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A Guide to LEED Energy Modeling For Architects

Posted by: Bhushan Avastthi | Posted on: May 7th, 2013

For nearly half or more than half of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, buildings are responsible. Hence, a new guidebook to LEED energy modeling is targeting at helping architects optimize the energy efficiency of their designs.

A Guide to LEED Energy Modeling For Architects

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“An Architect’s Guide to Integrating Energy Modeling in the Design Process” has been published by the American Institute of Architects to provide guidance from the design phase to code compliance and throughout ongoing maintenance.

The guidebook frames energy primarily as a design problem for architects to solve instead of terming it exclusively the mechanical engineer’s domain. The guidebook discusses best practices and the various types of energy modeling and related tools, and also discusses how to encourage teamwork as well as integrated design.

Many of the U.S. cities have passed certain laws mandating energy disclosure for nonresidential buildings. Effective design incorporated perfectly with energy modeling, can help ascertaining that those numbers are optimal. For instance, modeling daylight penetration on the basis of glazing area and local weather conditions can help fine-tune heating as well as cooling systems for maximum efficiency. Moreover, these laws that mandate energy use disclosure, seek to leverage these transparency requirements in order to drive job creation and energy savings.

Various special-interest groups, largely chemical manufacturers and timber interests, have been fighting the LEED rating systems on numerous fronts ever since LEED energy modeling got a foothold in government policymaking.

Despite of all these pressures and LEED’s weakness as a policymaking tool – just like most of the voluntary rating systems, it does not really work as a mandate except when the government is thoroughly explicit about credits and energy performance targets that need to be achieved.

For the sake of public perception, it is extremely important for the military to keep using LEED because if the department of defense thinks that LEED is the best procedure to ensure green building design plus construction quality, then many other people will think likewise as well. However, on the other hand, energy modeling using LEED was never meant to and does not meet all of the military’s building needs.

Instead of heavy-handed prerequisites that existing buildings improve operations or get system upgrade, the local governments are pulled in towards policies with a much lighter touch – those which expose energy performance to the light of day. They simple hope that merely disclosing energy use patterns may lead to behavioral changes. However, in order to cut carbon emissions for the entire building stock, we are in dire need of more tools like LEED energy modeling to raise the bar for all buildings.

May be you like to read more about : Top Tips by Experienced LEED Consultants to Guide First-Time LEED Teams

About Author:

Bhushan Avsatthi

Bhushan Avsatthi is a senior manager, consultant, BIM expert and a green building advisor with more than 15 years of industry experience. Bhushan imbibes the prophecy of efficient and prudent use of energy in his day to day life and advices his team to do so as well. He is also involved in green initiatives like nonprofit tree plantation project and promotes using cycles for commuting small distances. Bhushan, handles a team of architects, Structural and MEP engineers, LEED consultants and Energy modeling experts.