Passive House in Seattle
Our very own Dan Luddy was a speaker at the 2017 North American Passive House Conference, held right here in Seattle! This year’s theme was “The Path to Zero Source Energy,” and Dan presented on the use of energy modeling in Passive House design. He showcased the analysis that we providing for 1300 Pike, and how collaboration during the design process has resulted in a simplified, cost-effective approach to Passive House certification that focus resources on the most critical components. Dan’s main message was that Passive House certification is achievable, scalable and an excellent pathway to achieving exceptional building performance.
The Integrative Process in LEED V4
The Integrative Process, one of the new credits introduced in LEED V4, falls into a category all its own. Unlike many of the other credits that quantify characteristics of the building, the IP is a pre-design practice that serves as an opportunity to perform early intervention on the project’s sustainability goals. The goal of IP is to identify synergies across disciplines and building systems when there is still maximum opportunity to have an impact on design and before too many critical decisions have been finalized. The IP addresses sustainable design considerations that can have an early and lasting impact on energy consumption, water usage and site conditions: Energy Systems Required for all BD+C and ID+C projects, the Integrative Process includes the construction of a “simple box” energy model during schematic design. This model allows the design team to explore the energy impact of key parameters, including: Site conditions Massing and […]
A Breath of Fresh Air
Last summer my wife and I took a road trip to Eastern Washington for a hike, and stumbled upon the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility located outside of Ellensburg. We weren’t expecting to see much, but stopped by the Visitor’s Center and found the experience really interesting. The facility spans 10,000 acres and includes 149 wind turbines generating up to 273 megawatts, as well as a solar PV installation that can generate an additional 502 kilowatts. That’s enough to power 63,000 homes. We happened to visit on a day that included a wine tasting event and nature walk. After enjoying some excellent samplings of local sauvignon blanc and rose, we took a short half mile hike with a local botanist, who pointed out some of the native wildflowers that were just finishing their short burst of spring color. The area is also one of the few places in Washington […]
What’s a DOAS?
Double Orange Avocado Salad? Deep Ocean Adventure Submarine? Nope, the DOAS acronym stands for Dedicated Outdoor Air System. This type of mechanical system is becoming more common in commercial building design, and is mentioned explicitly as a prescriptive requirement in many new energy codes, including both the 2015 Washington State Energy Code and 2015 Seattle Energy Code. Key Takeaways – A Dedicated Outdoor Air System (DOAS) is a system that handles ventilation loads independently of the primary heating and cooling system – By de-coupling ventilation from space conditioning, mechanical systems can be optimized for maximum efficiency – While costs and physical constraints may limit the viability of a DOAS in some cases, it is a worthwhile HVAC strategy to examine early in design to help meet targets for code compliance, energy efficiency and occupant thermal comfort. Dedicated Outdoor Air System A Dedicated Outdoor Air System is an air handling […]
Sustainability Slam 2016
I recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Weber Thompson on a presentation for AIA Seattle’s 2016 Sustainability Slam. There are a number of exciting and innovative projects taking place in and around Seattle that we were able to learn more about firsthand. I presented with Aaron Swain of WT on 1300 Pike, a six story multifamily project in Capitol Hill that targeting PHIUS Passive House certification. We discussed the specific design strategies to drive energy efficiency, and how Passive House relates to the overall sustainability goals of the project. There was a lot to talk about in a 7 minute presentation, but we managed to squeeze it in!
What’s the Best Way to Harvest Solar? PV or Hot Water?
Let’s say you have a project with some beautiful, sunny, open roof space that would be perfect for harvesting solar energy. Which is better, passive solar hot water heating or photovoltaic electricity generation? For the past five years the answer has been a pretty solid “PV all the way!” The cost of installation for PV continues to drop as panels become cheaper and more efficient, with average costs at $2.50-$3.50/watt. Additionally, wiring up PV provides better flexibility in placement and installation, as well as less risk of a maintenance headache, when compared with all the extra piping connections for solar hot water. But what about a building with significant hot water demand? The first logical conclusion is that passive solar hot water would be the most useful, but with the right technology PV still works best. Hot water heat pumps, which are becoming much more widely available at both residential […]