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Evaluating different green school building designs for Albania: indoor thermal comfort, energy use analysis with solar systems

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Improving the conditions of schools in many parts of the world is gradually acquiring importance. The Green School movement is an integral part of this effort since it aims at

Improving the conditions of schools in many parts of the world is gradually acquiring importance. The Green School movement is an integral part of this effort since it aims at improving indoor environmental conditions. This would in turn, enhance student- learning while minimizing adverse environmental impact through energy efficiency of comfort-related HVAC and lighting systems. This research, which is a part of a larger research project, aims at evaluating different school building designs in Albania in terms of energy use and indoor thermal comfort, and identify energy efficient options of existing schools. We start by identifying three different climate zones in Albania; Coastal (Durres), Hill/Pre-mountainous (Tirana), mountainous (Korca). Next, two prototypical school building designs are identified from the existing stock. Numerous scenarios are then identified for analysis which consists of combinations of climate zone, building type, building orientation, building upgrade levels, presence of renewable energy systems (solar photovoltaic and solar water heater). The existing building layouts, initially outlined in CAD software and then imported into a detailed building energy software program (eQuest) to perform annual simulations for all scenarios. The research also predicted indoor thermal comfort conditions of the various scenarios on the premise that windows could be opened to provide natural ventilation cooling when appropriate. This study also estimated the energy generated from solar photovoltaic systems and solar water heater systems when placed on the available roof area to determine the extent to which they are able to meet the required electric loads (plug and lights) and building heating loads respectively.

The results showed that there is adequate indoor comfort without the need for mechanical cooling for the three climate zones, and that only heating is needed during the winter months.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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A methodology to sequentially identify cost effective energy efficiency measures: application to net zero school buildings

Description

Schools all around the country are improving the performance of their buildings by adopting high performance design principles. Higher levels of energy efficiency can pave the way for K-12 Schools

Schools all around the country are improving the performance of their buildings by adopting high performance design principles. Higher levels of energy efficiency can pave the way for K-12 Schools to achieve net zero energy (NZE) conditions, a state where the energy generated by on-site renewable sources are sufficient to meet the cumulative annual energy demands of the facility. A key capability for the proliferation of Net Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) is the need for a design methodology that identifies the optimum mix of energy efficient design features to be incorporated into the building. The design methodology should take into account the interaction effects of various energy efficiency measures as well as their associated costs so that life cycle cost can be minimized for the entire life span of the building.

This research aims at developing such a methodology for generating cost effective net zero energy solutions for school buildings. The Department of Energy (DOE) prototype primary school, meant to serve as the starting baseline, was modeled in the building energy simulation software eQUEST and made compliant with the requirement of ASHRAE 90.1-2007. Commonly used efficiency measures, for which credible initial cost and maintenance data were available, were selected as the parametric design set. An initial sensitivity analysis was conducted by using the Morris Method to rank the efficiency measures in terms of their importance and interaction strengths. A sequential search technique was adopted to search the solution space and identify combinations that lie near the Pareto-optimal front; this allowed various minimum cost design solutions to be identified corresponding to different energy savings levels.

Based on the results of this study, it was found that the cost optimal combination of measures over the 30 year analysis span resulted in an annual energy cost reduction of 47%, while net zero site energy conditions were achieved by the addition of a 435 kW photovoltaic generation system that covered 73% of the roof area. The simple payback period for the additional technology required to achieve NZE conditions was calculated to be 26.3 years and carried a 37.4% premium over the initial building construction cost. The study identifies future work in how to automate this computationally conservative search technique so that it can provide practical feedback to the building designer during all stages of the design process.

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  • 2016