The 12th annual Geospatial Information and Technology (GITA) Pacific Northwest Conference is being held in Salishan on the Oregon Coast. I have been coming to this event for about five years, because it is one of the very strong regional events. In line with GITA's mission its focus is education in geospatial technology. GITA guidelines specifiy that talks must be about general technology trends and solutions, not vendor-specific solutions.
I had the opportunity to kick this year's session off with a talk about the changing face of the construction industry as a result of the impact of environmental issues and how this is contributing to the use of more geospatial technology by the construction industry.
Construction and climate change
The construction industry contributes about $7 trillion annually to the world economy. According to McKinsey about $3.6 trillion of this is "narrow infrastructure", transportation, utilities, and public and social infrastructure, and the remaining $3.4 trillion is real estate, residential, commercial, and industrial.
Global climate change is changing the construction industry. The Interational Energy Agency (IEA) has estimated that we will spend $45 trillion adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change over the next 40 years to 2050, that's about $1 trillion per year. According to a projection by Global Insight, about 6% of current contruction qualifies as “green”. But as a result of the increasing awareness of climate chnage by 2020 regulation, owner and investor demands, resource cost, security concerns, and third party standards could result in 75% of construction being “green”. This is a dramatic change that has important implications about how buildings and infrastructure are designed, built and maintained.
Energy efficiency of buildings
According to World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings account for 40 % of the world’s energy use. According to the Energy Information Administration n the U.S.in 2011 71% of electric power was consumed by buildings, residential (37%) and commercial (34%). So increasing the energy efficiency of buildings is a prime target of government initiatives around the world.
In the EU, 40% of all energy is consumed in buildings. In 2002 European Commision issued the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that required all EU member states to upgrade their building regulations and to introduce energy certification schemes for buildings. The EU mandated what are referred to as 20-20-20 objectives. By 2020 the EU member states are legally bound to achieve the following objectives
- 20% reduction in emissions
- 20% renewable energies
- 20% improvement in energy efficiency
In June 2012 a progress report which assessed progress toward meeting these objectives found that while the EU was on track toward meeting the first two objectives, it was projected that with the current regulatory framework, the energy efficiency objective was not going to be met.
To ensure that this goal is met, the European Commison has proposed a new Energy Efficiency Directive, often referred to as the EPBD recast. It proposed several changes to the original EPBD including
- legal obligation for all member states to establish energy saving schemes
- the public sector to lead by example
- major energy savings for consumers.
In Germany energy efficiency is of particular importance in the aftermath of the decsion by the German government to shut down all nuclear power facilities by 2022. In spite of the fact that Germany is making inpressive strides in increasing renewable power generation (in the first half of 2012 fully 25% of electric power was produced from renewable energy sources), energy efficiency remains a critical part of the German plan for reducing CO2 emissions. The German 40 year Masterplan proposes the development of new buildings codes for buildings and that all buildings in Germany will be required to be refurbished in line with new standards by 2050. It is project that this will reduce energy requirements for heating by
- 20 % by 2020
- 80 % by 2050.
and that energy efficiency could save German consumers €10 billion per year.
Building performance labelling
In the UK since 2008 Display Energy Certificates (DEC) are required for all public buildings over 1,000 m2. The DEC documents the actual energy usage of a building and looks similar to the energy labels provided on new cars and electrical appliances. In additon an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which documents the energy performance of a building is required whan any building is built, rented or sold.
In the U.S. several cities and states have passed laws making it a legal requirement to report the energy performance characteristics of buildings. Washington DC, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin TX, and most recently Philadelphia have made energy benchmaring a requirement for commercial buildings, typically 50 000 ft2 and over. The states of California and Washington also have passed laws requiring energy benchmarking of existing buildings. In the case of California energy performance data must be available when a building is sold, leased or financed. It is estimated that these laws affect 4 billion ft2 of floor space in major real estate markets.
In Australia commercial buildings 2000 m2 and over are required by the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 to have a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC). In the case of residential buildings the Council of Australian Governments committed to phase in the mandatory disclosure of residential building energy, greenhouse and water performance at the time the building is offered for sale or lease.
Net zero energy buildings
A "net zero energy" or "nearly zero energy" building is one that on average over a year produces as much energy as it consumes. One of the most important provisions of the EU's EPBD recast mandates that new buildings must be designed to be “nearly zero energy” beginning in
- 2018 for new public buildings
- 2020 for all new buildings
In the U.S.the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) mandates that by 2030 all new Federal facilities must be designed to be “net zero energy” buildings. To support this objective the U.S. Department of Energy is funding research into net zero energy buildings. An example is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research (NREL) Support Facility in Golden, Colorado that
- uses half the energy of an equivalent code-compliant building
- produces as much renewable energy as it consumes annually
A recent Pike Research report has projected that because of the recast EU EPBD Directive and similar legislation in other parts of the world, worldwide revenue from “net zero energy building” construction will grow at an annual rate of 43% over the next two decades reaching
- $690 billion by 2020
- $1.3 trillion by 2035
Electric utilities and energy efficient buildings
IDC Energy Insights' top 10 predictions for the North American energy and utility sector and Jesse Berst's top 9 predictions include smart buildings as a top priority in 2012.
Burlington, VT provides an example of why energy efficient buildings are important to utilities. In 1990 rate payers in Burlington, Vermont approved a bond issue to fund energy efficiency programs. Since 2003, Burlington Electric Department (BED) customers pay a small monthly Energy Efficiency Charge (EEC) support aggressive energy efficiency programs. As a result of the energy efficiency initiative BED has been able to meet the energy needs of a growing local economy over the last 19 years through energy efficiency. Burlington’s annual electricity consumption in 2009 only about 2 percent greater than in 1989.
And BED has found that energy efficiency is the cheapest alternative fuel. It is estimated that energy efficiency investments save Burlington consumers more than $10.1 million of retail electric costs annually.
Burlington has one of the highest proportions of LEED-certified buildings in the country. It is important to note that BED not only participates in writing the energy performance guidelines of Burlington's building code, but also in the inspection and enforcement of those aspects of the building code.
Another example is Ontario where the Ontario Energy Board's (OEB) Conservation and Demand Management Code for Electricity Distributors (CDM Code) sets out the obligations and requirements for all provincial electricity distributors (80 EDCs). By 2014 EDCs are required to reduce
- provincial peak demand by 1,330 MW by the end of 2014
- electricity consumption by 6,000 GWh accumulated over the four-years 2011-2014
- peak demand by 5.6%
- total consumption by 4.9%
Since over 70% of electric power in North America is consumed by buildings, Horizon has targetted buildings for the bulk of the energy savings. Horizon is using energy density mapping to identify buildings with a high energy footprint. Partenrships with Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), Teranet, and others provide Horizon with access to building and property information such as building age, sun exposure, heating type, air conditioning, and parcel data and with NRCan/CanmetENERGY, Environics for Prizm, and Canadian Urban Institute demographics, lifestyle profiles, and standard metrics for different building types.
Energy performance modeling
The convergence of building information modeling (BIM), geospatial data and energy modeling enables designers to reduce the energy footprint of existing structures as well as design new, highly energy efficient structures.
For an existing structure, laser scanning can be used to derive a dimensionally accurate building model (BIM). Using the geographic location of the building and local historical insolation and weather information. a building energy performance analysis of an historic, 140 year-old government building shows that zoning, natural ventilation, daylighting, decoupling interior spaces, and solar photovoltaic panels can reduce the building’s annual energy consumption of 5.5 million kWh by 60%.
For a new building an architect’s BIM model provides the key elements that are required for the energy analysis such as simplified walls and floors, room bounding elements, complete volumes, and window frames and curtain walls. Together with the geographical location of the building and the local environmental conditions, an energy performance analysis can reduce annual energy consumption and power bills by 40%. As an added benefit, reducing the electric power usage of a new building over code generates an immediate payback of $400 to $800 per kW saved from the Ontario Power Authority’s HPNC program.