Assessing the Energy Resilience of Office Buildings: Development and Testing of a Simplified Metric for Real Estate Stakeholders
Increasing concern over higher frequency extreme weather events is driving a push towards a more resilient built environment. In recent years there has been growing interest in understanding how to evaluate, measure, and improve building energy resilience, i.e., the ability of a building to provide energy-related services in the event of a local or regional power outage. In addition to human health and safety, many stakeholders are keenly interested in the ability of a building to allow continuity of operations and minimize business disruption. Office buildings are subject to significant economic losses when building operations are disrupted due to a power outage. We propose “occupant hours lost” (OHL) as a means to measure the business productivity lost as the result of a power outage in office buildings. OHL is determined based on indoor conditions in each space for each hour during a power outage, and then aggregated spatially and temporally to determine the whole building OHL. We used quasi-Monte Carlo parametric energy simulations to demonstrate how the OHL metric varies due to different building characteristics across different climate zones and seasons. The simulation dataset was then used to develop simple regression models for assessing the impact of ten key building characteristics on OHL. The most impactful were window-to-wall ratio and window characteristics. The regression models show promise as a simple means to assess and screen for resilience using basic building characteristics, especially for non-critical facilities where it may not be viable to conduct detailed engineering analysis.