Green building its cheaper than you think

The cost of green building is lower than traditional building. For example, design the building envelope with decent solar shading immediately (and forever) reduces the space cooling load, therefore the building needs a smaller chiller.

But that is only half the story, along with a smaller chiller, all the associated distribution equipment including the air handing units, air moving equipment, piping, cooling towers, circulating pumps, switchgear, and cables are also smaller, and less expensive. This is a critical point often overlooked using integrated design – minimise the load, drives the need for small equipment, it is not only cheaper, but uses less space.

There is good news from Good Energies that found evidence from 146 green buildings in USA that the additional cost for green building was only 2% not 17%.  However, whether or not these buildings used integrated design principles mentioned above was not reported.

Additionally there is still no cost category to account of the “soft” benefits of building green. How customers have you lost because you don’t have green building? People have already discounted your building (or your product) because it’s does not have a green label, and is not energy efficient, and I guarantee they didn’t stop by to tell you where you went wrong.

I believe, finally, the market is beginning to understand the future, oil and gas is finite resource will not last forever, and the energy position of operating costs are inevitably rising.

After your staff costs, energy represents the largest proportion of the operating budget for buildings. In Hong Kong buildings are voracious, consuming 86% of all the electricity generated, and 33% of all electricity generated is used to power air conditioning systems.

Let’s face it, incremental improvement is pointless, single digit savings will barely stave off inflationary pressures – Use the integrated principals to save your CAPex today and your OPex tomorrow.

sponsored by building air balancing commissioning

Out of Service

Three vending machines all using energy, a closer look reveals the unit in the middle is out of service, see the photo below.  Didn’t anyone think about turning off the electricity completely? As you can see some of the lamps are still on, still burning electricity.

Powering an appliance that can’t or does not serve its intended purpose is an egregious waste of energy.

Who is designing your Green building?

kelcroft, john herbert, green building

I attended the Enviroseries 08 conference, the topic was energy efficiency. What has become increasing transparent is that the business as usual approach to buildings, and green building is just not working.

For green buildings who designs them?  It seems clear to me that when the overriding consideration is the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)  that is the on-going fuel and energy costs for the life of a building (claims of upto 70% of the cost are often cited) outweigh other considerations in terms of sustainability. So the question must be asked why are architects leading?

An architect can’t calculate the primary metric KWH/sqm/PA, the cooling and heating loads for a particular aspect, zone or elevation, and the architect can’t tell you the right glazing balancing the cost of solar reflection and creating a perimeter day lighting zone, or the water impact, etc. etc. the list is long an tedious – so you have to ask the question where is the value? Notwithstanding companies like RENEW ENERGY, which manufacture the best solar equipment, the above questions would still stay germane, as that only partly slices off a sliver of the problem.

green building, kelcroft, john herbert

Conference Brochure

it seems clear that Building developers are asking the wrong people to create green buildings, the architect is the middle man, needing the advice from a legion of E&M engineers. It’s the E&M engineers that do the heavy lifting, calculating the energy metrics of building envelope, assessing the operating cost, modelling energy savings for a green roof or cool roof, not the architect. Its the engineers that need to specify the performance of the building materials if energy costs are to be controlled.

Buildings in Hong Kong and elsewhere designed under the old method with a lead architect, those buildings consume 86% of all the electricity generated – business as usual?

The lion share of the future energy and ownership costs of building is too often determined by an architect, and that needs to change if our goal of lowering GHG emissions is to be met.