Design Project Check-In: Project Goals, Targets, and Strategies

Journal Entry For
Module 3 - Project Goals Targets & Strategies

Note: the preliminary site location for this design is in Massachusetts.

Design Goal Brainstorm:

  • net zero energy building (site energy)
  • net positive water building
  • minimize embodied carbon from building materials
  • leverage use of modular and/or prefabricated building systems
  • maximize use of passive solar design strategies (minimize reliance on active mechanical systems)
  • Build a relatively cost-effective building
  • make an accessible and useable community space

Design Goals

Design Goal 1: Net Zero Energy (site energy)

  • Design goal
    • Over the course of a year of operation, the building show generate as much energy as it uses.
  • Measure
    • Annual site energy (in kWh or kBtu) and Annual PV generation (in kWh or kBtu)
  • Targets
    • minimum acceptable target - 90% reduction in energy use intensity of a similar building type and size in MA.
    • design target - net zero energy on on annual basis.
  • Strategies
    • passive solar design techniques (thermal mass, southern facing windows, low-e glazing, trombe walls, sunspaces, natural ventilation with stack effect)
    • maximize daylighting (solar tubes, solar shelves)
    • all electric heating system (eliminate natural gas/fossil fuel use onsite)
    • solar PV (roof, canopy, integrated glass skylights)
    • ground source heat pumps
    • cool roof
    • overhang shading devices


Design Goal 2: Net Positive Water (annually)

  • Design goal
    • capture as much water as is used onsite on an annual basis.
  • Measure
    • gallons of water used
  • Targets
    • minimum acceptable target - 80% reduction in water use intensity of a similar building type and size in MA.
    • design target - net zero water on on annual basis
  • Strategies
    • Rainwater collection infrastructure (tanks, pipes, collection, storm drains)
    • grey water system
    • in-building water treatment system
    • low flow appliances and fixtures


Design Goal 3: Minimize Embodied Carbon

  • Design goal
    • Choose materials that minimize the environmental impact of producing and constructing those materials (from material extraction through building construction).
  • Measure
    • Life cycle assessment of key building materials (e.g. structure, finishes, mechanical equipment) with an output of 100-year Global Warming Potential (in lbs or tons of CO2eq released into atmosphere).
  • Targets
    • Minimum acceptable value = 25% reduction in lbs CO2eq/sf for a typical, similar size building of same type in MA.
    • Target value = 50% reduction in lbs CO2eq for a typical, similar size building of same type in MA.
  • Strategies
    • Choose low carbon structural materials
      • mass timber
      • if concrete, use mixes that have waste product aggregates (e.g. like fly ash)
      • limit the amount of concrete and steel
    • limit the amount of aluminum (used for window framing)


Design Goal 4: Cost Effective Design

  • Design goal
    • Many people associated “Net Zero” anything leads to cost premiums for products and systems. The goal is to use cost as a controlling factor to make this design realistic and not be ridiculously expensive.
  • Measure
    • Cost per gross SF ($/SF) for building construction.
  • Targets
    • Minimum acceptable value = limit the building design to cost no more than 50% than a typical commercial/exhibition building in MA.
    • Target value = limit the building cost to no more than 35% more than the typical commercial/exhibition building in MA.
  • Strategies
    • control the amount of glass on the exterior (e.g. where not needed for passive solar design techniques).
    • understand $/SF for different types of structure
    • Predictable and constructible design to allow for contractor to increase productivity
      • keep spaces similar enough that there are less custom spaces that may decrease productivity
    • steer clear of curved glass or custom shapes where possible
    • use prefabricated products where applicable to gain efficiencies onsite.