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R. Di Giulio, C. Quentin, B. Turillazzi – Ipostudio Architetti, Italy R. Sebastian – DEMO Consultants BV, The Netherlands

N.J. Nauta – TNO, The Netherlands

Meeting the energy- efficient buildings challenge

This article presents the methodology defined within STREAMER – an EU FP7 industry-driven collaborative research project on Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) with cases of mixed-use healthcare districts – to approach the organisational, distribution and functional aspects of healthcare buildings in relation to their energy-related features.

Energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emission of healthcare buildings and districts are a key factor for a sustainable community since their energy use and carbon emissions are among the highest of all building types. On average, a hospital uses 2.5 times more energy than an office. In order to cope with changing energy,

financial, political, societal and environmental demands, all healthcare districts in Europe are seeking to reduce their energy consumption and carbon emission by between 30% and 50%. The STREAMER research project aims at

50% reduction of the energy use and carbon emission of new and retrofitted buildings in healthcare districts by optimising semantics- driven design methodologies with interoperable tools for geo and Building Information Modelling (Semantic BIM and GIS) to validate the energy performance at the design stage. There are two distinctive ways in which

hospitals are designed – the ‘designers’ way and the ‘engineers’ way. These two ways need to be brought together in BIM to capture the full potential of the needed energy reductions The subject of EeB is currently among the

most urgent research priorities in the European Union (EU). To achieve the broadest impact, an EeB approach needs to resolve challenges at the neighbourhood level, instead of focusing just on improvements of individual buildings. (Koch et al. 2012) A mixed-use healthcare district is the

best real example of a neighbourhood or a campus area with an integrated energy system, which consists of a variety of different buildings. In most European cities there is at least


one healthcare district. Its energy use could exceed that of 20,000 dwellings; therefore, its impact on the city’s energy performance is enormous. Energy efficiency and reduction of carbon emission of healthcare buildings and districts are a key factor for a sustainable community since their energy use and carbon emission are among the highest of all building types. There are some 15,000 hospitals in the EU responsible for at least 5% of the annual EU’s carbon emissions. The design phase of new building projects,

as well as building retrofitting projects, is the crucial moment for integrating multi-scale EeB solutions. A new methodology is required to achieve real EeB optimisation. A new design methodology is necessary in three key

areas to optimise and integrate: 1 Building envelope and space layout. 2 Medical, MEP and HVAC systems. 3 Building and neighbourhood energy grids

(Singer et al. 2009; Johnson Control, 2010; Nedin, 2011).

For a better optimisation and integration the new design methodology needs to encompass all scales and all lifecycle phases of the built environment. The building envelope and space layout require optimisation in terms of innovative services and building operations within the neighbourhood and surrounding areas.

Moreover, the new design methodology

needs to solve the most crucial design failure that causes transmission loss/efficiency loss between equipment and buildings during

‘There are substantial difficulties in the design interpretation, communication and decision-making involving many different stakeholders.’

operation, especially when modern equipment is installed in existing buildings or energy systems. Therefore, the medical, MEP and HVAC systems require an optimisation in terms of cost-effectiveness, taking into account the inter-dependencies between building components and energy systems. Further, optimal interaction between the

building’s and neighbourhood’s energy systems in the district should be operated through smart grid, smart use of district heating/cooling and energy generation. Therefore, considering the multiple dimensions and scale levels the design has to cover, the new methodology needs to rely on the interoperability between Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) (Przybyla, 2010; Sebastian et al. 2013).

EU FP7 STREAMER The EU FP7 STREAMER project relies on a strategy for a four-year large-scale integrating collaborative project that coherently integrates two main innovation areas: EeB technology innovation, on one side, dealing with the design optimisation based on the building and district typologies as well as the EeB technologies and measures. Semantic design innovation, on the other side, dealing with new methodologies and tools to help clients, design teams, building operators and occupants in an effective design collaboration. The STREAMER consortium consists of

20 partners, including design engineering and construction companies; healthcare institutions; research organisations; and public bodies.

Inadequacy of existing methodologies The STREAMER research project takes the inadequacy of existing design methodologies to create holistic Energy-efficient Building (EeB) solutions as the basis for identification of the innovation strategies to be adopted. State-of-the-art EeB technologies are available, but they can only function optimally if well-integrated in the design of the building and district energy systems, taking into account the whole lifecycle’s impacts.


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