High Performance Building DesignPosted: July 13, 2018
The Federal EPA has implemented several strategies to enhance sustainability, including:
- Conducting retro-commissioning and re-commissioning to improve energy performance
- Using the most efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and lighting
- Assessing for compliance with ventilation and thermal comfort standards
- Installing renewable energy systems
- Replacing plumbing fixtures with higher efficiency models
- Installing advanced energy and water meters
- Reducing irrigated landscape areas
- Retrofitting buildings and landscapes with low impact development features
- Using integrated pest management techniques
- Contracting green cleaning services
- Purchasing environmentally preferable materials
- Implementing materials reduction, reuse, recycling and composting programs
Airtight construction controls the transfer of heat and moisture into and through the building envelope. Thermal bridge-free assemblies avoid the envelope penetrations that sap buildings of energy, comfort, and durability. Continuous insulation keeps heat where it’s wanted. Excellent windows and doors limit heat loss while capturing daylight and passive solar energy. Shading elements shield the building from passive solar gains when unwanted. And a constant supply of filtered fresh air comes in through a balanced heat recovery (or energy recovery) ventilation system that recaptures the thermal energy of exhaust air and keeps it inside the building. “Envelope-first” focus design consideration dramatically reduces the energy demand to heat and cool high-performance building. In fact, Passive House buildings routinely reduce heating and cooling energy by up to 90%.
The research will further build on the results of the Well Living Lab’s latest study findings, published in Building and Environment. The study found that temperature, noise, and lighting in open office environments affect employees’ ability to get work done. This was a proof-of concept study that demonstrated the strength of living lab methodology in measuring realistic occupant responses to select environmental changes in an open office. Specifically, it indicated that employees are most sensitive to thermal conditions, followed by work-related noise such as conversations and lack of natural light from windows when working in open office environments. These factors affected work environment satisfaction, productivity, and even carried over into the mood of employees and their sleep.
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