Energy Efficient Design

Energy efficiency starts at the drafting table... How architects and designers can help buildings reach high-performance standards.

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Latest Activity: Jun 14

Discussion Forum

Whats the Consensus of this group Define "Energy Efficiency" 1 Reply

When it comes to trying to define "to be energy efficient" or "energy efficiency", there does not seem to be a single commonly-accepted definition of energy efficiency.  it is generally thought that…Continue

Started by Barry NewDelman. Last reply by John Nicholas Jan 16, 2014.

Help your Clients save, THEN do what you do best

Make Money Recession proof Business Energy deregulation brought more than just the ability to save on your gas and electric bills. You can now make money…lot’s of money.The competition is fierce. New…Continue

Started by Barry NewDelman Jan 16, 2014.

No More "Damn Architects!" - The Case for Integrated Design 6 Replies

In 1997, I helped my parents design and build their home. Early…Continue

Tags: Science, Building, Architecture, Design, Integrated

Started by Chris Laumer-Giddens. Last reply by Dennis Heidner Jan 16, 2014.

Energy Efficient Design for the not so rich 7 Replies

Having worked for 30 plus years in the Weatherization program I was not rich.  When we had the opportunity 3 years ago to build a new home for my wife and I we tried to take our Building Science…Continue

Started by James McGarvey. Last reply by Greg La Vardera Apr 11, 2013.

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Comment by Barry NewDelman on January 16, 2014 at 12:53pm

In responce to a Comment by Chris . Most architects whether Commercial and/or residential and in Most municiplaities have to certify as to the energy efficeincy as defined by The DOE in the Permit Appliction Process. The two platforms that are required are "RESCHK" & COMCHK" free downloads are available at the DOE site.

Comment by David Bourbon on December 9, 2010 at 9:10am
I agree with Chris's premise. I think that as long as we are waiting for codes to be written [Compliance (reactive)] vs. taking the initiative (proactive) we are not making progress. It's important to embrace best practices and start designing homes that will last mor than 30 years, that relate to the regional climate, use local materials and trades, and make the best use of all aspects of energy efficiency and conservation.

The developing certifications still paint with a fairly broad brush, so we must focus on the individual project, educate the client (this is WHY we do this,) and lead the process.

Due to falling home prices, owners are more likely to stay in one home longer and should be encouraged to renovate and upgrade both as an investment and to save energy costs.
Comment by Chris Laumer-Giddens on November 16, 2010 at 7:51am
I think both are definitely happening, but it seems like the programs are moving faster. The drawbacks to enforcement is that it sparks a feeling of resentment toward something that should be seen as a huge benefit and as necessary as the foundation, walls and roof.

To wait for the industry to do it on its own would likely take longer, but I think it would take stronger root. I'm not sure there is time to wait, either.

What we can do, though, is work to bring all building professionals up to speed, especially architects and designers (how we do this is the million dollar question). I feel that there is a serious lack of understanding and knowledge of the best practices of energy efficient design among design professionals. In general, most architects know the commercial LEED programs, not the LEED For Homes, or any other residential certification programs, for that matter. In fact, I find that the majority of homes being built to earn certifications through ENERGY STAR, EarthCraft, NAHB, LEED, etc., did not have an architect involved with achieving certification; only builders and raters after the building was designed.

A great deal more could be achieved, with a greater amount of accuracy, if energy efficiency was a part of the early planning of a home, rather than an afterthought.
Comment by John Nicholas on November 16, 2010 at 6:03am
I think the issue is how everyone looks at energy efficient features.

If they are viewed as costly requirements, then it will fail.

If they can be shown as added benefits to assist the home builder provide choices and options for the home buyer, then perhaps the system will work. The better mouse trap will draw the customers.
Comment by TJ Ewing on November 16, 2010 at 5:10am
Codes certainly seem to be moving toward elevated energy performance, but I know many builders that love to oppose code changes tooth and nail (some consumers too). In Germany, passive house standards have essentially become standard code with government leadership. But government leadership in the USA is often perceived as government meddling. If the DOE and EPA weren't pushing programs like Builder's Challenge, Energy Star, etc. would the industry do it on its own? I have this chicken and egg discussion many times with colleagues about whether the market has to demand energy efficient designs for it to happen, or can the industry and government lead the market. Both are happening to some level.
Comment by John Nicholas on November 14, 2010 at 6:09am
So, How can we help that happen? Do we have to wait for the passage of an energy code? Are the check lists available?
Comment by Chris Laumer-Giddens on November 14, 2010 at 4:38am
TJ, good question. I suspect there is a larger percentage in commercial design, where they use programs like Autodesk's REVIT for their energy modeling.

For residential, I am aware of a few architects in this country that make energy efficient design and detailing a common practice in the way that most of the 'PROS' on this site consider correct.

My hope is that it will not only be the norm, but we'll find checklists (similar to ENERGY STAR) make their way in to building codes, where energy efficiency is just as mandatory as ensuring structural stability.
Comment by TJ Ewing on November 10, 2010 at 8:20pm
Good group topic! Do people have a sense what percentage of architects incorporate energy analysis and/or modeling into their design process?

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