What is Energy Modelling?
The term Energy-Efficient Buildings has been used more often than before in the past decade by government officials, large corporations and by the media. But what does it mean and why is it important?
Buildings are considered energy efficient when designed to allow for significant reduction in the energy consumption for ventilation, heating, cooling and lighting. Reduced energy use translates to great reductions in operating cost for buildings. But, how do we design Energy-Efficient Buildings?
The answer is Energy Modelling.
Energy Modeling is ultimately a tool used to forecast future energy consumption of a building. It uses simulations to examine energy conservation measures, taking into account the building design, weather, utility rates, and occupancy profiles to accurately estimate energy consumption and cost. Using energy modeling software, engineers can adjust design parameters and immediately see the consequences of those adjustments, saving significant costs and time for building owners and operators. Therefore, the use of energy modeling is critical for cost saving and energy conservation measures within a project.
Is Energy Modeling Optional or Mandatory?
In British Columbia, the provincial Building Code of 2018 “establishes minimum requirements for safety, health, accessibility, fire and structural protection of buildings and energy and water efficiency” (The British Columbia Codes).
Many municipalities in BC require commercial new construction projects to satisfy the requirements of BC Energy Step Code. The use of energy modeling verifies whether or not the building design satisfies the energy step code requirements.
When Step Code is required, Energy Modeling is required!
The use of energy modelling supports development of energy codes and standards which helps utilities and government plans large scale energy efficiency programs.
Why is Energy Modeling important now?
The climate change mitigation measures are taken more seriously day after day considering its vital impacts on the environment. Digging into the root of the problem, the primary cause of climate change is the global greenhouse gas emissions that is largely produced by the energy supply sector. Reducing the demand for energy means reducing greenhouse gas emission.
Therefore, to mitigate climate change, we need to reduce energy consumption levels, and this is where energy modeling comes to play!
Energy modeling drives building designs towards less energy consumption and the recycling of waste energy.
As buildings meant to last for many decades, the building designs need to incorporate the future climate change and that is when energy modeling is used to optimize energy efficiency for that actual climate change that the building will experience.