REHVA Journal – February 2012
A number of laws were published in Russia over the last two years aimed at 40% reduction of the power consumption in buildings by 2020 and improvement of environmental safety. These laws introduce regulations for primary energy consumption, mandatory energy audits of buildings and use of alternative energy sources. Special attention of the Government and stakeholders is aimed at green construction.
Green construction is one of the most promising directions for development not only in the construction complex, but also in the social environment.
In order to evaluate buildings according to the green construction system ”ABOK” has designed standard ”Green construction. Residential and public buildings. Rating system for environment sustainability evaluation.” This Standard contains requirements for energy efficiency and environmental performance of buildings, as well as for a building in general as the human environment.
Evaluation of a building as human environment is related not only to the construction facility itself, but to other parameters, including the meaning of ”human environment”, namely: availability of parking zones, sport and children’s facilities, parking spaces for cars and bicycles near the building, distance to public transport stops, etc.
Green buildings, as human environment, are attractive for investors, designers, utility equipment manufacturers and housing owners.
Requirements for green buildings are sufficiently high and cannot be met by the traditional design principles based mainly on typical solutions. As a result we need to arm designers, builders and operators with new creative knowledge.
In essence certification of a facility as a green building initiates a creative search for architects and engineers of such technical solutions that minimize negative and optimize positive influence of energy, environmental and technological factors that define the building as human environment. In this work it is difficult to separate the creativity of architect and engineer: we have to consider their joint work during the entire design process and only such union can bring success in achievement of the set goal.
This standard is not the "final word” of the construction business development in Russia, but a road map that the construction industry must follow.
The construction society met this Standard positively. It is interesting for each link participating in the building life cycle – design, construction and operating organizations, investors, consumers, manufacturers of building materials, structures and engineering equipment.
A peculiarity of the Russian standard is that it contains 10 categories of the rating system of the environment sustainability. Categories and their weight are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Categories of the human environment sustainability.
Category weight, %
Comfort and quality of external environment
Quality of architecture and facility planning
Comfort and ecology of inner environment
Quality of sanitary protection and waste disposal
Rational water usage
Energy saving and energy efficiency
Use of alternative and renewable energy
Facility creation, operation and disposal ecology
Quality or project preparation and management
Each of these categories contains environment sustainability rating system criteria.
Table 1 shows that the most important human environment rating criteria is ”Energy saving and energy efficiency”. This category includes energy consumption evaluation criteria by building utility systems individually and the total consumption of primary energy. Let’s look at values of these criteria for multistory residential building:
The first criterion - Thermal energy consumption by heating and ventilation systems – evaluates decrease in the specific thermal energy consumption by the heating system. Is basic specific consumption is a calculated value that serves as the benchmark for comparison publically acceptable consumption level and acceptable level for use in the mass construction. Basic specific consumption values are given in appendix to the Standard.
For the residential building under consideration the basic specific thermal energy consumption by the heating and ventilation systems is 20 Wh/(m²°C day)
The second criterion – Thermal energy consumption for the hot water supply system – evaluates decrease in the basic specific thermal energy consumption rate by the hot water supply system.
The basic specific consumption with 21–25 m² apartment floor area per 1 person is 120 kWh/m².
The third criterion – Electricity consumption – is evaluated under the following criteria:
· decrease in the basic specific electricity consumption for building lighting;
For a residential building – determine the decrease in the basic specific electricity consumption for lighting of common areas. For example, the basic specific consumption for staircases, elevator lobbies and entrance lobbies is 30 kWh/m² per year.
· decrease in the basic specific electricity consumption for building utility systems;
The basic specific consumption for ten-storey residential building is 9.3 kWh/m² per year.
· decrease in the basic specific electricity consumption for air conditioning system.
For the design temperature of outside air in the warm period of 26°С and average daily specific inner heat emission of 11 W/m² the basic specific consumption is 15.5 Wh/(m²С per day).
A separate evaluation is done for installation of power consuming equipment and electrical devices labeled not lower than the two top categories of energy efficiency.
The fourth criterion – Total primary energy consumption for building energy supply systems – evaluated decrease in the basic specific consumption of primary energy for building utility systems.
For the building under consideration with 4 943 degree-days this basic specific consumption amounts to 49.4 kg of conventional fuel/m² per year.
Such approach allows for the most precise and diverse evaluation of green buildings, and its main advantage is possibility to optimize the energy transformation processes and minimize the consumption of primary energy resources for production of a unit of final energy carrier.
”Comfort and ecology of inner environment” is the second important one in the rating system and includes ”Control and management of building utility systems” criterion. This criterion evaluates availability of a centralized building control system with possibility of individual (zoned) regulation and local utility automation systems, which also helps to reduce power consumption through, for example selection of efficient thermal energy regulation algorithm for heating, taking into consideration room usage density, usage mode, preferences of users, etc. This category also includes the requirements for light, acoustic, air temperature comfort and protection of rooms from radon accumulation.
The third important is ”Comfort and quality of outer environment” category that evaluates the parameters and conditions of the external environment, e.g. accessibility of public transportation and social infrastructure objects, greenery of the adjacent territory, proximity of water bodies, visual comfort, etc.
One should also note that the Standard lists economic requirements for the facility in ”Economic efficiency” category. For example, ”Value of reduced costs for the facility life cycle” criterion evaluates the share of specific reduced (discounted) total costs for the facility from the corresponding share for similar object, and ”Value of annual operational costs” criterion evaluates the relation of mean annual operational costs (energy, water, maintenance, repairs) to the similar costs for a traditional equivalent facility.
”Ecology of creation, operation and disposal of facility" category set the following evaluation criteria: minimization of the effect from materials used in construction on the environment; minimization of waste from performance of construction works; measures aimed at protection and restoration of the environment during construction, as well as minimization of impact during operation and disposal of the building.
”Quality of facility architecture and planning” category contains ”Supply of building with natural lighting” criterion, which evaluates the percentage of excess of regulatory coefficient of natural lighting inside building. This in turn provides for reduction of electricity consumption for lighting, as well as improvement of the human environment quality.
The same category contains ”Optimal form and orientation of building” criterion allowing for evaluation of the thermal energy impact of the outside climate on the building envelope using the building’s thermal performance factor. This coefficient is calculated as ratio of the minimum specific thermal energy consumption for building heating to the design consumption used during design. Such design approach allows for optimization of the positive and minimization of the negative impact of the external climate on the building envelope, thus leading to a decrease in the consumption of fuel and energy resources during the heating period.
This category also evaluates the quality of architectural appearance of the building, greenery around the building, sufficiency of useful area, comfort of space design solutions, and sufficiency of parking spaces.
Moreover, the Standard set aside ”Usage of alternative and renewable energy” category that evaluates the share of secondary and renewable energy in the facility’s annual energy balance, thus helping to achieve high energy efficiency indicators and meeting the requirements for sustainable human environment.
Another important category is “Quality of project development and management”. This category evaluates the designer’s experience in design of green buildings, developer’s (general contractor’s) experience in construction of green buildings, and managing company’s experience in operation of green buildings. Moreover this category contains “Performance of scientific research in preparation of the project” allowing for evaluation of simulation activities for optimization of energy efficiency in buildings and performance of alternatives’ analysis of the human environment sustainability.
”Rational water use” category set the requirements for reduction of specific water consumption per person per year in relation to the regulatory value, and level of discharge treatment (”grey” discharge and storm waters).
Sanitary measures and waste treatment measures are evaluated in ”Quality of sanitary protection and waste treatment” category: automated systems of antibacterial treatment, organization of primary waste sorting and system for disposal of mercury waste.
Overall the rating system requirements are aimed at reduction of the energy resources consumption, use of untraditional, renewable and secondary energy resources, rational water consumption, reduction of hazardous impact on the environment during the building construction and operation, including adjacent territory, for creation of comfortable human environment and sufficient economic feasibility of architectural, construction and engineering solutions.
Depending on the number of points received from rating criteria a building receives human environment sustainability category and receives a certificate of compliance.
The first international contest for ”Green construction. Architecture and technology” was announced for practical wide-scale approbation of this standard.