|Examining Urban Planning’s Influence on Passive Design: An ecoMOD Case Study by Ben Chrisinger [add to thread/edit] |
The City of Charlottesville has a stated commitment to environmental sustainability, and has implemented numerous policies and ordinances to support this mission. In 2003, the City Council unanimously passed a Environmental Sustainability Policy, signed by both the Mayor and City Manager, that reinforces the local government's commitment to sustainability and aims to guide future decision-making. The Policy instructs City employees to "proactively promote environmental leadership," by way of four guiding principles: conservation, co-operation, environmental compliance and risk reduction, and restoration (City of Charlottesville, 2003). Furthermore, a proclamation issued by the Mayor and City Manager emphasizes that the City will "pursue continual improvement in our EMS [Environmental Management Standards]" and "strive to be a world-class model of environmental performance and stewardship" (City of Charlottesville, 2003).
|Research Methodology by Ben Chrisinger  |
This research aims to illustrate the influence of the ecoMOD4 building orientation on its passive performance, as a way of considering the potential impacts of zoning ordinances that dictate a very specific orientation to the street. I have continued using a simplified ecoMOD4 SketchUp model, as well as a conventional affordable housing model (based on drawings from Habitat for Humanity) from the Fall 2009 ecoMOD Evaluation course. These models have been adjusted to the ecoMOD4 site (latitude and longitude, climate files edited), and a shading element has been introduced to imitate the shading of neighboring structures in a semi-urban setting such as Charlottesville. Using the U.S. Department of Energy’s EnergyPlus program, I ran a series of simulations based on extreme heating and cooling scenarios. Data for were generated on an hourly average over week-long periods: “extreme” summer and winter, and “typical” summer and winter. Additionally, eight runs were performed for each week-long period, in which the building structures were turned on their axis by an interval of 45 degrees (from North). From these data, I looked at differences between outdoor and indoor temperature, window heat gain, and their standard deviations across the different building orientations. To provide a financial metric, I also calculated the value of the energy (from window heat gain) based off of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2008 averages for Virginia energy costs (9.62 cents per kilowatt hour).
|Primer by Ben Chrisinger  |
At the conclusion of last semester’s ARCH5300: Evaluating ecoMOD, I was left with more questions than answers. Using EnergyPlus simulations, I had tried to investigate the passive survivability of ecoMOD4 compared to conventional affordable housing. For the purpose of simplification, I made a number of assumptions about sites, materials, users, schedules, etc.
|Analyzing the Results by Ben Chrisinger  |
Potential troubles with ASHRAE. It’s just a binary system, considering only temperature and humidity. For a simple look at things, it does a pretty good job, though we know from last semester’s simulations that the considerations have to remain simple for it to work. For instance, when we had models that were vacant during the day (i.e. people at work), ASHRAE documented that as “no discomfort,” or zero. In a simple sense, that’s fine – who cares about indoor conditions if nobody is there to experience them – but when you start to consider the implications of keeping at least one individual in the structure at all times, you start to have artificial tweaks to the system (like the heat given off by humans).
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