April 2016
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New Research from ASHRAE Outlines Measures to Reach Toward Net Zero

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ATLANTA – Application of 30 specific energy savings measures across all building types and climate zones resulted in cutting energy use by nearly half, according to results of newly approved research funded by ASHRAE.

The national weighted change is 47.8 percent more energy efficient than Standard 90.1-2013 based on site energy and 47.8 percent more energy efficient than 90.1-2013 based source on energy.

The question of “how energy efficient can commercial and multifamily buildings become in the near future if first cost is not considered” was explored in ASHRAE 1651-Research Project, “Development of Maximum Technically Achievable Energy Targets for Commercial Buildings: Ultra-Low Energy Use Building Set.”

“The value of establishing such ultra-low-energy targets for buildings is two-fold,” Jason Glazer, principal engineer for GARD Analytics who oversaw the project, said. “These targets will indicate to building design professionals what may be achieved if first cost is not considered and challenge the creativity of those professionals to achieve similar results in actual designs with the real-world constraints of first costs. They also will help advance design guides, standards and codes by providing an ultimate goal.”

For the project, researchers assembled a list of energy efficiency measures that can be included in the design of non-residential buildings. The list included both commonly used and cutting edge energy efficiency measures, according to Glazer.

From the resulting list of almost 400 measures, 30 were chosen for additional analysis.  Sixteen prototype buildings that were consistent with Standard 90.1-2013, Energy Efficiency Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential, across 17 climate zones were used as baseline models. The 30 measures then were individually modeled. Each of the 30 measures, often with many options, were applied to each building and climate combination. In general, the measures were applied in the following order:

 Reduce internal loads
 Reduce building envelope loads
 Reduce HVAC distribution system losses
 Decrease HVAC equipment energy consumption
 Major HVAC reconfigurations.

“It is useful to understand how far energy efficiency measures can go to reduce the use of energy in the built environment,” Glazer said. “It is also important to understand that many of the measures used in the project are widely available today.”

After each measure was applied to each of the 272 building and climate combinations, if the energy consumption was reduced, it remained in the model. After all 30 measures were applied, the projected U.S. national weighted energy consumption for new buildings was nearly cut in half compared to Standard 90.1-2013.

The 30 energy efficiency measures modeled were:

LED Exterior Lighting
Highest Efficiency Office Equipment
High Performance Lighting (LED)
Shift from General to Task Illumination
Optimal Daylighting Control
Optimal Roof Insulation Level
Optimal Choice of Vertical Fenestration
External Light Shelves
Daylighting Control by Fixture
High Performance Fans
High Performance Ducts to Reduce Static Pressure
Demand Controlled Ventilation/CO2 Controls
Multiple-Zone VAV System Ventilation Optimization
Optimal Water/Air Cooling Coils
Occupant Sensors for Air Handling Equipment
Energy Recovery Ventilators
Indirect Evaporative Cooling
High Efficiency/Variable Speed Packaged DX Cooling
High Efficiency Heat Pumps
Ground Source Heat Pump
High Efficiency and Variable Speed Chillers
Heat Recovery from Chillers
High Efficiency Boilers
High Efficiency Building Transformers
Chilled/Cooled Beam
Dedicated Outside Air System with Heat Recovery
Underfloor Air Distribution
Hybrid/Mixed Mode Ventilation
Radiant Heating and Cooling and DOAS
Variable Refrigerant Flow Air Conditioning

Reliable Controls ASHRAE 1651-RP, Development of Maximum Technically Achievable Energy Targets for Commercial Buildings: Ultra-Low Energy Use Building Set, is available for free for ASHRAE members under www.ashrae.org/freeresources. Members must log in via their member account to access the report for free. The report is also available in the ASHRAE Bookstore for $30 at www.ashrae.org/bookstore

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 55,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at www.ashrae.org/news.


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