Recently our president, Shane Nault, presented at the Net Zero Energy Building Symposium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The symposium was hosted by the Association of Energy Engineers North Carolina Piedmont Chapter and attracted speakers from all over the country. There were three tracks available to attendees: energy, HVAC, and case studies, that included topics related to financing, application, design principles, and technologies.
Mr. Nault’s presentation was titled “Net Zero Energy Buildings Start with Building Energy Simulations.” Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) can be challenging, but they are achievable with the proper planning and execution. Part of that planning begins with understanding a building’s energy performance in order to assist with the decision making process during the early design phases. The key to this process is developing a model of the building to perform building energy simulations.
This requires a paradigm shift in moving energy simulations from compliance simulations to outcome based simulations. By doing so we will start to change the thinking regarding energy simulations. Compliance simulations look to determine how what percentage better than code the building will perform. This method looks to achieve only the minimal performance requirement. Is that what we really want? By changing our perspective to outcome based simulation and asking “How close to zero?” – we will be able to achieve our Net Zero goals. When this happens we will be changing our baseline line reference from code minimum to a baseline line of Net Zero!
Having an energy engineer, like Building EnergetiCx, involved in providing the building energy simulation for a project early in the design phase has several benefits. The energy engineer can provide an additional perspective of the project to the team when developing the building energy simulation. Building energy simulations can be a great asset to the project team by providing them with information to make informed design decisions throughout the life of the project, especially when trying to achieve a NZEB goal.