Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Zero Energy Office Building

The Architecture firm Skidmore Owings and Merrill are designing a zero energy office tower for the Guangdong Tobacco Company in Guangdong China. The building will feature:

Orientation, conservation, lighting efficiency, geothermal, energy reuse and energy storage techniques are used to enable the building to generate enough renewable power to meet its energy demands. This is done by five main methodologies:

1) By orienting the building towards the east the tower takes advantage of midday sun while the effects of late-day sun on the larger, southern exposure are minimized.

2) The south facade’s low-E-glass, double-layer curtain-wall system reduces heat gain, which leads to less demand on the HVAC systems.

3) The tower reclaims energy by routing each floor’s exhaust air into the south side’s double-layer curtain-wall cavity. This thermal barrier of hot dry air can then be reused on the mechanical floor for passive dehumidification.

4) The chilled slab concrete vaulted ceilings in the typical offices enhance daylighting, as well as cool the air drifting up from the underfloor ventilation system, the mass of the concrete providing energy storage. This system reduces energy used for cooling by 40 percent compared to a conventional HVAC system.

5) A geothermal heat sink is used to provide cooling water, so 100 degrees Fahrenheit water in the mechanical system’s return loop can be cooled to 75 degrees Fahrenheit prior to feeding the cooling towers, reducing the size of the mechanical plant by about 30 percent.

These five strategies reduce the building’s energy use by nearly 65 percent over a baseline of Chinese building codes. To reach the final goal of net zero energy, the design team incorporated three power-generating technologies: wind, integrated photovoltaics, and microturbines.

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