AEI Big Ideas Book 2009


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Some simple concepts on natural air ventilation for a building, water capturing turning into HVAC principles, space loading and more.

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AEI Big Ideas Book 2009

  1. 1. Making the extraordinary big ideas | verifiable solutions | real performancecommonplace. Findingthe next better way.Contact a member of the AEI Sustainable Consulting team to learn more:Mike Walters, LEED® AP Paul Erickson, LEED® AP Peter StruppSustainable Practice Leader Sustainable Design Specialist Director of Business Development608.236.1194 608.236.1112 Affiliated Engineers Chapel Hill, North Carolina Chicago, Illinois Gainesville, Florida Houston, Texas Madison, Wisconsin Minneapolis, Minnesota Metro DC Phoenix, Arizona Seattle, Washington Tampa, Florida Walnut Creek, California Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain
  2. 2. What comes before the big ideas?The science behind the solutions. Ten times more heat absorbtion than water. Phase Change Materials. AEI is monitoring research being conducted by leading chemical companies to develop the next generation of high-performance phase change materials (PCMs), gauging PCMs’ projected capacities in cooling load absorption applications. We’re projecting the performance of materials in development that combine advantages of existing organic and inorganic PCMs (e.g., large temperature range, congruent melting, self-nucleating, chemically stable, recyclable, compatible with conventional construction materials, low cost, low volume change), while eliminating disadvantages, most specifically flammability. While thermal energy storage using water is a strategy of long standing to reduce energy costs by shifting cooling loads to off-peak hours when cheaper electricity is available, water stores energy as sensible heat. Meanwhile, PCMs store energy as latent heat, absorbing large amounts of heat at the nearly constant temperature where they change phase from solid to liquid. They continue to absorb or release heat without significant increase or decreaseWhen AEI defined its role within the then-nascent sustainability movement, we articulated the extension of our in temperature until all of the material changes phase. PCMs can absorb an order of magnitude more heat per unithistorical function as a technical engineering firm, providing critical analysis and verification as we collaborate, volume than water or thermal mass and have been incorporated in systems in which the thermal storage waterconceive, assess, refine, integrate, implement, and evaluate innovative solutions for complex and large scale projects. tank or ice storage system is replaced by a PCM tank. The PCM media can be tuned to the required use, storingOr, more succinctly: Big Ideas / Verifiable Solutions / Real Performance. energy for later use at an appropriate temperature. In one such use, the PCM stores energy at approximately 59F for use in chilled ceilings during the day, with the PCM being recharged overnight by cooling towers, operating Before, after.With the profession’s growing sophistication and greater, more nuanced technical understanding of sustainable during cool weather or otherwise under off-peak electrical rates.strategies, however, we have seen the breadth of our role expand, now beginning at a point before the Big Ideas andending somewhere well beyond Real Performance. AEI is projecting the performance of technologies and materials Similarly, PCMs are currently being incorporated into building materials, such as wallboard and CMU (or materialsin development to gauge their energy-saving, carbon-cutting, cost-reducing capabilities in a variety of programmatic that can be applied to wallboard and ceiling tiles), to increase the thermal mass of otherwise lightweight structures.applications and a range of climatic settings. We’re developing metrics to assess building performance over a longer Many materials are available at a selection of melting temperatures across the comfort range. The increasedperiod and with a greater precision than possible with previous measures. And at the same time that we’re effective thermal mass can be used as a means of peak load reduction in mechanically ventilated space, or as anparticipating in field research to approximate the impact of global warming on the arctic ecosystem, we’re advancing enhancement to naturally ventilated spaces – one that is particularly useful where a night ventilation strategya carbon/energy dialogue whose bottom line is the bottom line. is employed.To best align skills with our expanding role, AEI offers PhD-level expertise in chemical engineering, computational AEI is currently specifying one such material, derived from soy, for use in the University of Washington Molecularfluid dynamics, and combined heat and power generation. To us, it’s about advancing the mission and essence of our Engineering Building. The material will be applied to ceiling tiles and select walls in naturally ventilated office spacerole exploring, discovering, introducing, and providing today’s Big Ideas that result in tomorrow’s Real Performance. to improve temperature stability and the ability of the night ventilation cycle to allow the building to ride through spikes in heat gain. True “Big Ideas” aren’t found on a menu and ordered a la carte. Rather, they emerge organically, in response to a particular client, program, and environment. AEI’s Précis service (preliminary consult in sustainability) applies engineering expertise to project concepts and defining first principles, providing a sound basis for preliminary design. Oh, the irony. Précis introduces technical analysis before design begins, informing the process with a creative understanding of the synergies possible across building systems. Our approach is integrative and collaborative, formulating qualitative questions to ascertain the most CO2 improving the performance effective combinations of design measures, from which the client can choose those meriting more detailed quantitative analysis. of data center cooling. AEI’s testing of chilled beam technology coincided with early research into liquid CO2 cooling systems being developed for use in high-density data center applications. This rack-mounted technology uses fans to pull air through equipment cabinets and in contact with a CO2 refrigerant circulated through a vertical coil. After our “I trust you guys to know the best way.” initial investigation into this prototype technology, we assumed the role of technical consultant to help advance the technology and move the industry beyond incremental energy efficiency improvements. At a pressurized liquid Dick Gibbs state of approximately 15C, CO2 has a high volumetric cooling capacity similar to water at the same temperature and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation presents an advantageous alternative to other refrigerants, including being non-ozone depleting, non-flammable, Bureau of Mobile Sources non-conductive, gaseous at atmospheric pressure, and having a global warming potential of 1.
  3. 3. Big Idea: Focused BuildingPerformance Optimization Space Load Processing University of North Carolina Strategic Demand Side Energy Plan While knowledge of energy consumption by end use is a useful – and standard – design metric, understanding energy use by space type provides another window into optimizing building performance. Through custom scripting, written initially for our work in building energy conservation programs for campus environments, AEI developed our Space Load Processor (SPL) for deconstructing energy analysis to the level of specific program spaces within a larger model. This unique view into building energy use allows us, our partners, and our clients to focus the precious resources of schedule and time where they matter most. While we’ve adapted this tool for use in our design projects, we first used it at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Combining energy modeling and statistical methods, we assessed energy use and conservation opportunities in approximately 100 buildings. A representative sample of 20 buildings was audited and modeled. Using the SPL, information was then extrapolated by space type to the entire study population. AEI’s customized scripting allowed us to analyze measures for specific programmatic areas of buildings based on system knowledge and overall building energy consumption, obviating the need for sub-metering. We provided an initial low-to-high range of estimates and re-categorized measures as estimates for first cost and investment efficiency (payback) were refined. Findings of the study resulted in immediate conservation efforts and were included in UNC’s Climate Action Plan in groupings of “carbon countermeasures.”
  4. 4. Verifiable Solution: Optimizing energy performance while maintaining occupant safety.Natural Ventilation Goals, Lab University of WashingtonAirflow Requirements. Molecular Engineering Building A 2009 Carnegie-Mellon study found that 50 percent of the earth’s surface presents local climates capable of conditioning building spaces for four to six months of the year. With fully 97 percent of annual operating hours falling within the adaptive comfort range, Seattle presents ideal circumstances for reducing building energy use with natural ventilation. The interdisciplinary program for University of Washington’s new 90,000 square foot Molecular Engineering Building, however, calls for the immediate adjacency of labs with safety ventilation requirements and offices that will be conditioned with natural ventilation. With cross ventilation not possible, a stack configuration will provide airflow. Spatial organization, sizing, and window intake strategies were informed by CFD studies by AEI of typical and worst- case conditions. Site and phasing requirements necessitate north-south orientation; labs are west-facing due to street traffic noise and pollution on that side precluding operable windows. East-facing solar gain is reduced by 80 percent through shading and high performance glazing. Daylight is predicted to reduce electric lighting load by over 30 percent annually. With east-facing offices unable to benefit from prevailing winds to drive ventilation, the stack height and size were increased and outlets configured to maximize draw. Fan assists will compensate, as required, for limitations to stack sizes. Frasca Architects LLP s ul Rendering Courtesy of Zimmer Guns
  5. 5. Real Performance:GeothermalYes, it’s boring! Optimizing place with geoexchange.AEI offers an expertise in the design and optimization of geoexchange systems in part through a varied explorationof one given locale: Madison, Wisconsin. While Madison is broadly representative of most temperate North Americanregions in one if not both extremes, with average summertime highs in the eighties and average winter lows inthe teens, it is unique in geography in that it is positioned amidst a variety of large lakes. This unique characteristic FIRST UNITARIAN SOCIETY OF MADISON UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN EPIC SYSTEMS CORPORATIONprovides for exceptional sub-soil thermal conductivity. Accordingly, we have designed systems that utilize the MEETING HOUSE WISCONSIN INSTITUTES FOR DISCOVERY CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS RENOVATION AND ADDITIONstandard closed-loop borefield in both rural and urban environments, and have assessed the viability of using a (Above) Hybrid geothermal system of 75 bores More than 500 vertical bores running 300 feetborefield as a heat exchanger only, thus eliminating the energy consumption of compressors (heat pumps). We have (Above Left) Closed loop system of 16 bores, placed around the building’s perimeter, 300 underground, used in lieu of a central plant,installed hybrid systems that optimize both energy performance and the first cost equation for projects. Finally, we 250 feet deep, reducing intrusive presence feet deep, combines with other sustainable cutting energy use by roughly 40 percent.have looked beyond the conventional approaches to analyze the viability of constructing borefields immediately of mechanical systems for the Frank Lloyd measures to project 180 KBUTU/GSF/YR, aboutunder a building’s footprint, utilizing rainwater retention ponds in lieu of vertical bores, and coupling the borefield Wright-designed historic landmark and half of other existing lab buildings on thewith a building’s structure. contributing to a LEED® Gold rating. University of Wisconsin campus.
  6. 6. Real Performance: Carbon Management.Necessity is the mother of innovation.“We find that smart companies treat sustainability as innovation’s new frontier.”The September 2009 issue of the Harvard Business Review advises, “It’s tempting to adhere to the lowest environmental standardsfor as long as possible. However, it’s smart to comply with the most stringent rules, and to do so before they are enforced. Thisyields substantial first-mover advantages in terms of fostering innovations.” AEI began providing carbon management serviceto institutional clients engaged in utility-scale expansions and major energy source transitions, developing a risk managementdecision process and project implementation approach based on experienced market projection, insightful regulatory analysis,expert technical verification, and comprehensive opportunity assessment. The flexible application of these capabilities producescustomized long-term strategies, fundamentally robust thus soundly adaptable to changing circumstances, establishing aconfident basis for subsequent energy- and technology-related investments.AEI carbon management services scale to long-term support and can accommodate phased scheduling. We develop theinformational bases for decisions, provide decision support and implementation, and ongoing assessments as the basis foradjustment or revision.ROI: Not a measure of time, but of existence. Cornell University asks the Hard Questions.ENERGYCONSERVATION GREEN FUEL MIX DEVELOPMENT AND RENEWABLESActions to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, broaden academicresearch, enhance educational opportunities and outreach efforts.When Cornell University initiated its climate action planning process with AEI in the summer of 2008, gasoline prices wereover four dollars a gallon. The conversation concerning measures by which the university could reduce carbon-based emission BUSINESS TRAVEL: ENCOURAGING LESS CARBON-INTENSIVE ALTERNATIVESfrom Cornell’s Ithaca Campus to net zero by the year 2050 quickly changed from a discussion of immediate payback to one ofinstitutional viability. Gasoline prices have moderated since then, but Cornell’s objective has not. Released in September 2009, 1700 LBS CO2recommended actions in the Climate Action Plan will help Cornell improve the energy efficiency of its facilities, reduce AIR TRAVELoperating expenses, and realize savings otherwise subject to commodity fuel cost fluctuation, projected carbon legislations, ALTERNATIVE OFFSETTING TRANSPORTATION 650 LBS CO 2 ITHACA – CHICAGO ACTIONSand potential capital expenditure. AEI developed the plan by leading the participation of Cornell experts, focus groups, and CARPOOLING EXAMPLE BUSINESS TRIPcampus and community stakeholders, then generating and technically evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of carbon 0 LBS CO 2reduction ideas related to existing buildings, new buildings, fossil fuel alternatives and renewables, and transportation. TELECONFERENCINGTogether, we have created a website to publish the progress of Cornell’s plan, creating a model applicable to other public andprivate entities seeking to undertake long-term strategic carbon and energy management initiatives.(
  7. 7. What happens after Real Performance?AEI’s vision – “Confronting challenges facing society, with insight and innovation.” – means our role hasn’t endedat the end of a project. Our vision is a commitment to spreading the benefits of our work. Confirming theperformance of a promising technology in a demanding application implicitly introduces it to the marketplacefor broader use. Developing a number of climate action plans creates the basis of a roadmap for others to do so.Mastery in meeting efficiency and sustainability qualifications for individual buildings leads to establishingenergy performance standards for utility-scale enterprises. Our work isn’t done until the extraordinary becomescommonplace, and then we move on to find the next “better way.” 1+1-1=0. Explain. No net growth.Chilled beam production. Energy planning for the nation’s largest university campus. “…we’ve begun manufacturing in the U.S.” Deferred maintenance is often viewed as a burden to bear. The very real potential of carbon cap and trade legislation“AEI followed their rigorous testing AEI identified lab air change rates and equipment load density as the primary determinants of lab conditions appears ominous. Yet together the two create an opportunity. As the framework to create “One Ohio State University”of chilled beam technology with a suited to use of energy efficient chilled beam cooling technology. As a continuation of our work with the National emerges from ongoing master plan work, AEI has been engaged to establish an energy and infrastructure conceptcommitment to a linear mile of beam Institutes of Health on their Sustainable Design Initiative, testing various laboratory benchtop-integrated exhaust for the campus. Foundational to the evolution of the campus over time, the work assesses such major capital projectsin a laboratory setting, no less, which as regional chiller plants, fuel switching, and central plant concepts, assesses energy conservation efforts to reduce and cooling strategies to decrease energy use in labs, we identified the potential of chilled beams. Through awas at the time by far the largest-scale campus energy consumption by over 25 percent, and establishes energy performance standards for all new variety of configurations in full-sized mockups and extensive CFD analyses we were able to prove the viabilityintroduction of chilled beam to the of chilled beams for use in this application. In addition to climate control and support of a safe and functional lab construction projects by typology. In close collaboration with the campus master planning consultant, we haveU.S. market. Because of it, we’ve begun environment, chilled beams represent potential energy savings, improved spatial efficiencies, simpler maintenance, extended their concept of “no net new growth” to further require replacement buildings to perform at minimummanufacturing in the U.S.” quieter operation, and more uniform air temperature and velocity distribution. By separating cooling capacity energy efficiency levels, formally adopted under The Ohio State University’s Green Build Policy. EnvisionedChris Lawrence from ventilation requirements, the peak air change rate can be reduced by over 50 percent. AEI worked closely modifications to the academic facilities across campus and the current capital plan – in accordance with the newCEO & President construction standards established by this policy – will substantially increase the quality of the campus builtTROX USA Inc. with the manufacturer, TROX, to fully convey the requirements that laboratory application would place on their product. We subsequently used chilled beams for the University Washington School of Medicine’s South Lake environment while systematically addressing the financial exposures associated with growing deferred maintenance, Union Phase II lab building. Operational since 2008, the facility is likely the largest lab application of chilled beams and two and a half decades of campus carbon footprint growth. in the world. APPA Guide to Carbon Reduction Practical Guide to Reducing the Campus Carbon Footprint. AEI partnered with APPA, the association providing leadership in educational facilities, to develop and publish a guide to help higher education institutions accomplish the carbon footprint reduction goals represented by the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, and identify best practices for incorporating sustainability concepts into their operating cultures. The guide ( provides a tool to support the role of facilities professionals in future sustainable planning for their institutions. AEI’s long history of partnership with colleges and universities here provides fundamental support to a ground shift institutional response to social and economic – as well as environmental – challenges. Educational facilities professionals play a prominent central role in implementing campus carbon footprint reduction goals, organizing inventory, tactical planning, and investment in ten strategic categories: conservation and energy efficiency; energy production and procurement; green construction and renovation; space utilization; transportation; waste reduction and recycling; procurement; food services; education and research; and, outreach and awareness. Published as a web document, the guide is a dynamic resource that will be updated continually to reflect technological advances and current legislation.
  8. 8. Making the extraordinary big ideas | verifiable solutions | real performancecommonplace. Findingthe next better way.Contact a member of the AEI Sustainable Consulting team to learn more:Mike Walters, LEED® AP Paul Erickson, LEED® AP Peter StruppSustainable Practice Leader Sustainable Design Specialist Director of Business Development608.236.1194 608.236.1112 Affiliated Engineers Chapel Hill, North Carolina Chicago, Illinois Gainesville, Florida Houston, Texas Madison, Wisconsin Minneapolis, Minnesota Metro DC Phoenix, Arizona Seattle, Washington Tampa, Florida Walnut Creek, California Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain