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Swegon Air Academy in Spain: Part 1 – Impact of Green Building
December 3, 2013

Swegon Air Academy in Spain: Part 1 – Impact of Green Building

Frank Hovorka was our first speaker at Swegon Air Academy seminar in Barcelona with a topic of Value of a building: Information and life cycle. In this presentation Frank focused on the building stock in France, new issues to consider when building green building, how to monitor buildings and green value of buildings.

Frank started to talk about how to breach the performance / impact in environmental certification, how many weights one can give the points and he also presented important point on the certification systems being not only based on components and physics, but totally based on politics. Frank strongly said that certification systems are commercial products.

Frank also said: ”My wish is to have a foot in each world – technical and financial. I wish to translate the energy performance of buildings for financial people in terms of financial value.”

In France the new thermal regulations for new buildings are 50 kWh/(m2.a) in primary energy. The non-residential sector (offices, shops, and schools) is 2/3 of existing stock. And there is a large problem in retrofitting 15,5 million of individual houses.

Frank stated: ”We are building the buildings for people, not for energy savings. And we need to focus on most efficient connections. We need to match renewable sources in the areas of to the existing buildings. This approach using renewables and capacity can be much more efficient than improving buildings itself (i.e. 40%).”

The research in France shows the impact of the buildings – building functionality and maintenance, building impact on neigh borough, where the building does not work alone (it needs energy, people, transport) and therefore the whole complex system must be taken into account.

The operational energy in France based on RT 2005 is approximately 130-250 kWhpe/(m2.a) and in  RT 2012: 40-65 kWhpe/(m2.a). The problem with specific electricity (what is plugged in) is climbing up (more and more appliances). This can be shown on a passive house in Germany where there is 15 kWh/(m2.a) for heating and 100 kWh/(m2.a) for appliances. So there is a need to push people for fewer appliances and for more efficient appliances. The consumption of appliances is 4-6 W when on standby and in France it is normal to put a switch for all appliances (except the fridge) when you are not at home. Also mobility is important in connection to buildings, so instead of retrofitting the buildings, one can try to avoid 10-20% of commuting, i.e. move the offices or people closer together.

In low-energy buildings one must think about reality and calculation, in France it is custom to reduce the amount of glazing (thermal loss versus daylight), or otherwise one might need to have the electrical light on all day.

Frank said: “The regulations, mandatory, certificates are not the real life; they are useful for national and international comparison. In small houses you can manage with thermal calculation and needs for running for approximately 20% but there is a huge impact in large non-residential buildings (demand versus operational energy). The value of effective green value = building x operation x use which is dimensioned on time: life span of components and flexibility.”

Another problem is that the rooms, conference rooms and kitchens are heated when we are not present (70%). There is need for an automatic adaptation of environment (IAQ) to adapt of human own metabolism. WHO declared that the outside air gives the concern, which means a higher possibility for the cancer. Therefore there is need to focus on infiltration and ventilation from outside. The responsibility on IAQ should probably lie on the building owners and managers for the people’s health inside. This all creates a challenge with energy savings with IAQ with high-quality living. And this all shows the impact of the HVAC which will be a clear issue of the future.

Another topic was real efficiency of green building leading to a proposal for nZEB with an example of data centres. In which the global use of energy used in calculation in European laws, accepted by Brussels already, e.g. the data centre and how to use less energy for running or reuse the energy, shows an example of Microsoft and their huge building consuming of 1,500 kWh/(m2.a). And they wanted to reduce energy (but focused on building envelope only), but instead they focused on rewriting the scripting codes, which led to decreasing of the needs for the time for PC for running by 50%.

In France nZEB will have with the energy use and impact on mobility checked if it is in place.  These systems of information will be translated to different stakeholders where everything can be seen as the value of the building (for investors, owner, and tenant) as loops information, to give information of performance and quality. There is a need to move from simple quantification to complex one, i.e. to work with all stakeholders (who are not usually talking together, i.e. bank loaner giving the loan to the future owner). The cost of green building can be -0.4 – +12.5% compared to the typical price. And there exists a risk assessment of securing of lifecycle components values, which gives fewer problems with running and maintenance of a building and its systems.

In France there is requirement for a guaranteed performance at the delivering of a building´s performance, i.e. blower door and thermography test. So there is also a great need to translate the technical information into formulas and energy, in order to be able to translate it further into financial value, where also the uncertainty must be managed well.