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Many state model energy codes provide, as an optional alternative to building design by performance standards, a numerical computational procedure to predict a commercial building's annual energy fuel consumption. This annual energy fuel consumption value determines if the building complies with the code energy efficiency. The physical constraints of the building are considered in the calculation—that is, the building envelope and internal heat gains involving people, lighting, equipment, and ventilation. In addition, the efficiency of the building's heating and cooling mechanical plant are also considered.
This paper will first describe the computational procedures, together with the imposed assumptions and limitations, and then describe how this procedure can be adapted to a computer. It is then suggested that this computer program would be valuable in determining the changes one could expect in annual fuel usage by varying certain building design parameters.
An actual representative commercial office building was then selected using the actual building design parameters as the reference building. Variation in building orientation, wall and roof U values, changes in shading and glazing values, changes in allowable ventilation levels, and changes in the efficiency of the heating and cooling mechanical heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system are all presented to show which ones exhibited a large sensitivity to overall building energy usage. The results will allow the design engineer to make some general conclusions as to which factors are most intensive from an energy conservation point of view.
air conditioning, cooling load, heat load, thermal insulation
Associate professor, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL