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A S H RA E

JOURNAL

The following article was published in ASHRAE Journal, June 1998. Copyright 1998 American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, Inc.
It is presented for educational purposes only. This article may not be copied and/or distributed electronically or in paper form without permission of ASHRAE.

Sustainable Construction

Efficiency Through Design Integration


By Giuliano Todesco
Member ASHRAE

was buildings that were not designed to


coexist with the weather and were costly
to operate. Amory Lovins aptly stated that
modern buildings are sealed boxes with
inoperable glazingsveritable solar ovens that, with the aid of mechanical cooling, were miraculously turned into refrigerators.4
The problem was further compounded

play energy and emissions that are 20 to


25% lower, while a fully weather-integrated design might achieve a reduction
of over 35%.

n the first half of the 20th century,


HVAC systems and fluorescent
Design and Weather
lighting were developed to meet
indoor comfort needs. Reliable and
Before the advent of modern design
economic air conditioning was introduced
practices, buildings were protected from
that, together with ventilation systems,
the inclement weather or designed to take
could distribute cooled and deadvantage of fair weather
humidified air anywhere in a
through orientation and strabuilding. Similarly, the fluorestegic placement of entrances
cent lamp became a cheap and
and windows. In damp and
reliable artificial light source.
windy locations such as EnBefore the introduction of
gland, for example, church enmechanical HVAC equipment,
trances usually had side
climatenot building style or
porches facing south to proappearancewas the major detect from wind and rain, while
terminant of building form.1
cathedrals in France had the
Comfort was achieved through
typical west-facing entrance
passive means and architectural
leading directly into the aisles.8
features built into the design.
Similarly, the use of natural
However, with the advent of
lighting was planned into the
new technologies, architects
building design. Architects utiwere no longer constrained by
lized a number of design feathe need to ensure that buildtures such as atriums, clerestoings had ample daylighting, reries, and more recently the light
mained airy and cool in the sumshelf, or a narrow building demer and warm in the winter. Since
sign to bring natural lighting
HVAC equipment and fluores- Figure 1: Dependence of total energy consumption on build- into building interiors. Other
cent lighting could satisfy com- ing charateristics.
techniques were also used to
fort needs, architects could purkeep buildings comfortable in
sue unrestricted designs without making by the tendency to oversize mechanical the summer, ranging from finishing the
equipment (based on the use of over- building exterior in light colors to induccomfort part of the architectural design.
These innovations started a design stated building loadsi.e., lighting loads, ing natural ventilation via thermal stacks.9
revolution. With the freedom to pursue equipment loads and occupant densiIn contrast, modern construction
the architectural design as a pure art form, tiesand repeated safety margins used seldomly considers orientation, building
shape, daylighting features or passive
the architect created a design and then to calculate equipment sizes.)5, 6
These design practices resulted in cooling techniques. Yet there is a clear
passed it on to the mechanical and electrical designers to fit the equipment buildings that are energy intensive, relationship between energy use and
needed to achieve comfort.2, 3 The design costly to operate and have a significant
process that at one time integrated all effect on the environment. As an example,
About the Author
design disciplines evolved into a sequen- a typical North American office building
Giuliano Todesco is manager of technitial process.
that uses energy at a rate of 1350 MJ/
cal services at Marbek Resource ConThe usual interaction between me- m2yr (35 kWh/ft2yr) displays an energy
sultants in Ottawa. His article Super
chanical designers and architects no cost of approximately $22/m2yr ($2/ft2yr)
Efficient Buildings: How Low Can You
2
longer occurred, which severely handi- and produces about 65 kg/m yr (2.7 lb/
Go? was published in the December
capped each disciplines ability to con- ft2yr) of equivalent CO2 emissions.7 An
1996 issue of ASHRAE Journal.
tribute to the overall design. The result efficient design, in comparison, will dis52

ASHRAE Journal

June 1998

DESIGN
building form. As shown in Figure 1,
optimum selections exist between window-to-wall ratios and volume-to-surface
ratios which will result in a minimized energy use.10
Clearly, there is a need for architects
and mechanical designers to consider the
implications of the building design on the
resulting energy use. This ultimately requires the development of a process that
emphasizes the use of passive (i.e.,
weather integration) and active (i.e., mechanical systems) techniques to meet all
comfort needs.

Sustainable Construction
Today, the construction industry is in
the early stages of a revolution to reinvent the design process that was used
before the advent of mechanical HVAC
equipment. This revolution started in the
1980s with prototype programs initiated
by electric utilities and government-led
research activities.11, 12, 13 The objective
of these programs was to demonstrate
how integrating weather with the building design and using design optimization
could create buildings that use 50% less
energy and produce 50% less CO2 emissions at only a fractionally higher incremental cost of standard construction.
Some of these programs include:
Energy Edge: This program was
started in the late 1980s by Bonneville
Power Administration to build energy efficient buildings that use 30% less energy than conventional designs employing cost effective technologies.
The Advanced Customer Technology
Test (ACT2): This program was started
by Pacific Gas & Electric in the early 1990s
to establish the maximum energy savings
attainable through whole system design.
C-2000 Program: The Commercial
2000 Program was started by Natural Resources Canada as a follow-on to the
Residential 2000 program to create design
guidelines for very advanced construction practices using integrated design approaches.
The Optimization of Solar Energy
Use in Large Buildings (IEA Task 23):
This project, undertaken by the International Energy Agency (IEA) under Task
23, focuses on establishing the potential
for maximizing energy efficiency in large
buildings through an integrated design
June 1998

Figure 2: Possible
building configurations.

approach and use of renewable energy.


Energy Star Buildings Program:
Launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a follow-on to the
Green Lights Program, this program aims
to improve the efficiency in commercial
buildings through a systematic process.
Green Building Challenge 98: This
is a two-year program sponsored by IEA
and the Green Building Information Council to develop an assessment framework
for energy and environmental performance and to profile an international
sample of energy efficient buildings.
One of the most fascinating findings
of these programs is that design integration of all end uses compounds the magnitude of energy savings, and minimizes
the incremental costs from equipment
downsizing.

Minimizing Energy Use


An energy efficient design process
needs to address the minimization of
loads through an optimized architectural
design plus full integration with the mechanical design. A brief description of
each step needed to achieve this follows:
1. Building Form (minimize surface
to floor area ratio): The most efficient
building encloses the largest volume for
the least surface area because heating and
cooling energy use is affected by the
amount of exposed wall area. The build-

ing form with the minimum surface to floor


area (S/F) is a cube. This is depicted in
Figure 2. The 2680 m2 (28,800 ft2) twostory building with a shape closest to a
cube displays the lowest S/F ratio and
energy use index (EUI), while the single
story 2690 m2 (28,900 ft2) building has the
highest S/F ratio and EUI.
2. Building Orientation: Energy use
is minimized by limiting a buildings exposure to the east and west. When possible, buildings should be oriented with
the long axis running in an east-west direction. As shown in Figure 2, the effect
of proper building orientation on Options
2 and 3 is a 1% to 3% reduction in EUI.
3. Optimize Use of Glazing: Optimizing the use of glazing maximizes
daylighting while minimizing glare, solar
heat gain and building heat loss. Limiting
window area in the east and west faades
and using shading techniques such as a
deep window recess or window overhangs can control glare. Similarly, heat
gain and heat loss can be minimized using high performance glazings that improve occupant comfort. Higher R value
glazing will display a higher surface temperature in the winter decreasing the radiant heat loss from occupants.
4. Maximize Use of Daylighting: Introducing daylighting into the buildings
interior can be maximized using techniques such as high window designs
ASHRAE Journal

53

Cur r ent Pr acti ce

O p t i m i z ed
HV AC Equi pm ent

Im pr o ved Gl az i ng
& Dayl i ghti ng

E n e r g y In d e x

E n e r g y In d e x

E n e r g y In d e x

Op tion 1 S/F 1. 28

1495 MJ/m 2 yr
38. 6 kWh/ft yr

1321MJ/m 2 yr
34. 1 kWh/ft yr

1268 MJ/m 2 yr
32. 7 kWh/ft yr

Op tion 2 S/F 0. 93

1348 MJ/m 2 yr
34. 8 kWh/ft2 yr

1127 MJ/m 2 yr
29. 1 kWh/ft2 yr

1051 MJ/ m 2 yr
27. 1 kWh/ft2 yr

Op tion 3 S/F 0. 91

1317 MJ/m 2 yr
34. 0 kWh/ft yr

1108 MJ/m 2 yr
28. 6 kWh/ft yr

1037 MJ/ m 2 yr
26. 8 kWh/ft yr

Op tion 4 S/F 0. 90

1302 MJ/m 2 yr
33. 6 kWh/ft2 yr

1092 MJ/m 2 yr
28. 2 kWh/ft2 yr

1025 MJ/m 2 yr
26. 5 kWh/ft2 yr

B ui l di ng
Co nfi gur ati o n

Table 1: Comparison of energy use (Toronto).

paired with a high ceiling near the window (sloped ceiling), lightshelves and
clerestories. In addition, daylighting
should be included in the overall lighting
design by considering luminaire layout,
lighting circuit layout and lighting control strategy.14
5. Optimum Equipment Sizing: HVAC
equipment should be sized as closely as
possible to the design loads by taking
into account any load reductions from an
improved building envelope, use of
daylighting strategies and any other efficiency measures. It is also important to
use appropriate values for lighting loads,
office equipment/plug loads and occupant densities that reflect actual conditions or are based on measured data rather
than suggested guidelines, accepted practice or nameplate ratings.
For example, a typical office lighting
design based on two T-8 lamps housed
in a standard 2 by 4 ft (0.6 by 1.2 m) recessed luminaire with a luminaire density
of 4.5 m2/luminaire (48 ft2/luminaire) results in a light level of 500 Lux (50 fc) and
a connected light load of 13 W/m2 (1.2
W/ft2).15 Similarly, the connected load of
office equipment and plug loads in an
average office environment is 8 to 11
W/m2 (0.7 to 1.0 W/ft2).16
Finally, an appropriate gross value for
occupant densities (to determinate internal loads) in a typical office is approximately 23 m2 per occupant (250 ft2) per
occupant).17 Note that fresh air requirements are determined at lower densities
as outlined in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard
62-1989, Ventilation for Acceptable In54

ASHRAE Journal

door Air Quality. As a result, it is critical


to differentiate between occupant densities used for calculating internal loads and
those used to ensure acceptable IAQ.

Energy Modeling
The following example illustrates the
effects of applying the previously described principles. A building owner in
Toronto is faced with multiple design options for construction of a new low-rise
office with an approximate floor area of
2700 m2 (29,000 ft2). The options consist
of a one-story 57 m by 57 m (170 ft by 170
ft) building and three two-story configurations with different length-width aspect
ratios. Figure 2 illustrates the four analyzed options.
The HVAC equipment consists of two
packaged VAV rooftop heat-cool units
with gas heat. The units include an economizer and fan control via inlet guide vanes.
The rooftop units are sized based on current design practices, which match the
thermal envelope specifications of
ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1, Energy
Efficient Design of New Buildings Except
Low-Rise Residential Buildings and the
ventilation guidelines of Standard 62-1989.
This results in airflow rates of 5.5
L/sm2 (1.1 cfm/ft2), cooling densities of
37 m2/ton (400 ft2/ton) and selection of
two-40 ton, 16,000 cfm units. Perimeter
electric baseboard heating is present to
supplement the rooftop heating. Fan operation is restricted to occupied hours
only and temperature setback to 18C
(65F) is assumed during unoccupied
hours in the winter.

Building energy use was calculated


using DOE 2.1E under VisualDOE. Design
alternatives were modeled for each of the
four building configurations incorporating the following efficiency measures:
Building orientation.
Improved glazing.
Daylighting controls for the building
perimeter.
Optimally-sized HVAC equipment.
Improved glazing is based on replacing the double pane low e windows
with a whole unit U value of 2.43 W/m2C
(0.43 Btu/hft2F) with a high insulation
performance window using two low emissivity coatings. This glazing type displays a whole-unit U value of 1.42 W/
m2C (0.25 Btu/hft2F) or less.
The daylighting alternative was modeled assuming step dimming of the first
row of fixtures closest to the building perimeter. This is based on the assumption
that the practical depth of a daylit zone is
limited to 1.5 times the window height or 7
to 9 ft (2 to 2.7 m).18 Due to DOE 2.1Es
limited capability to accurately model energy savings from daylighting, the modeling approach consisted of reducing the
connected light load in the perimeter
zones by 20%. The assumed savings are
based on typically achieved savings.19
The optimized equipment alternative
was performed iteratively by reducing airflows and equipment capacities, while still
meeting all loads. While the building modeled under current practice assumes two
40-ton (141 kW), 16,000 cfm (7550 L/s)
rooftops, the building modeled with optimized HVAC equipment is based on two
June 1998

DESIGN
25-ton (88 kW), 11,000 cfm (5190 L/s) units, resulting in an overall airflow of 4.1 L/sm2 (0.8 cfm/ft2) and a cooling density of 53
m2/ton (575 ft2/ton).

ciency: The overall energy savings from a combined application of all measures is approximately 31%. This is based on
moving from the single story structure built under current practice which displays an EUI of 38.6 kWh/ft2yr, to the two-story
square building with an EUI of 26.5 kWh/ft2yr. Most of these
savings (approximately 27%), are achieved from the optimized
architectural and mechanical design, while the energy efficiency
measures contribute an additional 4%.
It is important to note that although the additional energy
savings from introduction of measures appear low, further savings could have been realized with introduction of more efficient T-8 lighting systems (the base case design assumes a
relatively high 1.5 W/ft2). Other efficiency measures such as
high efficiency rooftop units (high EER, efficient fans, full heat
modulation) could have also been introduced. This was not
done since the objective of the article is to demonstrate the
achievable performance improvement through architectural and
mechanical design optimization.

Analysis of Results
Energy savings of approximately 31% can be achieved from
a least efficient single story design to an efficient two-story
building with improved envelope and daylighting controls. Table
1 compares the whole building EUI for the four building configurations and two efficiency scenarios modeled. The first column displays the energy use of the reference building designed
to current practice. As shown, building energy use decreases
progressively from Option 1 (least efficient architectural design) down to Option 4 (most efficient).
The other two columns list the building energy use for the
efficiency scenarios modeled. The first scenario includes optimization of the HVAC equipment only, with no introduction of
energy efficiency measures.
The second level adds improved envelope and
Conclusions
daylighting
controls.
Architectural and meAnalysis of the resulting
chanical design optimizabuilding energy use is chartion can reduce building
acterized in Table 1.
energy use and HVAC
Architectural Optimizaequipment size without
tion: A reduction in energy
the use of sophisticated
use of approximately 13% is
technologies. This can be
achieved from the least effiachieved through effeccient single-story building
tive integration of the arwith the highest S/F ratio
chitectural and mechanical
(38.6 kWh/ft2yr), to the twostory compact building dedesigns. Such a design apsign (33.6 kWh/ft2yr).
proach achieves improved
Optimized HVAC Figure 3: Profile of cooling plant PLR (Toronto weather data).
energy utilization due to
Equipment: As shown in
the relationship that exists
Column 2, the reduction in energy use from the optimized HVAC between the building, its architecture and the HVAC equipment.
design is approximately 12% for the single-story building and As described by Dr. Hugo Hens, buildings and HVAC must be
17% for the three two-story options. The energy savings are considered together like Siamese twininseparable.20
achieved due to a 30-ton (106 kW) reduction in cooling capacThe potential reduction in energy use was confirmed quantiity and a 7.5 kW (10 hp) reduction in fan load from the substitu- tatively through hourly energy use simulations of a hypothetition of the rooftops units used in the reference building with cal building which showed the direct relationships between buildsmaller units.
ing shape and orientation to energy use. The energy modeling
The HVAC equipment downsizing improves the equipment showed overall potential energy savings of 31% from a least
seasonal part load and cooling SEER. Figure 3 shows a sea- efficient single-story design to a most efficient two-story square
sonal profile of the cooling part load ratio (PLR) for the current design. At the individual level, architectural optimization achieved
practice and optimum designs. As shown, the peak load experi- roughly a 10% reduction in energy use, mechanical optimization
enced by the current practice building is only 60% of the de- 10% to 15%, and introduction of daylighting and improved glazsign capacity. In contrast, the optimum sized plant shows a ing achieved roughly a 5% reduction in energy use.
better PLR with a peak load equal to 90% of the design capacity.
From an energy standpoint, the better part load curve of the References
optimum sized equipment translates into a reduction in cooling 1. Morgan, M. H. 1960. VITRUVIUS: The Ten Books on Architecture,
170. New York: Dover Publications.
energy use of approximately 15%.
Improved Glazing & Daylighting: Column 3 shows the 2. Houghton, D. J., et al. 1992. The State of the Art Space Cooling and
energy savings from the introduction of improved glazing and Air Handling, 3. Boulder: E Source.
daylighting controls. The savings are approximately 15% for 3. Holte, D. E. 1997. Technology for a better environment. ASHRAE
Journal 39(8):3941.
the single story building and 21% for the two-story options.
Architectural, Mechanical Optimization & Energy Effi- 4. Houghton, The state of the art, op. cit supra, 3.
June 1998

ASHRAE Journal

55

DESIGN
5. Lovins, A. 1992. Energy efficient buildings: institutional barriers
and opportunities, 12. Boulder: E Source.

15. CFI fluorescent: lighting solutions through technology and performance. Catalogue #CG116E, 41.

6. Todesco, G. 1997. New Commercial Construction Baseline Specifications for the Commercial Building Incentive Program. Ottawa: Building Technologies Group, Natural Resources Canada.

16. Komor, P. 1997. Space cooling demands from office plug loads.
ASHRAE Journal. 39(12):4144.

7. Adelaar, M., S. Shusterman and G. Todesco.1997. Commercial


Energy and Emissions Analysis Model. Ottawa: Building Technologies Group, Natural Resources Canada.
8. Energy Conservation Design Resource Handbook, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. 1979. Ottawa.
9. Ibid. Section 2.1.7.2, figures 2.1.7.21 and 2.7.1.22.
10. Ibid. Section 3.14.4.4, figure 3.14.4.45.
11. Todesco, G. 1996. Super-efficient buildings: how low can you
go? ASHRAE Journal 38(12):3540.
12. Beltran, L. O., E. S. Lee and S. E. Selkowitz. 1996. Advanced optical
faylighting systems: light shelves and light pipes. Berkeley: Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory, LBL-38133 UC-1600.
13. International Energy Agency (IEA). Sustainable Solar Buildings:
The Optimization of Solar Energy Use in Larger Buildings, Task 23,
IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme. Terms of Reference.
14. OConnor, J., et al. 1997. Tips for daylighting with windows: the
integrated approach. Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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56

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17. Akbari, H., et al. 1993. Integrated estimation of commercial sector


end-use load shapes and energy use intensities in the PG&E service
area. Berkeley: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
18. OConnor, Tips for Daylighting, op. cit. supra, 32.
19. Reed, J., et al. 1994. Energy savings from active daylighting retrofit
and impact on building practices. American Council for an EnergyEfficient Economy 1994 Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Technology Research, Development and Evaluation Proceedings 3:217228.
20. Hens, H. 1995. HVAC and the building: siamese twins (an integrated design approach). International Journal of HVAC&R Research.
1(4):255256.

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