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AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) is introducing the AIA +2030™ Professional Series 2.0

aia2030_logo_tm_web2AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) is introducing the AIA +2030™ Professional Series 2.0. This program helps owners, design professionals, engineers, and contractors create buildings that meet the ambitious energy efficiency goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge®. Ten, 4-hour sessions offer strategies to seek, design, deliver, and manage buildings that reach 70% or better reductions in fossil fuel greenhouse gas emissions, giving design professionals, contractors, and owners the knowledge and leverage to demand and create next-generation, super-efficient buildings – and providing firms with the skills that will set them apart in the marketplace.

With 2.0, COTE builds from our highly successful 2013-14 series by incorporating a broader pool of speakers, more local case studies, and in depth tours of high-performing built projects. Content derived from the GBA 2030 Districts and Architecture 2030 videos will deepen the programming. The series will also dive deep into the significant changes the industry has seen in the last few years such as the use of analytical software to predict building energy performance. The updated program will strike a rich balance between new construction and renovation, residential and commercial, theoretical and completed, and urban and rural project types.

For more information click here, also please make sure to take a brief 8 question survey that will help tailor the classes to the participants specific goals and interests by clicking here.

Craig Stevenson has been proud to serve on the AIA+2030 Committee On The Environment for the last two years.

Defining Net Zero-Energy Buildings

nrel-report-coverHigh Performance Building projects often reference net zero-energy buildings.  The metrics used to establish goals in performance-based contracting specifications affect how buildings are designed to achieve the goal. Critically, the question becomes “How do you define net-zero energy use buildings”  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) defines a net zero-energy building as a residential or commercial building with greatly reduced energy needs through efficiency gains such that the balance of energy needs can be supplied with renewable technologies.

NREL’s Conference Paper, Zero Energy Buildings: A Critical Look at the Definition, addresses the definitions of zero-energy buildings (ZEB) and why a clear and measurable definition is needed in zero-energy projects.  Different definitions may be appropriate, depending upon project goals and the values of the design team and owner.  Four well-documented definitions are reviewed.

  • Net Zero Site Energy: A site ZEB produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the site.
  • Net Zero Source Energy: A source ZEB produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the source. Source energy refers to the primary energy used to generate and deliver the energy to the site. To calculate a building’s total source energy, imported and exported energy is multiplied by the appropriate site-to-source conversion multipliers.
  • Net Zero Energy Costs: In a cost ZEB, the amount of money the utility pays the building owner for the energy the building exports to the grid is at least equal to the amount the owner pays the utility for the energy services and energy used over the year.
  • Net Zero Energy Emissions: A net-zero emissions building produces at least as much emissions-free renewable energy as it uses from emissions-producing energy sources

The NREL study details design impacts of the definition used for High Performance Buildings and the large differences between the definitions.  Depending upon the goals set by the Owner, project teams will implement different project strategies, which result in significantly differing energy utilization outcomes.  Further, each goal will significantly impact whole-building project strategies to integrate efficiency measures with renewable energy supply options.

The NREL research study is a must read for all team members engaged in performance-based contracting projects.