Volume 47, Issue 11 - November 2012

Energy&Environment


New Modeling Guide Could Encourage Glazing to Optimize Energy Efficiency


As the design, specification and use of advanced glazing products continues to advance, so, too, will the need for performance modeling. In this respect, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released an Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process. This new guide was created to provide a step-by-step map to predicting (and thus reducing) the energy usage of buildings.

The guide was written and assembled by a committee of architects, sustainability experts, and government building science officials, as well as AIA staff. It surveys members of the building design and construction industry to present baseline best practices for empirically evaluating the energy performance of buildings. Beyond defining and making a case for energy modeling, the primer walks users through different types of energy modeling and the individual tools and software available for it. As a relatively new technical specialty, the guide also discusses how to bring energy modeling to other building team members, such as engineers, as well as the clients.

Glazing and windows are also referenced in areas throughout the guide. For example, in a section on energy modeling for code compliance, the guide notes that the “new editions of both the International Energy Conservation Code and International Green Construction Code will require a greater understanding of the effects of a building’s energy consumption, in which code-compliant energy criteria have significant architectural implications, such as new daylighting requirements.” As an example, the guide says “the integration of windows into the building envelope is key to determining whether a building can be designed to meet prescriptive energy conservation requirements or will need to use performance requirements. Prescriptive requirements allow up to a certain ratio of glass to opaque wall area, above which the building will need an energy model to demonstrate code compliance.”

Tom Culp, industry consultant with Birch Point Consulting LLC in LaCrosse, Wis., says that while the guide only discusses fenestration in general terms, any efforts—especially from AIA—to further the use of energy performance modeling will be beneficial to the industry.

“Performance modeling encourages integrated design which, in turn, promotes flexibility and the best uses of glazing to optimize energy efficiency and daylighting,” he says. “Performance modeling is also critical for advanced products such as dynamic glazing, BIPV, vacuum glazing and shading systems to receive full credit for their performance.”

Cities such as Washington, D.C, San Francisco and Philadelphia have passed legislation requiring nonresidential building owners to measure and report their buildings’ annual energy use.

NFRC Board Approves CMA Trail Audit Ballot
The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) board of directors approved the Rating Committee’s NFRC 705 Documentation Trail Audit ballot during its fall meeting in Portland, Ore.

According to the NFRC, the ballot modifies the NFRC 705: Component Modeling Approach-Product Certification Program document by revising the language to cover situations where the information needed for the documentation audit is not available at the time the label certificate is issued. NFRC notes that the information needed for the documentation audit is not usually available until the project has been constructed, which can sometimes be many months after the label certificate is created. The new language requires that the audit documentation needs to be submitted within 30 days after the documentation becomes available and that if the documentation is not available within one year, that a different label certificate is selected for the audit.

Long Term Assessment of Green Construction
Sustainability leaders are seeking a more defined, long-term assessment of green building construction to evaluate its environmental, financial and social benefits, according to the latest McGraw-Hill Construction report. In Determining the Value of Green Building Investments: A Perspective From Industry Leaders on Triple Bottom Line Decision Making, interviews with sustainability leaders in the education, healthcare, retail, manufacturing and federal government sectors revealed more research on green building construction’s effects is required in order to increase the rate of production. Tracking environmental, financial and social benefits, also known as the triple bottom line, will further entice organizations to increase their investment in green building construction.

“To date, owners have acted on compelling benefits from their green investments, mainly savings in energy, water, waste and lowered operating costs,” says Harvey Bernstein, vice president of industry insights and alliances at McGraw-Hill Construction. “However, these are only a fraction of the advantages offered by green buildings—missing is a quantification of the full triple bottom line benefits from these investments, especially around the social benefits to human performance and well-being.”

EPA Delays Commercial Lead Paint Rule Until 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has postponed the implementation of a lead paint rule for public and commercial buildings until July 1, 2015. A proposal for exterior renovations for public and commercial buildings was originally slated to be issued by September 14, 2012, and finalized by February 2014.

In April 2010 the EPA had requested input on the potential for regulating the renovation, repair and painting of public and commercial buildings under section 402(c)(3) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The agency aimed to determine whether lead-based paint hazards are created by interior renovation, repair and painting projects in public and commercial buildings. For those renovations in the interiors of public and commercial buildings that create lead-based paint hazards, EPA would propose regulations to address these hazards.

The EPA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently completed a report on the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Program rule, and questioned the additional costs that are required by the rule, instated in the residential market in October 2010.

“EPA’s decision to include non-mandatory work practices in official training programs may result in additional unaccounted-for costs that would be incurred by businesses that attempt to comply with EPA training guidance,” wrote the OIG in a July 25 report. “Sound data on the rule’s benefits were also not available at the time of the rulemaking, and this limitation was known to EPA and its scientific advisory committee. However, EPA went forward with the rule because its benefit-cost analysis indicated that the rule generated substantial benefits, and because EPA was legally obligated to issue the rule.

A proposal for exterior renovations for public and commercial buildings was originally slated to be issued by September 14, 2012, and finalized by February 2014, according to an announcement issued by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). In its latest efforts, NAHB petitioned the agency to revise the residential rule and economic analysis in the absence of an “improved” pre-renovation test kit and has continued to express concern about the enforcement of the residential LRRP rule.


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