The whole-building systems approach in conjunction with integrated project delivery (IPD) is the most modern design method for constructing an energy efficient building. The whole-building approach treats the structure as one energy system with interdependent parts. Each part affects the performance of the entire system (the whole-building). The whole-building system approach and IPD ensures the entire team of building professionals is informed and understands all the factors that affect energy use in the building: insulation and air infiltration, climate, site conditions, appliances and electronics, lighting, heating and cooling, water heating, and windows, doors, and skylights. Utilizing the IPD approach to construct an energy efficient building reduces utility and maintenance costs, lessons noise, improves durability, increases comfort, and creates a healthy and safe indoor environment. Today’s energy efficient building also aims to prevent the destruction of the ecosystem and reduce the use of natural resources like water, land, raw materials and energy. Designers, contractors, and building owners now recognize that optimizing a building’s energy efficiency requires a whole-building systems approach and integrated project delivery.
Constructing a modern energy efficient structure begins at the design phase. During the design phase, the building team (architects, engineers, developers, contractors, owners, and the building’s occupants) examine the project’s goals, the construction materials, systems, and assemblies. As a team, they set goals for energy efficiency, performance, and creative use of the space. Each member of the team is involved in all facets of the building’s design and construction. It is also important that team members understand each other’s issues and concerns and are ready to assist outside their specialty. Whole building design treats the building process as one project, not a collection of separate projects. The building team must consider many factors in the design an energy efficient structure.
- The design should make efficient use of natural resources and energy sources such as water and electricity
- The building design should minimize waste and materials by creating the smallest possible facility for the intended application
- The project must meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and Energy Star requirements for sustainability
- The design of the structure should easily allow for future retrofitting
- The design should eliminate the use of hazardous, non-biodegradable materials and chemicals that may cause pollution
- The design should utilize environmentally sound raw materials that require little maintenance and contribute to long-term sustainability
The ultimate goal of energy efficient whole-building construction is to create a zero-net-energy building — a structure that consumes no more energy than its renewable energy systems produce. For a building to achieve zero-net-energy, it must be a tight structure with continuous air and moisture barriers throughout the building thermal envelope*. The ASHRAE 90.1 and the 2015 IECC, in fact, require continuous insulation in both residential and commercial structures. Wrapping a building’s envelope with a layer of CI, along with air and moisture barriers increases the effective R-value**, eliminates thermal convection and provides a comfortable indoor environment. Other features important to a zero-net-energy building are energy efficient appliances, heating and cooling, water heating and home electronics. Building orientation, window placement and a renewable energy source, like solar panels on the roof, are also essential to a zero-net-energy building. A zero-net-energy building uses no more energy than it generates by utilizing continuous insulation, air and moisture barriers, energy efficient appliances and mechanicals and electronics, and a renewable energy source.
Benefits of an Energy Efficient Building
An energy efficient building benefits the environment, saves money and is comfortable and safe for the occupants. Energy efficient buildings are good for the environment because less energy consumption means fewer emissions of greenhouse gases, a known cause of global climate change***. An energy efficient building saves money through lower electric bills. They also save money because energy efficient buildings have better performing ventilation systems; therefore may require smaller, less expensive heating and cooling equipment. Additionally, energy efficient buildings have fewer drafts and less chance of mold and rot. An energy-efficient building is good for the environment and a proven best practice for a high-performance building.
Bautex Wall System Creates Energy Efficient Buildings
The Bautex Wall System is made with insulated concrete blocks that produce energy efficient exterior walls that contribute towards a zero-net-energy building. They are also an ideal material choice when implementing the whole-building systems approach to constructing an energy efficient building. Bautex Wall System also exceeds the codes and standards of the ASHRAE 90.1 and 2015 IECC for continuous insulation.
Utilizing the whole-building systems approach when constructing a modern energy efficient structure combines energy-efficient construction, appliances, HVAC, water heating, home electronics and lighting along with a renewable energy system. Energy efficient construction saves energy and money. In fact, energy-efficient buildings in America use 35 percent less energy than typical buildings. For more information on utilizing insulated concrete blocks in the whole-building design process visit Bautex Wall System.
*The envelope of a building is the thermal barrier that controls the flow of heat, moisture, and air between the interior and exterior of the structure. It includes the walls, roof, windows, and doors.
**The effective R-value of a building’s wall assembly is its resistance to conduction.
***Reducing energy use helps the environment because much of the energy comes from burning fossil fuels. The burning of fossil fuels has caused an excessive buildup of greenhouse gases, which has created global warming. Adverse impacts of global warming are extensive. A few of the impacts include rising sea levels due to increasing rates of glacial melting, more acidic oceans due to increasing carbon dioxide levels, and more frequent and severe weather events.