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MTF understands there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to achieve significant energy savings. Energy demand can only be reduced through a whole systems analysis – one which evaluates how all the components of a building (including insulation, light fixtures, orientation, climate, and occupancy) work synergistically to reduce the building’s overall energy demand.

Energy Efficiency & Alternative Energy Sources
Whole-building energy modeling and parametric analysis is used to understand tradeoffs and synergies. In-house software development enables the analysis of challenging interactions such as thermal mass effects, ventilation, wind patterns, solar orientation, and various building fabrics. We use a suite of analysis simulation packages (Trace 700, Window5, IES, AGI and others) to:

  • Model annual building energy use at all stages of design process;
  • Develop early energy use parametrics to identify energy saving opportunities in design alternatives;
  • Assist on Value Engineering issues in regards to energy efficiency;
  • Identify and size appropriate alternative energy sources including photovoltaic cells, geothermal wells or a hybrid mixture of sources.

Annual Energy Use.
Achieving a low-energy configuration, in terms of cooling, heating, lighting and equipment loads, is a primary metric for determining the optimal configuration. However, it cannot be the only one. There are practical limits to the constructability of energy efficiency solutions, and it is important to determine the point of diminishing returns. For example, how much benefit is derived from adding an additional inch of insulation? Therefore, energy use is considered along with the other metrics below.

Practical Cost-Effectiveness.
This metric uses estimated construction costs relative to a standard baseline facility for the particular components of a modeled configuration, as well as the cost of the optimized design required to provide 100% of its energy use. The sum of these costs or cost savings is considered the cost-effectiveness for choosing a particular configuration of the building system that will result in a real impact on overall construction cost and energy use.

Occupant Comfort.
Many energy efficiency measures do not show up as beneficial in a simple energy use calculation, but they could have a large impact on thermal comfort. One example is thermal mass. Though thermal mass does not significantly reduce cooling loads, it does affect interior mean radiant temperatures, and therefore occupant comfort and potentially HVAC system sizing or setpoints. This metric uses the number of degreehours spent outside a specified comfort zone over the course of a year to measure occupant comfort.