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Energy Saving Template for Campus


©2015 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 57, no. 11, November 2015.  

By By Aaron Smith, P.Eng., BEMP, Member ASHRAE

About the Author
Aaron Smith, P.Eng., is a mechanical engineer with M&R Engineering of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Applying trusted conventional solutions and systems such as VAV and condensing gas-fired boilers in a well-planned construction and operation process provides much of the innovation of a Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, building. Building performance was analyzed early in the design process, and rigorous commissioning and measurement and verification demonstrate that efficiency measures performed as expected. 100 Venture Run is the first building constructed at the Wright and Burnside green building campus that also includes park space, walking paths, a basketball court and an exercise/yoga area. The project serves as a template for future buildings on the site. The three-story building includes 6105 m2 (65,690 ft2) of office space and 1971 m2 (21,208 ft2) of partially conditioned underground parking garage for a total area of 8076 m2 (86,898 ft2). It achieved LEED Canada Gold Core and Shell 2009, the first LEED Gold Core and Shell project in Nova Scotia.


Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficiency requirements were initially set at 33% savings compared to the 1997 Model National Energy Code for Buildings (MNECB) to achieve a LEED Silver certification. Information sources such as ASHRAE’s 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide for Small to Medium Office Buildings, ASHRAE Journal and ASHRAE Handbook, along with energy simulation were used to assist in choosing energy-efficiency measures that met the design goals with minimal impact on first cost.

Modeling was performed with EE4 energy simulation software (using the DOE-2.1E simulation engine), which creates a reference building matching the 1997 MNECB. This process resulted in a building with conventional HVAC systems optimized for energy efficiency, pushing energy savings over 40% and allowing the LEED target to move from Silver to Gold. After one year of operation, the building has actually achieved 50% savings, exceeding the initial goal.

Significant Energy-Efficiency Measures

A window-to-wall ratio of 31% allows for daylight and views while reducing unnecessary heat loss and solar heat gain. The building envelope consists of tilt-up concrete wall construction, providing an airtight barrier with R-20 rigid insulation, reducing thermal bridges, and R-30 insulation on the roof. Window frames are aluminum with thermal breaks, glazing has a low-e coating with argon gas, resulting in an assembly of U-0.41 with a spectrally selective coating to admit visible light while blocking unnecessary heat gain.

HVAC systems include two equally sized high efficiency (EER 10.5) packaged DX air-handling units (AHUs) with modulating natural gas burners and economizers serving VAV boxes with overhead air supply. AHUs are not oversized. The installed cooling capacity is 21 m2/kW (800 ft2/ton), which was possible due to the inclusion of high-efficiency lighting requirements in tenant leases and the building envelope design. Reduced cooling capacity also allows for more precise control of supply air temperature with four stages of capacity. Heating water is provided by condensing gas-fired boilers to perimeter fin-tube radiation selected to allow for condensing operation during all of the heating season. The heating system was designed around a 16°C (30°F) temperature difference along with variable speed drives to reduce pumping power.


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