Keeping Up with the Trend: Energy Modeling for Every Project

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Energy modeling is often only associated with new construction projects with high sustainability aspirations. This Research Committee presentation explores how energy modeling can bring value to a variety of different project types, regardless of scale. Megan Gunther will share three case studies, highlighting how energy modelers and design engineers can collaboratively work together to produce the best design solution to meet each project’s unique goals.

The first case study explores a new university research laboratory building. The design team was challenged to meet the university’s required aggressive energy reduction targets, which tends to lead to complex mechanical system, while also designing systems that were easily maintainable by the university’s facilities team. The second case study highlights the west coast business trend with alternative project delivery and how energy modeling fits into design/build projects. The building performance analysis directly impacted facade design and mechanical system selection, all with the project goal of meeting an aggressive energy target. The final case study is a tenant improvement project of a research laboratory. Full building energy simulation did not fit with the project’s aggressive timeline, however the client still had sustainability goals that needed to be met. Evaluations of how exterior window film could reduce solar heat gain and how evaporative cooling could reduce the peak cooling load on the chiller plant helped to inform design decisions for the team and client. This case study highlights how energy modeling can still bring value even when full building modeling is not performed.

Presenter Bio:

Megan Gunther PE, LEED AP, WELL AP leads the Building Performance Practice group for AEI's San Francisco office and is a mechanical engineer with expertise in the analysis, engineering, and design of mechanical systems supporting laboratories, healthcare, and higher education spaces. Megan provides thought leadership through building performance simulation, leading to integrated design solutions with innovative energy and water conservation measures. Megan holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Masters degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin,  specializing in Building Energy and Environments.