Momentum behind zero energy building design and construction is increasing, presenting a tremendous opportunity for advancing energy performance in the commercial building industry. At the same time, there is a lingering perception that zero energy buildings must be cost prohibitive or limited to showcase projects. Fortunately, an increasing number of projects are demonstrating that high performance can be achieved within typical budgets. This factsheet highlights replicable, recommended strategies for achieving high performance on a budget, based on experiences from past projects.
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There is mounting evidence that zero energy can, in many cases, be achieved within typical construction budgets. To ensure that the momentum behind zero energy buildings and other low-energy buildings will continue to grow, this guide assembles recommendations for replicating specific successes of early adopters who have met their energy goals while controlling costs. Contents include: discussion of recommended cost control strategies, which are grouped by project phase (acquisition and delivery, design, and construction) and accompanied by industry examples; recommendations for balancing key decision-making factors; and quick reference tables that can help teams apply strategies to specific projects.
High-performance buildings (HPBs) are exceptional examples of both design and practice. Their energy footprints are small and these are buildings that people want to work in because of their intelligent structure, operations, and coincident comfort. However, the operation of most buildings, even ones that are properly constructed and commissioned at the start, can deviate significantly from the original design intent over time, particularly due to control system overrides, and growing plug and data center loads. With early planning for systems such as submetering and occupant engagement tools, operators can identify and remedy the problems. This guide is a primer for owners and owners’ representatives who are pursuing HPBs. It describes processes that have been successful in the planning, procurement, and operation of HPBs with exceptional energy efficiency. Much of the guidance offered results from a series of semi-structured conference calls with a technical advisory group of 15 owners and operators of prominent HPBs in the United States. The guide provides a prescription for planning, achieving, and maintaining an HPB. Although the guide focuses on the operations stage of buildings, many of the operations practices are specified during the planning stage.