Introducing the Low Energy Buildings Website

Post date: Dec 28, 2010 4:48:34 PM

Welcome to the Low Energy Buildings website. You will find a discussion of the Integrated Building Design (IBD) process and design approaches to achieve low energy designs, supported by load calculation and energy simulations. There is also further reading including downloads of ASHRAE articles and conference papers that I published over the past 15 years.

Many professionals in the industry constantly remark that a large percentage of green buildings do not deserve the designation because the few technologies that they incorporate were simplyadded standalone, instead of integrated into the overall design or more frequently, the designs simply relied on "eco-gadgets" over good design. I submit that an important reason for this is the lack of simple documentation on how to build energy efficient and low energy buildings using design approaches such as Integrated Building Design (IBD). Another reason relates to the lack of understanding of load minimization concepts, including the critical importance of the architectural design to achieve significant reductions in heating and cooling loads or the tendency to specify too much glass, which affects the overall building energy performance in both heating and cooling dominated climates. In this respect, consider for example, that the ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDGs), recommend maximum WWRs of 40%, for offices and 35% for schools, yet significant numbers of new commercial buildings, including office buildings and high rise condominiums, are built with much higher WWRs, sometimes due to aesthetics (Steel and Glass Designs), but also because of the false and misguided belief that large expanses of glass are an implicit requirement of daylit designs.

Lastly, there is a lack of understanding of the magnitude of energy savings that can be achieved through more efficient designs or how difficult it is to achieve savings greater than 50%. The majority of high performance buildings built in the last 15 years achieved improvements of 25 to 35% and a report released in 2008 by the New Buildings Institute (NBI) compiling the performance of 120 LEED projects found the average performance to be approximately 28% better than ASHRAE 90.1-1999.

I perceive the above issues and others like them, impediments to the more widespread design of low energy buildings, which ultimately prompted me to create this website. I hope that you will find the information contained within this site useful.

Giuliano Todesco

February 2013, Ottawa