Designing office space: Sustainability and energy efficiency

Office building clients demand sustainability, flexibility, and cost conservation in both new and existing buildings.


Michael F. Cooper, PE, LEED AP, is a Managing Principal at Harley Ellis Devereaux in Southfield, Mich. Courtesy: Harvey Ellis DevereauxKurt Karnatz, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, HFDP, is the President of Environmental Systems Design Inc. (ESD) in Chicago. Courtesy: ESDKent W. Peterson, PE, FASHRAE, LEED AP BD+C, BEAP is the Vice President/Chief Engineer of P2S Engineering Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. Courtesy: P2S Engineering


Michael F. Cooper, PE, LEED AP, Managing Principal, Harley Ellis Devereaux, Southfield, Mich.

Kurt Karnatz, PE, CEM, LEED AP, HBDP, HFDP, President, Environmental Systems Design Inc., Chicago

Kent W. Peterson, PE, FASHRAE, LEED AP BD+C, BEAP, Vice President/Chief Engineer, P2S Engineering Inc., Long Beach, Calif.

 CSE: What software or systems do you use to model the energy consumption of the building? 

Cooper: Initial predictive energy modeling is usually done with either the Trane Trace or Energy Pro software packages. We also utilize elements of the Green Builder software bundle to help conceptualize system requirements and performance in the early stages of design. 

Peterson: Energy modeling is a powerful design tool to review the relative energy savings of various energy-saving features. We use a number of software platforms since one may be better than the others for a given project utilizing certain systems. I still believe the current state of energy modeling software is insufficient to predict actual energy use of a building but is adequate for comparing options to each other. We must also realize the energy models for building energy code compliance (Standard 90.1 or Title 24) prescribe the occupancy loading and building operating times to determine compliance with the energy codes. The results will not reflect how much energy the building will actually use. 

Karnatz: We use multiple modeling engines to help us determine the performance and energy consumption of buildings including eQuest, COMcheck, HAPP, Trace, Window, Ecotect, Therm, Flo-Vent, and Vasari. 

CSE: In general, what payback period do building owners expect from an office building? 

Karnatz: Typically our office building owners are looking for quick payback windows in the range of three to seven years. 

Peterson: In our experience, office building owners are typically looking for three-year paybacks. 

Cooper: Though expected payback varies based on the type of building owner (developer, owner, owner/tenant, etc.), “as soon as possible” remains the common denominator. In general, we see expectations on the order of five to seven years, but design buildings to achieve the most aggressive payback possible. It is important that such economic modeling is done early in the design process so that financial objectives are in alignment with the technical goals of the project. 

CSE: Describe window treatments (glazing, louvers, etc.) you have recently designed. 

Karnatz: When designing regionally, it is important to look at opportunities that the site provides to the building. Controlling direct sunlight on and into the building is important in minimizing building envelope loads while maximizing daylight capture. We use both passive and active shading strategies such as high-efficiency glass systems, exterior shading, interior mechanized shades, and light shelves. 

Cooper: Window treatments, like most building elements, are features that are integral to the building design as a whole. We utilize glazing, window surface texture, louvers, light shelves, solar film, and other materials as part of comprehensive building solutions. 

CSE: Describe any energy modeling you’ve used to design new office space. What programs did you use? What were the results?

Cooper: As stated, Trane Trace and Energy Pro regularly are used for modeling of new office space. Comparative evaluations of proposed building solutions are made with not only HVAC systems, but lighting and envelope as well. Results are good and getting better. As energy modeling software, building information modeling, building materials, and construction techniques are improving, our ability to more accurately predict energy consumption in new buildings is also improving.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me