Conceptual Design - Building Context & Passive Design

Journal Entry For
Module 4 - Conceptual Design - Building Context & Passive Design
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Created
Jan 21, 2022 9:52 PM
Last Edited
Jan 24, 2022 1:58 AM
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Alessandro Kerr

In order to effectively design a building, the climate conditions must be noted from the start. In this case, the building is being placed near Stanford, CA. Using the psychometric chart for a Zone 4 climate, the location for the exhibition center can be noted as a heat-load area. This means that heating is typically required in order for the occupants to be comfortable.

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Site Selection - Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

First, I explored each site using Google Earth. While the Stanford Dish is a local landmark and offers views of the Bay Area, I thought the location at Jasper Ridge better embodied the purpose of the Sustainable Built Environment Exhibition Center. Here are some outputs from Google Earth, including a top view below:

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I wanted to place the Exhibition Center on the side of a hill, with views of nature. There would be no neighbouring buildings that would interfere. This view from Google Earth was particularly helpful in solidifying the chosen location:

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Above, the southerly views from the proposed building can be seen. Using Google Earth was useful in this case as it provided topographic and plan views of the site. First, the topographic model was linked to Revit.

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From here, the first conceptual mass was placed at this location. An ‘L’ shaped building was chosen, with the long side facing south to optimize the views towards the lake and the mountains.

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Sun visualization was completed next. This preview confirmed that visually the building was oriented the correct way. Since heat-load is required, the longer dimension of the building should be facing the sun to optimize natural light and heat.

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Now, a solar insolation study was completed for conceptual mass one.

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The results seemed reasonable, but I wanted to see the effects of a sloped facade on the north and south sides. This could replicate a set of tiered terraces, which is something I plan to implement. The second conceptual mass can be seen below:

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The second conceptual mass and the solar insolation study:

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The amount of solar insolation increased with the second conceptual mass. Therefore, this is a more promising design. From here, a solar PV study was completed. Since the roof dimensions did not change between conceptual masses, only one analysis was completed.

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The results reveal a 14.8 year payback period. This is reasonable and encourages the use of a PV system. Finally, the insight EUI analysis was completed for both conceptual models:

Conceptual Mass One:

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Conceptual Mass Two (chosen design):

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Clearly, the effects of the sloped facade and increased solar insolation decreased the energy use (likely due to less required heat-load). Lastly, the insight tools were used to look deeper into the improvements that could be made on the chosen design. Aspects like the plug load efficiency, building orientation, window-wall-ratio on the eastern and western walls, and the operating schedule were investigated:

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Based on the above analysis, the operating schedule, plug load, and WWR have the biggest impacts on the EUI (at least out of the factors chosen). The building orientation did not have a major effect, so the current orientation will be kept. I am looking forward to further optimizing my building design in the future.