Methodology for the Preliminary Design of High Performance Schools in Hot and Humid Climates



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A methodology to develop an easy-to-use toolkit for the preliminary design of high performance schools in hot and humid climates was presented. The toolkit proposed in this research will allow decision makers without simulation knowledge easily to evaluate accurately energy efficient measures for K-5 schools, which would contribute to the accelerated dissemination of energy efficient design. For the development of the toolkit, first, a survey was performed to identify high performance measures available today being implemented in new K-5 school buildings. Then an existing case-study school building in a hot and humid climate was selected and analyzed to understand the energy use pattern in a school building and to be used in developing a calibrated simulation. Based on the information from the previous step, an as-built and calibrated simulation was then developed. To accomplish this, five calibration steps were performed to match the simulation results with the measured energy use. The five steps include: 1) Using an actual 2006 weather file with measured solar radiation, 2) Modifying lighting & equipment schedule using ASHRAE's RP-1093 methods, 3) Using actual equipment performance curves (i.e., scroll chiller), 4) Using the Winkelmann's method for the underground floor heat transfer, and 5) Modifying the HVAC and room setpoint temperature based on the measured field data. Next, the calibrated simulation of the case-study K-5 school was compared to an ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999 code-compliant school. In the next step, the energy savings potentials from the application of several high performance measures to an equivalent ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999 codecompliant school. The high performance measures applied included the recommendations from the ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides (AEDG) for K- 12 and other high performance measures from the literature review as well as a daylighting strategy and solar PV and thermal systems. The results show that the net energy consumption of the final high performance school with the solar thermal and a solar PV system would be 1,162.1 MMBtu, which corresponds to the 14.9 kBtu/sqft-yr of EUI. The calculated final energy and cost savings over the code compliant school are 68.2% and 69.9%, respectively. As a final step of the research, specifications for a simplified easy-to-use toolkit were then developed, and a prototype screenshot of the toolkit was developed. The toolkit is expected to be used by non-technical decision-maker to select and evaluate high performance measures for a new school building in terms of energy and cost savings in a quick and easy way.