What challenges and successes have you found when designing buildings with the 2030 Challenge in mind?
It can be discouraging when, after using high-performing glass and horizontal shading, for example, the EUI only goes down 2 kBTU/sf. This can be a daunting feeling for someone who is trying to make design decisions. Large models and the technical limitations of screen shares during virtual meetings can also greatly impact the speed of analysis.
How do you approach the DDx reporting process?
Our Sustainability Design Green Team, as a whole, reviews and uploads every single one of our projects to correct bad data. We have one dedicated team member that holds the key and will upload all assigned project numbers to the DDx. Once it’s time for the end-of-year reporting, he checks that all baselines and predicted values are accurate and in the system. A few people on our team use Sefaira’s direct upload to DDx feature – the rest of the team will usually go directly into the DDx to change the EUI manually. We reported over 300 projects in the DDx in the last reporting cycle; our focus is on the accuracy of data.
Do you have any favorite projects on which you’ve been able to hit targets or make big wins?
A fun project we’re currently working on is a massing masterplan proposal. Sefaira has been a helpful tool for indicating which orientation and massings are best for a specific climate, without already knowing or having to consider the HVAC and mechanical engineering details. Along with the massing studies, we’ve been doing daylightside studies to add more insights to the project.
As an AEC professional, what does the 2030 Challenge mean to you and the future of buildings?
It gives me hope that if all the participating firms hit the carbon reduction target, we can reduce carbon emissions and curb the damage that’s been done to our environment. It gives me hope for our planet.
Education is the biggest challenge in achieving this. Many architects are not well versed in understanding EUI, and other metrics or the DDx Baseline, so when they receive an energy model report from a mechanical engineer they may not know what number to update in the DDx. Furthermore, as they learn how to use Sefaira for early concept and schematic modeling; we encourage them not to get discouraged when they don’t reach the EUI target right off the bat because there are many variables that influence the EUI.
A tool like Sefaira helps our team understand that there are different passive design strategies available to help improve the building’s performance, this includes massing and orientation, improving the envelope thermal performance, incorporating shading, reducing the window to wall ratio, to name a few.
Thanks for all your insight, Kyleen!