Wednesday, May 14, 2014

An Intense Passive Discussion at Green Breakfast Club

On Tuesday morning, May 13th, the USGBC MA hosted two passive design specialists to present a case study on the zero net energy Weygand Hall at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.

Yanel de Angel and Jordan Zimmerman, of Perkins+Will, described the intricacies of a 500-bed dormitory being designed to achieve net zero energy requirements. You can read more about the project at Perkins+Will's research journal.

"Residence Halls provide a unique educational opportunity for students, since they can learn about and experience a lifestyle that embodies sustainable practices and engages them as active participants in reducing energy use for the building. The Massachusetts State College Building Authority (MSCBA) and Bridgewater State University (BSU) took advantage of a Zero Net Energy Building (ZNEB) pilot study to research design strategies and building systems that will advance the planning and design of future residence halls. Perkins+Will led a collaborative design and construction team, which included Rist Frost Shumway Engineering and Bond Brothers Construction.  Working closely with MSCBA and BSU, the team developed a detailed case study that ultimately led to successful identification and implementation of low energy strategies for the Weygand Residence Hall at BSU."

Thank you to Cyrus Dahmubed for organizing this month's Green Breakfast Club. We had a great turnout - many familar faces, and some great new attendees, esp. notable was Catherine & Brian from Stone Source - who invited us to present at their showroom nearby sometime. Thanks!

Topics of discussion and hearty back-n-forth included:
  • How seasonal use patterns affect zero net modeling and potential.
  • How a new building's "cool factor" can lead to increased use (over modeled) and overwhelm the zero net intention, but that this actually offsets less efficient use elsewhere on a campus.
  • Will students really tolerate a lack of micro-fridges?? So far, yes, and living at Weygand is viewed as a privilege. 
  • How to engage occupants through outreach & education. During the freshman orientation, one of the students asked "well, isn't this how it's supposed to be done everywhere?"
It was amazing to hear that for a $1M premium on a $50M project, you could achieve net zero potential and that was at an 8-year payback. In the mid 2020's, the school will be essentially saving more than $100k per year in energy costs, ceteris paribus. Clearly a design intention to propagate throughout Massachusetts' institutional owners.

It was great networking following the presentation. These morning events help people connect and spend time delving into a topic: it's a chance for green building enthusiasts to really geek out. Thank you to all who came, and we'll see you at the next Green Breakfast Club!

Thank you especially to Jordan Zimmerman and Yanel de Angel, and to Cyrus Dahmubed for presenting and organizing the program.

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