Net Zero Energy Design Toolkit

04/18/2011 |


An ASHRAE project grant is funding the development of a net zero energy design toolkit designed to help facilitate the understanding of building construction impacts and net zero energy targets.

The grant has been awarded to the University of Oregon, where two students will be invited to present their project as part of the Student Program at the 2012 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Chicago.

As the building industry looks toward more energy efficient design, with the eventual goal of net zero energy use, additional tools are needed. The toolkit being developed by students will help facilitate understanding of the impact of design decisions on the rising cost of energy and enhance dialogue between engineers, architects, contractors and building owners.

“The toolkit offers a three-tiered approach to investigate, evaluate and experience the impacts of building construction in achieving net zero energy targets related to design, construction and occupancy,” says Allison Kwok, faculty advisor and branch advisor for the University of Oregon Student Branch.  “The approach is provided through pre-occupancy onsite investigations, post-occupancy audits of the existing building stock and through a professional workshop between local members and students.”

The toolkit includes a building air tightness testing system as well as an infrared camera to detect moisture, missing or defective insulation, structural shortcomings, HVAC problem areas, sources of heating and cooling loss, plumbing blocks, roof leaves and electric issues.

The kit will be used for pre- and post-occupant audits followed by a workshop, where students will discuss their real experiences with building performance analyses dealing with topics such as occupant comfort, system effectiveness and energy use.

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