Press Room

Pete Choquette and Craig Goldstein deliver stellar presentation at Greenbuild 2014!

Pete Choquette, Design and Consulting Department Manager at Epsten Group, Inc. and Craig Goldstein, Energy Team Leader at Epsten Group Inc., made a presentation, “Passivhaus Office: A Real World Case Study,” at Greenbuild 2014 last week along with Stefan Kremeier, Managing Director at Auditor at German Sustainable Building Council.

With the introduction of the more stringent energy requirements of LEED v4 and the coming 2030 Challenge, building designers are looking for new strategies to achieve greater energy performance. In Munich, Germany, Intep and Epsten Group worked together on NuOffice, a Passivhaus inspired office building which achieved 94 points and LEED-CS 2009 Platinum Certification.

“Passivhaus Office: A Real World Case Study” participants are now able to recognize the challenges inherent in improving the energy performance of core and shell projects and adapting European systems to North American standards. Additionally, they realize how the design assumptions of a Passivhaus inspired building relate to the actual energy consumption, operations, and maintenance of the facility.

Basically, the presentation covered:

• Passivhaus is a design standard developed in Northern Europe and Scandinavia that has demonstrated success in achieving extremely high levels of energy performance and thermal comfort in buildings. The typical Passivhaus building uses just 10% of the energy a typical existing building consumes.
• With growing concerns about the environment due to ever-increasing population and demand for energy, many organizations have adopted more stringent energy conservation and sustainability goals, such as the 2030 Challenge’s goal of achieving net-zero energy consumption by the year 2030. Passivhaus design techniques are a tool that can be utilized to shrink the energy footprint of buildings and the amount of renewable energy sources necessary to offset remaining consumption, thereby making net-zero more feasible.
• The Passivhaus standard focuses on techniques like super-insulated building envelopes, extremely tight air barriers, and passive/radiant heating systems to achieve high levels of energy performance and thermal comfort.
• The NuOffice project in Munich, Germany, which is a 5-story office building designed using Passivhaus principles, utilized these techniques along with technologies like ground source geothermal absorption heat pumps and photovoltaics to realize energy consumption savings modeled at well over 50% the baseline building for a modest ~5% premium in construction first costs.
• In practice, NuOffice was able to attract high-end tenants like McLaren, Armani, and Estee Lauder to the building, which currently has a 100% rental rate. The project also has a 95% thermal comfort satisfaction rate and consumes roughly 1/3 the amount of energy as contemporary buildings in Munich. This represents three significant benefits to potential developers and building owners considering building a Passivhaus inspired commercial project: 1.) The ability to attract tenants, and particularly high-end tenants who will presumably pay more generous leasing rates, 2.) The ability to retain those tenants by having a high level of thermal comfort in the building, and 3.) Drastically lower costs to operate the building thanks to the energy efficiency measures incorporated into the building.

The conference was very well attended and many participants lingered afterwards to ask individual questions and meet the team.

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