Development of a commercial building/site evaluation framework for minimizing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of transportation and building systems
Weigel, Brent Anthony
MetadataShow full item record
In urbanized areas, building and transportation systems generally comprise the majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy consumption. Realization of global environmental sustainability depends upon efficiency improvements of building and transportation systems in the built environment. The selection of efficient buildings and locations can help to improve the efficient utilization of transportation and building systems. Green building design and rating frameworks provide some guidance and incentive for the development of more efficient building and transportation systems. However, current frameworks are based primarily on prescriptive, component standards, rather than performance-based, whole-building evaluations. This research develops a commercial building/site evaluation framework for the minimization of GHG emissions and energy consumption of transportation and building systems through building/site selection. The framework examines, under uncertainty, multiple dimensions of building/site operation efficiencies: transportation access to/from a building site; heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and domestic hot water; interior and exterior lighting; occupant conveyances; and energy supply. With respect to transportation systems, the framework leverages regional travel demand model data to estimate the activity associated with home-based work and non-home-based work trips. A Monte Carlo simulation approach is used to quantify the dispersion in the estimated trip distances, travel times, and mode choice. The travel activity estimates are linked with a variety of existing calculation resources for quantifying energy consumption and GHG emissions. With respect to building systems, the framework utilizes a building energy simulation approach to estimate energy consumption and GHG emissions. The building system calculation procedures include a sensitivity analysis and Monte Carlo analysis to account for the impacts of input parameter uncertainty on estimated building performance. The framework incorporates a life cycle approach to performance evaluation, thereby incorporating functional units of building/site performance (e.g energy use intensity). The evaluation framework is applied to four case studies of commercial office development in the Atlanta, GA metropolitan region that represent a potential range of building/site alternatives for a 100-employee firm in an urbanized area. The research results indicate that whole-building energy and GHG emissions are sensitive to building/site location, and that site-related transportation is the major determinant of performance. The framework and findings may be used to support the development of quantitative performance evaluations for building/site selection in green building rating systems and other efficiency incentive programs designed to encourage more efficient utilization and development of the built environment.