Build better Buildings and Energy Savings will come
There is no magic single technology to make buildings more efficient. Both the building enclosure and the HVAC system have to be very good when comfort, long service life and energy savings are required. Unfortunately many buildings neither have good enclosures nor good HVAC systems.
What do we want from a Building?
The primary objective is to provide humans a comfortable "inside" and protect stored material and industrial processes from the "outside". This is the reason humans first used caves and fires, built huts, and later warehouses, homes and office buildings. Not meeting this objective won't save money - it will lead to reduced productivity, lower sale price, lower rents and expensive vacancies.
Design Priority Number 1: Comfort
How much are we willing to pay?
There is a price to pay to build and operate a building. The cost is financial in cost of development, material, energy consumption, maintenance, repair, and replacement.
Design Priority 2: Reduce overall Life Cycle Cost
A more efficient enclosure shape is cheaper to construct and is more energy efficient. An enclosure that properly controls water (vapor, liquid), air and heat prevents building damage and saves energy. With this enclosure the HVAC system can be significantly smaller and more comfort is provided.
How do we get a good Building?
Design the building to be functional, built a good enclosure, design a good HVAC system and make it look good. In that order. And make sure the building gets constructed and commissioned as designed. Follow these steps and study all the recommended literature:
- Build a good Enclosure
- Install good Lighting
- Learn about the HVAC Basics
- Select and Design a good HVAC System
- Add Solar Technology
- Commission the Building
What about the environment? A building with more efficient enclosure (less material, less energy) that lasts longer (less environmental impact due to remodel or rebuilding), less maintenance and repairs (mechanics have trucks, use material) and more comfort (more people will want to be in the building resulting in better usage of the resources) is environmentally friendly - even if this wasn't the owners intent. Does building a good building give us LEED points? Probably. But bad buildings also get Platinum certified - so we don't care about points. Don't follow Mis-LEED-ing rating schemes, Don't install all-glass facades and prioritize on Energy . Understand Primary and Source Energy, Performance Metrics and why Energy matters. It also has to do with Energy Security and Saving the Planet. Follow our design principles and build a good building - and then you can call it green, economical, or whatever you fancy.