C-2000 Program Implementation

Phase 1 of the Program

Executive Summary Program Design Energy Simulation

*   Phase 2 *   Phase 3 *   Conclusions

The program has evolved through three distinct phases, reflecting lessons learned, altered budgets and new opportunities. The first phase (from 1993 to 1995) was based on a competitive process and on the provision of incremental, or supplementary, funding to cover the extra design and construction costs needed to improve performance from the baseline ASHRAE 90.1 level to C-2000 requirements. The incremental funding available to individual projects, including in-kind contributions, ranged from $315,000 to $850,000, depending on the size of the project (from a minimum area of 5,000 m2 to a maximum of 15,000 m2). These incremental costs were shared by the developer, CANMET and participating utilities, and payments covered design as well as the capital costs of construction and commissioning. The incremental costs of C-2000 represent anywhere from $57 to $150 per m2 of gross area, or approximately 4% to 14% of total construction cost.

The selection of projects for Phase 1 was a competitive process, impeccably timed to coincide with the start of a major recession in the Canadian building industry. Six projects were initially selected, but some projects dropped out and were replaced by others on a protracted negotiation basis. Six of the seven buildings designed reached or exceeded the energy performance target as per DOE2.1E simulations.

Three Phase 1 Case Studies

Of the initial batch of projects, two were built and one may be in the near future:
The design for "Green on the Grand", located in Kitchener, Ontario, beat the energy target and incorporates a number of interesting technologies and materials, as might be expected in a project led by an engineer with extensive R&D experience2. Innovations include a double-stud manufactured wood frame, a gas-fired heater and absorption chiller combination, the separation of heating and cooling requirements from ventilation air needs (logical when heating and cooling loads are very small), radiant heating and cooling achieved by means of hydronic panels and a storm water retention pond with a fountain functioning as a heat sink. Materials have been carefully selected for low emissions of VOCs and all construction waste has been carefully sorted for recycling. Initial monitoring results indicate that actual energy performance does not match projections: reasons include longer operating hours, tenant improvements incompatible with design aims, and the part-load performance of the innovative gas-fired boiler and absorption cooling combination unit.

Green on the Grand
"Green on the Grand"
From a program point of view, however, the two B.C. projects are more significant in that both developers are large-scale organizations that are very cost-conscious and have a well-established way of carrying out the design and development process. Results that satisfy these organizations, therefore, are more likely to be readily adopted by the industry at large. The major finding in these two B.C. Projects is that they meet or exceed the energy target through the use of relatively conventional technologies. This is a surprise, since it was expected that advanced or leading-edge technologies would have to be used to reach the requisite performance levels. The high performance level has been reached at a very modest incremental cost within or below the anticipated range. It should be noted that these costs include amounts for environmental features which have no cash payback, as well as energy features, which do.

One of the completed B.C. Projects, the Crestwood 8 building3 developed by the Bentall Corporation, reached the target of 50% of ASHRAE 90.1 through the use of a well-insulated building envelope, compartmental fan coil system, T-8 lamps in direct/indirect fixtures and double-glazed, spectrally-selective low-E glazing mounted in thermally broken aluminum frames.

The Bentall Crestwood 8 building
The Bentall Crestwood 9 building in its complete state
There are many other items of interest, including a careful selection of materials to ensure low off-gassing and high recycled content, but there are few unusual items or systems. This performance was achieved at an incremental cost of 7.8% over base-building construction costs of about $750 per m2, without tenant improvements. The developer has since built another office building in the same office park which retains many of the features of the first building, and the second building was constructed without any program financial support.

An office building designed for the British Columbia Buildings Corporation (BCBC) in Kamloops B.C. has not been tendered because of a provincial budget freeze, but enough data is available to paint a similar picture4. A well-insulated manufactured wood-frame structure has been selected, while mechanical and electrical systems are again relatively straight-forward. Unusual features include glazing percentages varied according to orientation, the use of fibreglass window frames and warm-edge technology, and the inclusion of trees on the south and west facades as an integral part of the building envelope design. Simulations showed that the building would exceed the performance target and, more surprisingly, that the final capital cost is likely to be less than the anticipated base building cost of about $810 per m2, net of tenant improvements. BCBC reports that at least two private-sector office buildings have been built in the region, following the design principles established in this building.

Feedback on Program Requirements

The program requirements, procedural and performance, have been well accepted by design and development teams. This is partly fortuitous, partly due to a pre-screening of participants, and partly due to the mode of implementation by CETC. With regard to the latter point, it should be recalled that CETC placed special emphasis on making quick decisions and on flexible interpretation except for the core issues of energy and indoor air quality. Also, since design teams were asked to take the initiative in operationalizing performance requirements, they naturally developed a greater sense of commitment to the program as a whole.

The Importance of Process

It should be recalled that demanding performance targets are being met in three projects through the use of relatively conventional technologies with modest or zero incremental capital costs. Although the availability of expert support and the C-2000 performance requirements certainly contributed to these results, there is a consensus amongst participants that the largest single factor appeared to be the strong teamwork amongst architects, engineers, energy analysts and others that begins early in the design process. Specifically, the two west coast projects benefitted from the elaboration of the general program requirements into a formal sequence of steps, with all or most team members involved in each. This formal process was largely developed by Teresa Coady, the architect of the Bentall project. The steps include the following:

  1. Orientation and configuration
  2. Site design
  3. Envelope design
  4. Lighting and power
  5. Heating and cooling
  6. Ventilation stage
  7. Building material selection
  8. Value engineering
  9. Quality assurance strategy
The process described above was worked out during the Bentall design and was formally applied to the BCBC Kamloops design, with the addition of some Value Engineering procedures. A qualification must be added that the steps are somewhat iterative, in that work in one step may lead to a reconsideration of work in previous stages. In the Kamloops case, the Bentall architect served as a facilitator, to introduce the concepts to the BCBC design team. The Kamloops design also took the process further by having a quantity surveyor present at all meetings, providing the design team with real-time costing as well as continuous energy simulations as the process unfolded.

Thus, a preliminary but significant result of the first phase of the C-2000 program was the apparent importance of process as compared to technical wizardry in achieving high performance; a somewhat unexpected result. It may be concluded that, although technologies are important, it appears to be teamwork and the careful integration of a number of relatively conventional technologies into the process that allowed C-2000 designers to achieve relatively high performance levels with minimal costs.

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Nils Larsson

Woytek Kujawski
kujawski@intranet.ca -  INPOL Consulting

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