Posts tagged with "net zero":
For years, builders across the western and southwestern regions have been moving in piecemeal efforts toward developing Net-Zero Energy (NZE) housing models for mass production, as new regulations envision the near-future proliferation of NZE building types, and energy-conscious consumers begin to ask for these structures as well. NZE buildings—a widely and variously defined concept—generally produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year. They aim to reduce overall energy consumption while also generating renewable energy on site.
Builders have discovered that the best way to standardize NZE building methods is to lower overall building energy consumption first, and only then tackle costly additions like green technology. That means increasing insulation values within building walls while also tightening the exterior envelope. It is also important to place mechanical equipment within conditioned spaces and to program interior spaces with an eye toward solar exposure. After energy-efficient appliances are specified and a building energy analysis is conducted, designers move to size energy systems appropriately for the remaining energy loads. This tactic generates tight, efficient buildings that require smaller and cheaper solar panel installations. Because many of the building-related approaches—like constructing walls out of larger two-by-six-foot studs to create a wider insulation cavity—are easy to do and do not require builders to learn new skills, these approaches have brought down the potential cost of NZE buildings substantially.
Using the above strategies, builders like Phoenix, Arizona–based MODUS Development are helping to bring NZE residential buildings into the mainstream even further by developing NZE buildings with contemporary massing and detailing at both single- and multifamily scales.
Ed Gorman, founder and president of MODUS, has been hard at work streamlining and modernizing existing NZE housing models in an effort to stay ahead of California’s plan to have all single and most multifamily residential construction be NZE-equivalent by 2020. When the change comes, MODUS will be ready. Gorman expects the housing market to move toward the wide adoption of NZE homes either way.
MODUS has completed work on several NZE developments across California and Arizona so far—most recently, a 41-unit development called Equinox in Scottsdale, Arizona. The project—the first NZE apartment complex in Arizona—is organized around a central courtyard, and the one- and two-story units feature deeply recessed balconies and loggia spaces. Gorman explained: “The balconies serve as a heat sink” to facilitate passive ventilation, and the structures “create shade directly from the architecture, the way a modernist building would, instead of as an applied afterthought.” The project came in at the same cost as a non-NZE construction and is fully occupied. The firm’s portfolio for the year includes three new NZE developments: two 20-townhome developments in Scottsdale and a 32-unit multifamily development in Tempe, Arizona.
For Gorman, the NZE strategy is a no-brainer. “Highly efficient buildings have higher tenant retention, often sell for as much if not more, and cost less to build than traditional buildings,” he said. “If you can make it work in the desert of Arizona, you can make it do anywhere.” The future of building in Arizona and California, it seems, is heading toward Net-Zero.
Santa Monica to make all new single-family residential construction net-zero energy starting in 2017
“We don’t need walls anymore. We need living, breathing systems that provide so much more to the urban realm than keeping in conditioned air and keeping out noise and pollutants.” - Will Wright, AIA|LALos Angeles’ 2016 Facades+ Conference, presented by The Architect’s Newspaper, is the 18th event in an ongoing series of conferences and forums that have unfolded in cities across the nation, including New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, D.C., and Chicago. Held at the L.A. Hotel Downtown, the conference incorporated architects, engineers, fabricators, and innovative material manufacturers into a multidisciplinary two-day event covering the state of building envelope design thinking today. The daylong symposium kicked off with spirited remarks by Will Wright, Director of Government & Public Affairs at AIA L.A., where he set forth a plea for stronger emphasis on localism and craftsmanship. Co-chaired by Kevin Kavanagh and Alex Korter of CO Architects, the event included AIA LA, four local architecture schools – UCLA, USC, Woodbury, and Cal Poly Pomona – and a robust collection of Los Angeles-based architecture firms. Four panel discussions throughout the day covered the influence of building envelopes on business, education, structural design, and data analysis. The conversations engaged audience participation through an interactive, web-based tool called Sli.do. In a morning panel discussion titled “Money Well Spent? An Owner’s Perspective on the Value of Facades,” moderator Kevin Kavanagh spoke with representatives from Kaiser Permanente, Kitchell, and The Ratkovich Company on finding the right balance between aesthetics, energy performance, fiscal responsibility, and efficient project scheduling. During breaks, conference attendees attended a “Methods+Materials” gallery that highlighted innovative building envelope materials such as electrochromic glass, metal mesh fabric with integrated media display, and ultra-compact surfacing products. The symposium was highlighted by keynote addresses from Enrique Norten and Eric Owen Moss. Norten’s opening keynote set forth an argument for a socially responsible architecture integrated into the city via infrastructural, landscape, and public space projects. He cited works of his firm, TEN Arquitectos, which incorporate topographical manipulations of the landscape to establish social spaces of public engagement. His work intentionally camouflages the building envelope into a contextual landscape—be it an adjacent park or cityscape—to dissolve the separation between public and private. Eric Owen Moss spoke in the afternoon, questioning at what point the conceptual content of a project becomes lost amidst constructional realities. Through recent work of his firm, Eric Owen Moss Architects, he focused on building envelope details that strayed from original design intent, transforming in concept and tectonics as engineers, fabricators, and contractors participated in the process. In a panel discussion titled “Bytes, Dollars, EUI: Data Streams and Envelopes,” Moderator William Menking, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, spoke with Atelier 10, Gehry Technologies, and CPG regarding tools and processes facilitating facade analysis and optimization. Sameer Kashyap (Gehry Technologies) shared perhaps the most bewildering stat of the day—that GT was able to script processes which allowed two people to produce over 1200 shop drawings per day for 33 weeks in the coordination of a highly complex facade system. Paul Zajfen of CO Architects rounded out the day with a presentation titled “Facades: A Manifestation of Client, Culture, Climate,” where he argued for contextually specific design producing a facade that “would not be possible at any other time—and in no other place.” The symposium was followed on day two with a series of “dialog” and “lab” workshops covering net-zero facade systems, digital fabrication processes, curtain wall design, and advanced facade analysis. A full roster of organizers and sponsors can be found on the conference website. The Los Angeles event was the first in 2016 of a seven-city lineup, and will be followed by a Facades+AM morning forum in Washington, D.C., on March 10th. The next two-day conference will take place in New York City April 21st and 22nd.
Boston launches a sustainable housing initiative with net-zero energy townhomes.As anyone who has come into contact with Red Sox Nation knows, Bostonians tend not to believe in half measures. A case in point is the city's E+ Green Building Program, a joint initiative of the Office of Environment & Energy Services, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Designed to demonstrate the feasibility of building net-zero energy, multi-unit housing in an urban context, the program made its built debut in 2013 with 226-232 Highland Street, a development consisting of four three-bedroom townhomes in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood. The building achieved substantial energy savings on a tight budget in part through a highly insulated facade constructed from conventional materials. "The envelope is key," explained Interface Studio Architects (ISA) principal Brian Phillips. "We design many super high performance projects and we believe strongly in the quality of the envelope as the starting point." ISA became involved in the project at the invitation of developer Urbanica, who had seen their 100K Houses, a high performance housing prototype designed to be constructed at less than $100 per square foot. One of three winners of the E+ Green Building Program's developer design competition, the Urbanica-ISA team crafted the townhomes with a dual awareness of the project's immediate surroundings and efficiency goals. "We're always interested in observing and measuring the context in order to create our design approach," said Phillips. "The materials and shapes of the Roxbury neighborhood inspired our design—as well as the requirements of creating a super high performance building." For instance, he describes the facade's most distinctive feature, a recessed vertical stack of windows, as "a riff on the prevailing bay window typology." The architects' material choices "were motivated by aesthetics, affordability, and recycled content," said Phillips. The primary facade material, prefinished fiber cement lap siding, is common to the neighborhood's existing residential fabric. Each attached house features an interlocking pattern of grey-blue and cedar-textured siding, for contrast, while the reverse bay windows are wrapped in dark grey metal panels. Double-stud walls, blown in insulation, and super tight doors and windows reduce thermal gain to a bare minimum. Thanks to its high performance envelope, energy-generating rooftop photovoltaic panels, and integrated user-feedback system, 226-232 Highland met the E+ Green Building Program's concrete goals, earning LEED Platinum for Homes certification and HERS Index scores between -11 and -15. Even during the unusually cold winter of 2013-2014, the Boston Redevelopment Authority reported, the project recorded energy positive days. But the townhomes also fulfilled the less tangible component of the city's mission, as a demonstration that sustainable housing can be built simply and for a reasonable price. "Green development is no longer just the big high-rises and large projects downtown," said Boston Redevelopment Authority deputy director Prataap Patrose at an event celebrating the building's LEED Platinum certification. "It's happening here. It's happening in our neighborhoods."