The Integration of Engineering and Architecture: a Perspective on Natural Ventilation for the new San Francisco Federal Building

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Conference Proceedings

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A description of the in-progress design of a new Federal Office Building for San Francisco is used to illustrate a number of issues arising in the design of large, naturally ventilated office buildings. These issues include the need for an integrated approach to design involving the architects, mechanical and structural engineers, lighting designers and specialist simulation modelers. In particular, the use of natural ventilation, and the avoidance of air-conditioning, depends on the high degree of exposed thermal mass made possible by the structural scheme and by the minimization of solar heat gains while maintaining the good daylighting that results from optimization of the façade. Another issue was the need for a radical change in interior space planning in order to enhance the natural ventilation; all the individual enclosed offices are located along the central spine of each floorplate rather than at the perimeter. The role of integration in deterring the undermining of the design through value engineering is discussed. The comfort criteria for the building were established based on the recent extension to the ASHRAE comfort standard based on the adaptive model for naturally ventilated buildings. The building energy simulation program EnergyPlus was used to compare the performance of different natural ventilation strategies. The results indicate that, in the San Francisco climate, wind-driven ventilation provides sufficient nocturnal cooling to maintain comfortable conditions and that external chimneys do not provide significant additional ventilation at times when it when it would be beneficial.


2002 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

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