High-Performance Buildings Simplified Designing, Constructing, and Operating Sustainable Commercial Buildings
|Publication Date:||1 January 2019|
It has been interesting to watch the growth and evolution of the concept of high-performance buildings over the past 20-plus years. Though it started as a niche market with a few committed early adopters, the concept has grown and entered the mainstream. Even the terms have evolved-the discipline originally referred to green buildings, but the term high-performance buildings is now preferred. A high-performance building still focuses on all the key topical areas that one would ascribe to a green building as defined in the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program, but also strives to do so in a cost-competitive manner such that the conventional building market will want to adopt these principles. The consuming public and other building professionals' representative groups continue to become more aware of the societal need to provide buildings that are more resource-efficient and environmentally compatible. The topics related to high-performance buildings include much more than just energy. They also include carbon footprint, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials and methods used in the building construction, and the operation and maintenance of the building. All of these factors help to maintain high-performance characteristics beyond design and construction.
I have taught a course in Sustainable Building Design each year at the University of Georgia since fall 2007. Although it originated in the College of Engineering with a focus on serving engineering undergraduate students, the course is offered to students of all majors and is co-listed with landscape architecture. This was done purposefully for engineering students to gain insight into topics outside of their own technical discipline as well as help students from disciplines outside of engineering learn about the core technical aspects of a high-performance building. It is important that more than just the engineers responsible for the design of building be educated on this topic. Future building owners, government officials, financiers, and others play an important role in driving and supporting decisions targeting high-performance building design.
Although the core parts come from an engineering perspective, this book is designed to help instruct and guide students and early career professionals from all disciplines in the principles of high-performance building design, construction, and operation. Some content builds on material from the ASHRAE GreenGuide, fifth edition, released in early 2018 and authored and edited by ASHRAE volunteers. I served as the senior editor for the GreenGuide for the past few editions and have used it in my course for approximately 10 years; however, it is not as well-suited for use as a university-level course textbook. The GreenGuide was written for use by practicing professionals, as opposed to someone learning the basics of the trade; thus, the genesis of this book. While the focus here is on commercial buildings, many other concepts discussed can be generalized to the residential sector.
The book is structured to serve as a guide for a flipped or at least partially flipped course. By this I mean that it is designed to provide concepts and background on topics that would be studied outside of the classroom (or studied on their own by an early career professional), while reserving class time for instructor-lead facilitated discussion. Additional outside-of-class activities, suggested design projects, and learning exercises are another key component of this text. Much of the in-class and outside-of-class exercises are based on ones that I have used in my own classes. We have generally tried to keep the discussions and exercises at an introductory level, but also include some that require a more in-depth background knowledge. Instructors, students, and early career professionals using this book are encouraged to provide feedback and suggestions, and my email address is given below. In particular, suggestions for additional exercises or refinements to the ones presented in this book are very much welcome.