineering recommended a water recovery system instead, since it was cost neutral and the building was already dual plumbed due to current regulations in the building’s zoning “One advantage in San Francisco is that we are required to dual plumb the plumbing systems due to the non-potable water ordinance—that is an investment that many projects have to make no matter what. Adding the graywater treatment system makes sense since they are then able to use piping they had to install anyway instead of having to wait for the city to complete their recycled water infrastructure for use,” says Shawn MacLean Wilson PE, Principal, Interface Engineering. That isn’t to say that graywater isn’t without its associated costs. “There is a definite upfront cost for the equipment and storage tanks, as well as the piping for the graywater collection and non-

 In addition to a significant supply of graywater from restrooms, weekly pool backwashing was projected to add 7,500 gallons to total graywater supply.

 The required graywater system could treat irregular supplies of raw graywater and store sufficient treated water to bridge back-washing cycles.

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© Frederick Fisher and Partners

Santa Monica City Services Building Santa Monica, Calif.

According to architect Frederick Fisher and Partners, once complete, the 50,000-sq.-ft. City Services Building will exceed Santa Monica’s current sustainability standards and set international records as the first municipal structure to receive Living Building Challenge Certification as a Net Zero Water and Net Zero Energy building.


WHILE THERE ISN’T A UNIVERSAL CODE FOR GRAYWATER YET, REGULATIONS ARE LEFT TO THE LOCAL JURISDICTIONS AND MUNICIPALITIES. Separate Piping potable water distribution. Additionally, there is maintenance cost to consider since ongoing water-quality testing is required for the system,” says Wilson. Also, the mix of fixtures in the building is a factor, says Bauer—whose graywater system is used at SFSU. “If you have a project that only has a few lavatories as the available graywater then it does not make sense to have a treatment system. The SFSU recreation center had many showers, as well as process sources like the pool filter backwash that generate a lot of available graywater. Also, there is the cost of ongoing testing and maintenance, which can be hard to manage if there is no onsite facilities group maintaining the building,” says Bauer. Ultimately, the biggest obstacle for SFSU was that the permitting process was complicated. “The San Francisco Public Utilities and California State Water Resources Control Board were not clear on who had jurisdiction when we were trying to get the system permitted. The university compliance officials had to mediate between them to get it sorted,” says Wilson.

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To harvest graywater, says Bauer, one needs to separate the water waste streams to collect shower and sink water and send blackwater from toilets and kitchen sinks to the municipal sewer. That requires separate plumbing in usually new construction, and obviously adds infrastructure cost for a system. Similarly, flushing toilets in a building with harvested water requires separate plumbing supply lines to all those fixtures, also adding infrastructure costs. According to Boyle, graywater would most likely not make sense as a retrofit system, but it would for new construction. A graywater capture and treatment system would need to be installed, separately piped throughout the building and properly maintained. Graywater systems are significantly more expensive than other types of harvesting systems and require costly infrastructure for plumbing. They are more complex and require more maintenance. “Cost is often the reason these systems are ‘value engineered’ out of a project. But in areas of low rainfall or very seasonal rains, these systems offer the best ROI and the most water savings,” says Bauer.

The City Services Building will be a an extension to the existing City Hall and will house efficient offices. BuroHappold Engineering designed two separate water strategies that will allow the building’s needs to be met by water harvested on site. According to Kim Fiffer, Associate, BuroHappold Engineering, the first is a system that captures and treats rainwater for potable use throughout the building, which will be supplemented by a ground well with reverse osmosis water treatment during low rainfall years. The second captures graywater and condensate from the air handling units, which will then be used for onsite irrigation.

ROYAL FLUSH As drought-stricken regions around the country face possible water shortages, municipalities are increasing the use of reclaimed water to help preserve potable resources. Using reclaimed water can save thousands of gallons each year. The Sloan Royal reclaimed water flushometer is engineered to withstand the harsh conditions reclaimed water presents.

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Getting a system in a municipality-approved area can require a lot of extra steps and work—and cost. “Many teams just don’t want to add that burden to a project, especially in areas that have sufficient rainfall to meet demand without needing to go to graywater harvesting,” says Bauer.


Benefits Aplenty Nevertheless, in addition to cumulative water savings, another benefit to installing a graywater system is the building’s reduced carbon footprint. Potable water, says Boyle, has a large embodied carbon footprint due to all the mechanical handling required to treat water to drinking standards. The less potable water the building uses, the less carbon is generated in the environment and the less water that is extracted from lakes and aquifers. If properly treated, says Boyle, graywater has no offensive odors and it will not induce any illness from non-consuming contact.

DOUBLE PLAY Xylem Bell & Gossett introduced its new line of double suction centrifugal pumps designed specifically for HVAC systems. The Series e-HSC features advanced hydraulics for powerful performance and best-in-class efficiency, along with a compact design for easier installation and maintenance. It simplifies B&G’s double suction pump portfolio and provides greater system optimization to improve efficiency and increase energy savings. The product line also boasts a smaller footprint, greater reliability and lower life cycle cost compared to similar pumps.



Rheem Plant—Nuevo Laredo, Mexico At the AHR Expo in Atlanta, Rheem executives discussed the company’s commitment to sus-

tainability around the world. One such example is Rheem’s Nuevo Laredo plant, which recovers an average of six million gallons per year through water recovery used in its manufacturing process. The

water is treated by mixing, filtration and chemical processes, and the recovered water returns to the plant and the residue water returns to the urban sewer system.

Xylem Bell & Gossett CIRCLE 303


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Salesforce Tower, San Francisco Salesforce Tower is the tallest building in San Francisco, joining the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Building as one of the skyline’s defining elements. Pelli Clarke Pelli won an international competition in 2007 to design the tower and the Salesforce Transit Center at its base. Together, the two buildings represent a novel approach to publicprivate collaboration and sustainability in an urban setting. At its base, the tower connects directly to the Transit Center, which will house 11 Bay Area transit systems. On top of the Transit Center and linked directly to the tower is a 5.4-acre public park. Each floor of the tower has integrated metal sunshades, calibrated to maximize light and views while reducing solar gain. High performance, low-E glass also helps to reduce the building’s cooling load. Cooling may be provided in part

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by heat-exchanging coils wrapped around the tower’s foundations. The tower and transit center feature one of the largest on-site water recycling system in a commercial high-rise building in the U.S. Wastewater—from sources such as rooftop rainwater collection, cooling towers, showers, sinks, toilets and urinals— will be collected and treated in a centralized water treatment center. From there, the recycled water will recirculate through a separate pipe system to serve non-drinkable uses in the Salesforce building, like drip irrigation and toilet flushing. The system will reduce the building’s drinkable water consumption, saving up to 30,000 gallons of fresh water a day. The Aquacell system will treat 40,000 gallons of blackwater in the new 1000+-ft. tall building, making it the largest on-site water recycling system in a commercial high-rise within the U.S. The wastewater at the

tower will be collected from a range of sources, including toilets, urinals, cooling tower, showers and sinks. The wastewater will subsequently be treated in the Aquacell, a centralized blackwater treatment system. The recycled water is then used for non-potable applications including toilet flushing, irrigation and cooling tower applications. As mentioned, the system is set to save nearly 30,000 gallons/ day of drinking water—7.8 million gallons/year)— and it will recycle a quantity equivalent to the annual water consumption of 16,000 San Francisco residents. In collaboration with the city of San Francisco and Boston Properties, the blackwater system will be installed in Salesforce Tower making it the first partnership in the U.S. between a city government, building owner and a tenant to support blackwater reuse in a commercial high-rise building.


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Learning from the Past Net-zero designers share some lessons learned daylighting pointers in seeking that elusive balance between lighting reduction, glare and occupant comfort and control. More than half of a reduction in lighting power density and dimming must be achieved through daylighting to make net zero feasible.

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.


s a key pillar of net-zero projects, a successful daylighting design is critical. “It’s absolutely essential to achieve a cost-effective energy reduction in any commercial project,” states Christopher Gorthy, principal, DPR Construction, Reston, Va. While on-site renewable energy generally does a good job of meeting load requirements, designers say that a 50% to 70% reduction in lighting power density and dimming must be achieved through natural daylight strategies in order to make a net-zero project fly. At the same time, glare, hot spots, user override and schedule changes can easily derail a successful project from the standpoint of comfort and energy savings.

Key Daylighting Challenges After close to two decades of net-zero projects, architects and contractors reflect on key daylighting challenges and share some key lessons learned. Generally speaking, Gorthy has observed that many daylight challenges originate from a lack of focus on glare control and/or a lack of understanding the yearly cycle of the sun’s angles. The effects of reflected light from neighboring buildings, and even car windshields is another hazard that trips designers up. “In some instances, we decided to utilize no shades or mechanical shades in lieu of automatic operated systems to ensure we have options once a space has been occupied,” explains Gorthy. “This can be a great strategy to see how the space will actually be used prior to investing in mitigation strategies.”

daylight. “I think, where possible, we would push for great utilization of Solatube-type skylights in more areas even though that requires more coordination with other rooftop systems,” he adds. One issue that all projects seem to struggle with is when the lights are dimmed or turned off during the day, as it often creates glare issues and hot spots. While it’s always possible to mitigate this issue via automated internal blinds, external shading, electrochromic glazing and various other strategies, Colin Rohlfing, Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C, director of sustainable development, HDR Architecture, Chicago, points out that the dimming potential is then reduced. Furthermore, if owners take away too much control from users, there is a greater chance that occupants will be unhappy and the overall system performance will be compromised, thereby reducing the predicted energy savings. “Daylighting is oftentimes the feature that is most recognized by the everyday users of our buildings,” states Garth Shaw, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, director of sustainability, GSBS Archi-

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In one case, if they had to do it all over again, Gorthy says the firm would have invested in electronically controlled shades in conference rooms because the manual shades were often left at varying heights or closed all together, thereby minimizing the amount of intended


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 DAYLIGHT GAIN By applying valuable information gained in the field, SmithGroupJJR delivered a great daylit design for DPR Construction’s net-zero Washington, D.C. office.


People are Spending Too Much Time Indoors A new comprehensive YouGov daylighting survey of 16,000 people worldwide reveals that 63% of folks believe that daylight affects their productivity. The resulting “Indoor Generation” report also discloses 18% of people spend nearly all day indoors. These findings support World Health Organization research reporting that people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, isolating themselves from nature. Furthermore, a review published by the National Research Council Canada suggested that people in Western countries might not be receiving adequate exposure to daylight and this could be detrimental to our wellbeing. Responding to these concerns, Peter Foldbjerg, head of daylight, energy and indoor climate, The VELUX Group, Copenhagen, Denmark, points out that personnel costs typically account for 90% of a business’ operating expenses, which begs the question, “do the offices and schools offer the right thinking-environment that boosts the performance of employees and children’s learning?”

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tects, Salt Lake City. “When it is right, they notice. When it is wrong, they notice!” Consequently, designers are constantly working to find that balance between in lighting reduction, glare and occupant comfort and control. Of course, this is much easier said than done. No matter how well thought out daylighting systems are, these systems can be distracted with ever changing outdoor daylight conditions which constantly impact the amount of artificial lighting required to provide consistent levels of foot candles, says Gorthy. “Determining the right balance of energy savings, utilization of daylight, while also providing a high-quality, consistent level of lighting, can be a challenge.

 OUTDOOR VIBE This living art exhibit reflects people not getting outside enough for proper wellbeing.

When you factor in the combination of lighting, daylighting and plug-load control—and finding the right number of zones, timing and lighting level—it’s an ongoing learning process. In fact, Gorthy says in one office case, it’s almost been two years post-occupation.

Commissioning Of course, making sure that daylighting and solar controls are performing as intended, is part of this process. “As much as you design and predict performance, nothing is more important than confirming that a system is properly functioning and that users understand the systems within their space, and grasp how the space has been designed to maximize daylighting con-


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 LESSONS LEARNED These models of DPR Construction’s Washington, D.C. office, with and without Solatubes at 9 a.m. on the autumnal equinox, were influenced by lessons learned from previous projects, and were a key part of determining daylighting need in the new space.

siderations,” states Jacob Pohlman, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, associate, electrical engineer, SmithGroupJJR, Washington, D.C. Ideally, he would like to see that all sensors be tested; unfortunately, this is rarely possible or feasible. That said, he highly recommends locating the sensors in spots that best avoid artificial light so that they can properly respond to daylighting trends. In addition to checking and confirming positioning, it is also important to confirm that the sensors dim lights to specified design levels. “Commission of lighting systems down to this level can easily be overlooked, but without confirming proper functionality, the owner could be losing many of the possible daylight-related energy savings,” he warns. Furthermore, lighting energy performance must be checked shortly after occupancy. By paying attention to trends and analyzing results early on, this will help avoid the shock of sub-par performance and energy savings down the road. Along these lines, Pohlman stresses the importance of architects relaying key, actionable information on actual lighting usage to their clients so that they can pass this information along to their staff. “It is critical that users understand how scheduling impacts systems performance, and that tweaks, adjustments or overrides be revisited to ensure that systems are returned to intended design parameters.”

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Revisiting Projects In studying post occupancy in net-zero projects, designers are benefiting from a host of valuable information, which they are then able to use to correct substandard performance, if possible, and make sure those daylighting design and performance mistakes are not made on future projects. Case in point, a post-occupancy survey of the HDR-designed Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College in British Columbia, Canada, revealed 31% of negative comments about the building were related to the lighting. “The problems ranged from not enough light on overcast winter days, to too much glare in the summer,” relates Rohling. “Part of the issue was a lack of manual controls in which the users were unable to turn on/off the artificial lighting.” Based on this feedback, it became clear that providing more controls for users and relying less on the automation would help them adjust the light levels and allow them to choose from natural or artificial light.

Reflecting back on one of SmithGroup’s earlier projects, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Merrill Center in Annapolis, Md., the design, completed in 2000, demonstrates how the best intentions for daylighting can compromise comfort. Offering some background, Greg Mella, vice president, corporate director of sustainability, SmithGroupJJR, Washington D.C., explains that 20 years ago, the industry’s knowledge of how to achieve good daylighting was just emerging, and the tools and software for daylight optimization didn’t yet exist. That said, the design approach for this non-net zero project was to maximize daylight and minimize passive solar heating by relying on a south-facing window wall. “While the design’s brise soleil shielded the interior from unwanted solar heat gain during the summer, it allowed abundant daylighting during the winter,” he relates. “Too much daylighting in fact, which resulted in unwanted glare, compromises user comfort.”


SURVEY REPORTS CONTRACTOR GLAZING PREFERENCES The survey, conducted by an independent research firm and sponsored by Vitro Architectural Glass, found that close to 80% of respondents view fabricated glass as a “critical-path” material for project planning and scheduling; nearly twothirds say the contract price was the most critical factor in selecting a glazing contractor; almost 60% say lead times were either “extremely important” or “very important” for job scheduling; 53% identify finished work as most important; and utilizing a fabricator certified by a glass manufacturer is considered “extremely important” or “very important” by a majority of respondents.

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“This case study perfectly exemplifies the need for daylight modeling with glare and mitigation strategies to find the perfect balance that still allows for an agreeable reduction in lighting energy use,” he explains.  LIGHT CONTROL Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, Va., is a net-zero energy, net-zero waste and net-zero water facility, and the 10th certified Living Building Challenge building in the world.

5% 18%




Not Sure

Do you consider the fabricated glass to be a critical-path material for project planning/scheduling? More than 3⁄4 of general contractors surveyed said glass was a “critical-path” material for project planning and scheduling.

EFFORTLESS SHADE LIFT With its new manual shade lift technology, the Mecho/5x enables users to lift larger and heavier window shades with minimal effort. The system’s re-engineered chain pull adds a greater angle of pull and consistently raises the blinds with just one mechanism. The shade lift offers a 25-year warranty and can operate blinds as large as 288-feet wide and 120-feet tall. Mecho Systems CIRCLE 302

© PrakashPatel/SmithGroupJJR

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This diagram shows the

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Applying Lessons Learned

Fortunately, the architects were able to remedy the glare with interior blinds and light shelves. Collaborating with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation once again, 15 years later, on the design of the Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, Va., SmithGroupJJR benefited from daylight simulation tools, along with the experience from the successes and mistakes made in the Merrill Center’s design. This ultimately helped deliver a net-zero energy, net-zero waste and net-zero water project, the 10th certified Living Building Challenge building in the world. “We used a lot less glass along the south façade and relied on north-facing clerestory windows to bear the brunt of the daylighting. To balance control of unwanted solar heat gain with the desire for sufficient daylight, we downsized windows while relying on an open office layout with bright colored finishes and ceilings, to enhance daylighting—getting more from less,” says Mella. A post-occupancy survey of users demonstrated a high level of occupant satisfaction and comfort, especially with regards to lighting, and the building uses 96% less energy for lighting than a conventional office building.

Based on their experiences with managing daylight, energy savings and glare, on a recent education project, GSBS used a combination of transparent vertical glazing with translucent transom glass above, skylights and clerestory re-lights to daylight classrooms. While design may seem like overkill, Shaw says it allowed his team to provide an evenly lit space while almost completely decoupling the glare control from daylighting. “The vertical glazing has manual shades that occupants can drop if direct light is causing visual discomfort, but the translucent transom glazing above along with the skylights and clerestory re-lights ensure the space is still reasonably daylit even when glare control devices are engaged,” he explains. For a current water treatment educational center in Utah, GSBS has found, through early-phase energy modeling, that a high window-to-wall ratio on the south façade, coupled with a high thermal mass floor and a large south roof overhang, consumes less energy than a low windowto-wall ratio on the south façade. But while the space is modeled to perform well in the winter and summer months, it is overheating during the spring and fall. “We are refining external shading

FORGING AHEAD WITH FORGENT Constructed with Glastra—a a hybrid of fiberglass and UV-stable polymer—Kolbe’s Forgent Series of casements, awnings, double hungs and sliding windows offer energy efficiency and durability. An integral nailing fin, and welded sash and frame provide rigidity, keeping units square, and preventing air and water from entering the joint. The frames can be installed with an integral nailing fin, installation clips or screw through frame. Koble Windows & Doors CIRCLE 301

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© HDR Architecture 1 2 3

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Ventilation chimney Primary wind direction South facing glazing to super heat air and increase stack effect Summer sun Winter sun


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6 7 8 9


Brise soleil Operable windows Shaft for natural ventilation In-wall lighting designed to imitate sunlight reflecting off the walls Clerestory windows in large shop spaces

 BUILDING CONTROL A post occupancy study of the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at Okanagan College in British Columbia, Canada, directed the design team to give more control over natural and artificial light levels to the building occupants.

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As the tallest passive house building in the world at 26 stories, The House at Cornell Tech, designed by Handel Architects, features an innovative system of prefabricated metal panels. Triple-pane windows, mineral wool insulation and air and vapor barriers were factory-sealed into large, single-story curtainwall assemblies and then hoisted on to the building as fully integrated units. The super-tight

insulation, combined with highly efficient heating, cooling and fresh-air circulation systems reduce energy consumption by 70%, as compared to conventional designs. To make the design pop, Handel worked with PPG to custom color the façade with DURANAR MXL coatings. PPG was involved with trying to style two primary colors. One was for the primary skin of The House, which the architects wanted in a silver color that shifted to a gold or champagne color. The second was for the large window

strategies to optimize performance during the shoulder-seasons and are concurrently developing occupant zoning and glare control strategies that allow us to take advantage of the direct sun in the winter months while preventing visual discomfort in the classrooms,” says Shaw. Meanwhile, DPR has been using its own net-zero offices as laboratories for systems, tools, and for providing real-time feedback to its clients who are considering some of the same daylighting, lighting and control techniques. For instance, DPR’s Washington D.C. area office with its WELL certification, was required to perform pre- and post-occupancy surveys of its employees to ensure engagement and productivity. “This approach and partnership has demonstrated tremendous positive results versus our original office,” explains Gorthy. “At the same time, it provides us with key information on how to continue to evolve the office, truly keeping the office functional as a living laboratory.”

well panels, which they wanted to paint in “a bronze with something special.” “We were looking for a paint that would be dynamic–one that would add depth and life to the facades,” says Deborah Moelis, principal, Handel Architects, New York. While the façade’s performance is impressive, the bigger story is demonstrating the feasibility of large passive houses and establishing a template for constructing more big passive house projects in the U.S.

SmithGroupJJR’s latest NZE project was actually DPR’s Sacramento office. Drawing from their other DPR projects and other net-zero projects around the country, the firm came armed with a better understanding of how to model light levels from light tubes, the need to balance acoustics with daylighting, and optimally allotting rooftop space for the photovoltaic array and for skylights/light tubes, the project design and process proceeded more seamlessly. SmithGroupJJR has also gained a greater understanding of close knit project team integration and coordination. This involves multiple meetings, open lines of communication and constant shifting and adjusting of other trades in order to maximize the daylighting strategy.

A LIGHT GRAY NEUTRAL TINT Responding to architect requests for a light gray, neutral, tinted glass with a high visible light transmittance, AGC introduces Solarshield Majestic Grey. Available as a monolithic lite for use in laminated, tempered, heat-strengthened, bent configurations, or as part of an insulated glass unit, the glass can also accept a low-emissivity coating for optimized performance. Available in 0.25-in. and 5/16-in. thicknesses, the glass offers a VLT of 65%. AGC Glass North America CIRCLE 300

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Best Practices Sharing some of this valuable information from his firm’s net-zero experiences, Garth Shaw, GSBS Architects, offers the following:  Be holistic in a daylight strategy throughout the entire building, not just critical task areas.  Establish daylighting goals and strategies early in a project and then validate through analysis/simulation. When trying to develop good daylight strategies into projects, at a minimum, perform annual horizontal illuminance studies along with false color luminance renderings of multiple spaces in the project. Analyzing horizontal work surfaces alone—which is an industry standard—provides an incomplete picture of daylight quality.  De-couple daylighting schemes from manual glare control as much as possible. This may seem counter-intuitive, but is vital if a daylighting scheme is to perform as anticipated. There are many strategies to accomplish this: bring in daylight from multiple wall surfaces or top lighting with diffuse skylights.  Create an education/ training plan for building occupants. Occupant behavior is the biggest variable that cannot be fully anticipated during the design process.  Work with those that are already evaluating and adjusting the building after-occupancy to collect data and improve your own net-zero design strategies.


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Building IQ with Smart Controls Although many controls in a building automation system are inherently “smart,” more intelligent controls help make built environments smarter and better equipped to optimize energy use; therefore, energy efficiency is the end result.

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.


inety percent of commercial buildings under 100,000 sq. ft. are not typically controls operated,” said Carl Bernard, director, control sales, LG Electronics, at this past AHR Expo, talking about the opportunity in the commercial market for more efficient buildings through better controls. For the most part, says Bernard, building management solutions (BMS) haven’t been used in these types of buildings because of expense, complexity and proprietary software requiring specific expertise made them difficult to implement and maintain. Additionally, the user interface provided by BMS systems has been too complicated for the majority of building operators in this segment. Enter smart controls: these high-IQ controls help make built environments smarter and better equipped to optimize energy use, says Mike Smith, senior manager of marketing communications, Mitsubishi Electric/Trane HVAC U.S. Smart controls, he says, enable HVAC systems equipped with variable-capacity compressors to automatically, and immediately, respond to end-user comfort needs and outdoor conditions as they change throughout the day; by doing so opens new opportunities for energy savings.

maintenance issues. Smart controls also have the ability to make decisions based on thirdparty data, such as weather forecasts, and adjust operation on approaching conditions. Another way smart controls can be particularly effective is in regard to maintenance. Smart controls can continually monitor equipment performance and once anomalies are detected, signifying a potential failure, alert a designated service provider before comfort is impacted. “These smart systems work to provide even greater energy efficiency and sustainability because rather than a reactive, blanketed approach to management, they are proactive, and uniquely tailored to habits of the occupants,” says Bernard. Many controls in a building automation system are inherently smart, suggests Pat Tessier, Global Offering Leader, Building Automation and Energy Services, Honeywell Building Technology. A smart control, he says, is a device that can capture, store, analyze and report information. “The trend is to drive more

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These controls are able to respond to comfort needs by remembering set points established for various moments in the day based on occupancy. “By removing the need for manually maintaining settings, buildings with smart controls also have reduced opportunities for human error to negatively influence efficiency measures,” says Smith. According to Bernard, intelligent controls refer to those systems that use real-time data to learn patterns in human and machine behavior to proactively optimize operation and address potential


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Kunsan Air Base, South Korea Honeywell announced a $28 million infrastructure modernization project with Kunsan Air Base, a U.S. Air Force Base located in South Korea. The project includes facility upgrades that aim to help improve infrastructure and equipment reliability while lowering the base’s annual energy consumption by more than 18% and water consumption by over 7%. The project is expected to generate approximately $1.7 million in annual energy savings. The project is expected to reduce the base’s annual energy consumption by nearly 14,423,144 kWh—enough energy to power approximately 1,159 homes for a year. Honeywell and the U.S. Air Force expect to complete the project in Nov. 2020.

intelligence closer to the edge of the network. This means that devices in the past that were not “smart,” are becoming smart. The capabilities of edge devices are increasing so these devices can send information about their operation, performance, longevity, etc.,” says Tessier.

Integration Component Controls offer a lot of flexibility and can be used from the smallest scale projects to the largest. A building manager of a large commercial office space can utilize more advanced controls technology to automate multiple HVAC systems within the same building. “These technologies often allow for integration of other systems, such as lighting or carbon monoxide detection systems, into the same controls software for added efficiency and streamlining. HVAC systems will have different controls needs depending on their applications,” says Smith.

Scalability is one of the most critical factors in implementing building management system because as the building’s need change based on usage or systems are upgraded the infrastructure needs to be able to support those changes. “A good analogy to this is going for a medical exam,” says Bernard. “When a patient gets a checkup, the data reflects a point-in-time understanding of the patient’s health but without an understanding of the trended data, it is hard to know where to make changes to best improve the overall health.” In a building, looking into each building system individually, continues Bernard, can provide some telling information; but when that data is combined across different systems and then reviewed in context of trended data, facility managers have a clearer view into the overall operation and can make more effective decisions for better operational efficiency and more dynamic troubleshooting.



“The upgraded solutions and better visibility into building level energy usage will help Kunsan greatly improve its environmental impact and fuel usage, helping it to be more energy resilient in its remote location,” says John Rajchert, president, Honeywell Building Solutions.


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The project—funded by a 25-year energy savings performance contract awarded to Honeywell—includes installing newer and more reliable equipment, and modernizing temperature, humidity and lighting controls. This will help base officials meet the strategic energy goals of the U.S. Air Force that include improving base resiliency and optimizing energy efficiency.

The DC-8000 Controller is a compact, Internet-ready controller and server platform, as part of its Diamond Controls Solutions offering. The controller is built with Niagara4 technology, the latest version of Tridium’s Niagara Framework, for optimum performance. The new interface and platform takes advantage of the Internet of Things, including advanced visualization and new search, security and navigation tools. Mitsubishi Electric CIRCLE 299

 CENTRALIZED MANAGEMENT Honeywell will upgrade the building controls through its Enterprise Buildings Integrator (EBI), an integrated platform that ties together building systems for centralized monitoring and control. EBI will enhance mission readiness and resiliency by delivering a single point of control and enabling real-time decision making.

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Energy Reduction in the Big Apple As Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to reveal new details on New York’s landmark pledge to reach 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, the YMCA of Greater New York joins the effort with a city-wide energy efficiency project at 21 branches. With the help of a $700,000 NYSERDA grant, YMCA branches are receiving state-ofthe-art smart building technology and training to reduce their energy load and help ensure the state meets its aggressive renewable energy goals. BuildingIQ and Gotham 360 have collaborated to the help the YMCA of Greater New York reduce energy consumption across 21 branches. NYSERDA’s


How a building is used changes over time and the control system needs to adapt to these changes. “The way to look at scalable a system is to understand the lower and upper limits of the system. Can the system easily add additional plant controllers and seamlessly integrate into an existing supervisor? Is it easy to add additional VAV controllers and fan coil controllers without having to redesign the system? Can the control system expand to keep up with the future demands?” asks Tessier. When designing a control system, it is important to understand how the building is/ will be used.

Greening the Grid Strategic electrification efforts are gaining ground as more people understand the importance of decreasing the reliance on fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy methods. “We recognize, however, that while it’s great that we’re reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, the worldwide demand

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UBER Advanced Technologies Group—Pittsburgh, Pa.

program sought creative proposals from service providers that would analyze whole building energy data, identify energy savings opportunities and carry out implementation support services. After a highly competitive process, Gotham 360 advisory services with BuildingIQ’s 5i Intelligent Energy Platform were selected to optimize energy at the New York City YMCA facilities and are eligible for a NYSERDA incentive of up to $700,000. “Saving energy in our branches and creating a more sustainable environment is one more way we can make our community stronger,” said Sharon Greenberger, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York.

for energy production will strain electric grids. We will still need to create more infrastructure to support the demand,” says Smith.

As the main campus for UBER’s autonomous vehicle research and development labs, the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) building presented a unique design challenge. Vehicle testing garages sit side-by-side with state-of-theart conference rooms and office space. This drove the need for zone control and specialized ventilation. Mitsubishi Electric CITY MULTI VRF technology applied with PremiSys-Fusion DOAS managed via Diamond Controls Solutions was the answer. Diamond Controls features a full graphical interface and streamlines scheduling and HVAC management by zone, in-person or remotely. “The best part of the interface is that we have remote access from anywhere,” said TJ Wolkiewicz, facilities lead, UBER ATG.

The Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance aims to cut CO2 emissions by 80% to 100% worldwide by 2050, with a pilot program currently in place in several U.S. cities, continues Smith. A drastic reduction in CO2 emissions is in part achieved through simultaneous strategic electrification efforts to modernize technology, transportation systems and the built environment to be powered through renewable sources that do not produce CO2. Says Smith, smart controls and sensors enable VRF systems to contribute by allowing VRF systems to operate more intelligently and efficiently in response to user demands and environmental conditions.


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Illumination Beyond Energy Savings Although somewhat counter-intuitive, focusing lighting decision-making mainly based on financial benefits alone as the result of energy savings might not be the best strategy in convincing clients to embrace more advanced lighting options.

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.


ntegrated design and planning is frequently noted as a bellmark for delivering successful net-zero projects. This is absolutely the case where lighting is concerned, but when trying to determine the best use of tight budget dollars, wellness, or meeting 2030 objectives, might be arguably the better case. Why? While it’s absolutely the general consensus that saving energy through the application of the most efficient lighting is well founded, it is also an over-generalization. In reality, every building owner/operator faces the dilemma of where to invest capital and commit to operating expenses that often leads to compromises. Simply stating that installing the most efficient “everything”—even when every individual component can be shown to produce a reasonable payback period—is simply not practical. Highly efficient products carry price premiums, while capital to invest in them is not always available.

reduce lighting loads to 7%, for a saving of 10% of total electrical energy purchased. However, a similar total result can be attained with improvements to HVAC equipment that, just by updating controls and motor components alone, could delivers near 28% savings. Food sales facilites offer another example, where 41% of electricity consumed is for refrigeration, 24% for HVAC, while lighting consumes roughly 7%. If it were assumed that this sector would realize a saving of 75% from application of the most efficient lighting available, the total demand would be reduced to 2%, for a total saving of 5%. To achieve similar results, investment in upgrades to refrigeration equipment, that delivers as little as 3%, prove be a less costly approach. In mercantile (retail and malls combined), lighting represents 20% of electricity use.

42 

Statements about the amount of energy lighting consumes range widely, with some stating as much as 23% (+/-) of all electrical energy consumed; the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has calculated that lighting represents 8% of total energy consumed by commercial and residential sectors, and 6% of total electrical energy consumed. But within application sectors, the portion of energy used for lighting varies. For example, according to the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), lighting loads in educational facilities are 17% of total electrical consumption, as is computing. However, for these facilities, HVAC consumes over 36% the total power load. It begs the question as to which system precious budget dollars would be best served. The application of LED lighting, for example—generating a savings of 60%—would


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State of Wireless Leading a recent panel on wireless control sponsored by the National Lighting Bureau, Doyle Young, formerly with Casambi Technologies, noted wireless systems continue to grow rapidly, but “wired” control should not be abandoned, especially where resiliency matters. In areas like southern Florida, concrete is used extensively to construct hurricane-resistant buildings and concrete can quickly absorb the radio waves wireless protocols rely on. And when wireless control units are installed inside luminaires, they tend to be surrounded by metal, which can significantly limit radio-wave propagation. That said, Bluetooth mesh is likely to be the protocol of the future, Young said, because it permits simple Internet of Things integration, enabling many devices to communicate data beyond lighting, such as weather data.

DARK SKY SOLUTION The umbrella design of the Night Sky High Lumen Post Light allows installers to fold down individual LED lobes to focus light onto surrounding pavement. EarthTronics CIRCLE 298


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Lighting’s Impact on Energy The chart highlights the percentages of energy lighting consumes, and how much can be saved with better technology such as LED. Offices offer the best opportunities, at least in retrofit scenarios.

 40




17% 07%




Projected Actual

Food Sales Facility 07% Lighting 24% HVAC 31% Refrigeration 38% Misc.

Mercantile 20% Lighting 32% HVAC 27% Refrigeration 21% Misc.

However, HVAC (32%) is higher, as is refrigeration (27%). This varies by type of retail, with grocery and stores employing refrigeration seeing the highest demand for non-lighting energy, and simpler non-perishable goods retail outlets see HVAC and lighting as their greatest opportunity to realize savings. If LED lighting is either retrofit or planned into new buildings, at a saving of 60%, lighting loads would be reduced to 8% of total energy consumed, for a total savings of 12% of total electrical energy purchased. In offices, HVAC represents 40% of energy consumed, while lighting is just 17%. Further, office equipment and computing (24%) are plug loads that require little or no business disruption to apply in the work of reducing power consumption.

Educational Faciliites 17% Lighting 36% HVAC 17% Computing 30% Misc.

Offices 17% Lighting 40% HVAC 24% Computing 19% Misc.

However, application of either retrofit lamps or up-to-date LED lighting (new construction) are easily applied and can trim lighting demand by as much as 60%, cutting total consumption for lighting to just 7%, for a total savings of 10% of total building electrical consumption. Perhaps the better argument to make is the role light plays in human health and wellbeing. Recent studies indicate that sacrificing light, through reduced light levels and lower lighting quality—to achieve lofty energy savings goals—is having a detrimental effect on human occupants. Fortunately, the advent of solid-state lighting, opens the door to optimizing energy savings to achieve 2030 Net Zero targets, while simultaneously improving human factors.

 THE RIGHT MIX Complementing the building’s architecture, while delivering spaces that were friendly and fun, was the mission of lighting designer Chris Roybal.

Two For One Located in rapidly growing Ridgefield, Wash., the new Ridgefield School building is home to two distinct schools that

share a common site. LSW Architects took the lead on the design, while Interface Engineering was brought in for specific aspects of the project, including lighting. Luminis

fixtures were specified throughout the school. Various luminaires from the Syrios product family were used both indoors and out to maintain a common design

aesthetic, and LumiSTIK products feature prominently in several indoor areas, delivering aesthetics and the energy savings to meet the tough state code.

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that Legionella accounted for 66% of reported drinking water-associated outbreaks, and Legionella in building plumbing systems lead to drinking water-associated outbreaks. Part of this rise correlates to the fact that there wasn’t really any testing being done for Legionella.

In the pages of this publication we cover rainwater, even graywater, quite often. So naturally, I said yes to a health-focused seminar sponsored by Watts, a manufacturer of rainwater harvesting and water quality solutions. The event’s keynote speaker was Frank Sidari, technical director of the Special Pathogens Laboratory (SPL). He spoke about a growing concern regarding Legionella, which has surfaced in a couple of cases of late, even leading to a number of deaths in Illinois. “No one should die from a preventable disease caused by bacteria in water,” said Sidari, who pointed out it is found 30%-50% of all cooling towers—begging the question as to whether it’s time to re-evaluate traditional HVAC and plumbing systems in context other than achieving more precise control and efficiencies. But even if such measures are taken by more proactive design teams, because there is little to no testing for it, even public water supplies

may contaminate the plumbing systems of large buildings. In fact, Sidari says Legionella bacteria are found in 50% of all building water systems—up to 60% of large high-rise buildings—and in hospitals, the number can be as high as 70%. Legionella typically manifests itself in a building’s warm water systems, but it’s sometimes found in decorative fountains, pools, spas—so take that into consideration when implementing more aggressive rainwater harvesting measures, as sometimes, in the zeal to save water, there is not enough water flow within piping systems to prevent such issues. Other variables, such as distribution, velocity and temperature, play an important part for risk reduction. But I believe water testing should be on the level of imperative as water conservation.

Risk factors, such as water supply, building use and size, system design and hot water set-up, all contribute to a safe and effective plumbing system. Safeguarding against potential health hazards, or even possible future legal issues, seems like a logical reason to “monitor” these pathogens. Doing so is not such a far-flung notion; in New York state, environmental assessments require a Legionella sampling, and that a risk-management plan be put in place in cases where <30% distal outlet positivity requires corrective action. Standards are also already in place, as ASHRAE 188, which was approved in 2015 and revised in 2018, establishes minimum Legionellosis riskmanagement requirements. Their code adoption is another matter.


Do It Right the First Time

Understand that zero Legionella is not the goal, as according to the SPL, a level of zero Legionella is virtually impossible in complex water systems—zero cases, via protective measures, is the goal. As we’ve found in covering most projects achieving net zero, an aggressive water management plan is a big part of the process. I’m arguing that plan should be expanded to consider this health issue, as well-being is often as important a factor as efficiency in many such projects. Of course, each building owner must assess the risk and validate their water management plans. But in the end, such a risk assessment may just save your client’s life.

John Mesenbrink Contributing Editor


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