Reducing Energy Use In Florida Buildings

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Conference Paper

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The 2007 Florida Building Code (ICC, 2008) requires building designers and architects to achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating for commercial buildings located throughout Florida. Although the Florida Building Code is strict in the minimum requirements for new construction, several aspects of building construction can be further improved through careful thought and design. This report outlines several energy saving features that can be used to ensure that new buildings meet a new target goal of 85% energy use compared to the 2007 energy code in order to achieve Governor Crist's executive order to improve the energy code by 15%.

To determine if a target goal of 85% building energy use is attainable, a computer simulation study was performed to determine the energy saving features available which are, in most cases, stricter than the current Florida Building Code. The energy savings features include improvements to building envelop, fenestration, lighting and equipment, and HVAC efficiency. The imp acts of reducing outside air requirements and employing solar water heating were also investigated. Th e purpose of the energy saving features described in this document is intended to provide a simple, prescriptive method for reducing energy consumption using the methodology outlined in ASHRAE Standard 90.1 (ASHRAE, 2007).

There are two difficulties in trying to achieve savings in non-residential structures. First, there is significant energy use caused by internal loads for people and equipment and it is difficult to use the energy code to achieve savings in this area relative to a baseline. Secondly, the ASHRAE methodology uses some of the same features that are proposed for the new building, so it may be difficult to claim savings for some strategies that will produce savings such as improved ventilation controls, reduced window area, or reduced plug loads simply because the methodology applies those features to the comparison reference building.

Several measures to improve the building envelope characteristics were simulated. Simply using the selected envelope measures resulted in savings of less than 10% for all building types. However, if such measures are combined with aggressive lighting reductions and improved efficiency HVAC equipment and controls, a target savings of 15% is easily attainable.


16th Symposium on Improving Building Systems in Hot and Humid Climates, December 15-17, 2008

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