Passive House is the most challenging energy standard for buildings employed around the world today, with a strict cap on the heating, cooling, hot water, lighting and appliance energy use. By achieving very low yearly energy consumption levels, a comfortable, durable and sustainable home can be built which uses only a tiny fraction of the energy that a conventionally built home would.
bldgtyp employs the Passive House Planning Package for all of our comprehensive Energy-Models. The flexibility and detail afforded by these tools means that we can help builders and designers optimize their projects down to the performance of individual windows and construction details. Whether or not your project is seeking full Passive House certification, these building simulation tools allow us an unprecedented look inside how your building is truly behaving.
BUILDING-TYPE CONSULTING SERVICES:
BUILDING ENERGY ANALYSIS
bldgtyp offers a full range of energy-use and building-optimization services geared towards the builder and architect. Our comprehensive energy models simulate yearly energy use, mechanical heating and cooling loads, and overall envelope performance. 3-D Site-Shading studies and complete 2-D Heat-Flow analysis are also available and can dramatically increase the accuracy of the energy model.
All we need to get started are simple plans and sections. While complex 3-D models and a full compliment of construction details are useful during the analysis, we can get started with simple schematic floor plans and some elevations. Our 3-D modeling process ensures an accurate translation into the digital energy-model and allows us to quickly and effectively change the model as we help you optimize your project.
We know that to create a useful and accurate energy model requires a great deal of experience and expertise. We have extensive experience with the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP) and can create a detailed energy-model of your building which will inform your design process, as well as be suitable for Passive House certification. This digital model will take into account all aspects of your building, from the geometry and materials used in the construction, to the lighting, HVAC systems, hot water systems inside the home.
Our process allows for a highly detailed view of the particular energy-performance of every single building element. Through rigorous analysis and testing we can assist you in finding the perfect balance of performance, costs and buildability for your project’s components.
We simulate both heating and cooling energy-use, as well as lighting and other typical energy uses to give you a comprehensive view of where your energy is going. Renewable energy sources such as Solar thermal and Solar PV are also included in this complete energy profile. Custom-made visualization software allows us to view our simulation results in a user-friendly 3 dimensional view. This allows us to identify patterns and gain a deeper level of understanding of the actual building performance as well as communicate effectively with you and your team.
Once we have analyzed your Energy-Profile in depth, we will offer several possible routes to increased energy performance. We work with designers and builders to find out where your priorities are and work within these parameters. Our iterative process means that we’ll work with you throughout the life of the project to continually adjust and verify the project’s energy profile.
Complete 3D Models can be executed of your project in order to accurately assess site shading. This is particularly important in tight urban environments where neighboring buildings can drastically impact your energy performance. These studies, performed at key times through the simulation time-frame, allow us to help you calibrate your design to best take advantage of passive solar heating during the cold winter months.
Window shading has a large effect on both the heating and cooling energy used in your building. We simulate the entire year’s energy use which allows us to find the most effective configurations which maximize free heating in the cold winter months while ensuring there is no over-heating during the summer. Especially in the Eastern US summertime over heating can be particularly difficult to manage and careful study must be done during the design phase to ensure the comfort of your building during all seasons.
DETAIL ANALYSIS & DEVELOPMENT
Our unique background in construction, architecture and energy modeling gives our team special insight into the challenges of creating durable, low energy building assemblies. Particularly when it comes to high conductivity materials such as steel and concrete, careful analysis of heat loss and moisture is necessary.
Thermal Bridges can account for 1/4 to almost 1/2 of a building’s total heat loss and can lead to problems with comfort, condensation and material durability. Our complete 2-D heat-flow simulations are performed on your proposed construction details as an additional service. This analysis allows us to predict the actual temperature profile through a construction assembly and allows us to work with builders and architects to refine their details.
AIRTIGHTNESS & VENTILATION LAYOUT
Ensuring a completely air-tight envelope to your building is the single most important thing you can do to increase your performance and lower your risk of damage from moisture issues. We can work with you to design a robust and buildable air-tight layer for your building.
Once air-tight, your building will need to breath through a mechanical ventilation system which we can work with you to design and specify. This is in addition to your heating and cooling system and is used expressly to bring fresh air into the home and provide heat-recovery on the stale air being removed from the house. We can work with you or your Mechanical contractor to design and specify a full system for any size project.
The construction of a very low-energy buildings has tremendous inherent value through the reduction in energy use and environmental impact, the increased occupant health and comfort, the increased durability of the building, and the security against volatile energy prices. We do, however, realize that there is a real cost to this increase in quality and performance.
bldgtyp can perform a complete financial analysis of the improvements outlined above and deliver results which would illustrate the financially-optimal levels of insulation, equipment selection and other improvements to the building. These analyses are performed on a ‘Net Present Value’ basis and allow for the calculation of the ‘cost-of-conserved-energy’ (CCE) over the lifespan of the project. These figures can then be compared to the cost of purchasing energy through the local utility or through Solar Photovoltaics (PV) or other renewable energy systems as desired.
As Architects and Builders ourselves, we know that things change once you get to the job-site. We offer full ‘as-needed’ consulting during your construction phase. Re-visiting the energy model to assess product substitutions, re-working Thermal Bridge simulations, and assisting with air-tightness and product selection can all be performed to help you achieve the best possible building result.
Official Passive House certification of your project is the only way to ensure total building quality. We work closely with the Passive House certifying bodies in the US and Germany to ensure that you and your project gets the credit it deserves. We can manage the full certification process including testing, coordination and communication with the certifying body.