Monday, November 26, 2007

ASHRAE Green Guide

I spent some time over the holidays catching up on my reading--I had at least three old ASHRAE Journals to review and I have a copy of the ASHRAE Green Guide just taking up room on my shelf. While I was familiar with the Green Tips portion of the guide (Available for free at the Engineering for Sustainability website), I really hadn't spent much time reviewing the book itself. After a quick review, one of the portions of the book I found interesting was in Chapter 7: Conceptual Engineering Design-Load Determiniation. The guide had some sample pie charts showing average energy use of particular building types in specific climactic areas of the US. The guide provided a web-link to where software to create this type of graph for a given project could be found. The idea being that it would help to know what the state of the industry is when setting performance goals for your high-performance project. The software tool identified, however, is a commercial product and requires the user to purchase a site license to gain the capabilities highlighted in the Guide.

After a little snooping around on the web, I found that much of this information is available for free online: One place this sort of data is available is The Energy Information Agency website. This site publishes a lot of data about energy use in commercial and residential structures in the US, including basic data of energy use broken out by region. This data is compiled from extensive surveys of many, many facilities throughout the US.

More limited in scope, but more detailed in the description of the projects profiled is the DOE High-Performance Building Database. Nearly 100 different high-performance buildings are identified with their energy budgets (in kBTU/sq. ft, based on actual metered performance) provided. Each sustainability strategy for the building is described in detail in the project report that is on public file.

Another resource is the DOE Building Energy Data Book which breaks down energy use by fuel type, occupancy and size for residential and commercial buildings.

These other resources may not be as convenient as the highlighted software, but you can't beat the price!. And other resources are very likely available online.

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