Track 4: This New World: Preservation technology and emerging issues within our historic buildings and built landscapes

General Abstract

1 - Baselining historic buildings for energy studies

Tuesday, September 25
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: BNCC-106BC

This paper addresses two issues regarding baselining for energy upgrades in historic buildings: 1) in planning for energy improvements, how to set a target, based on the current use, and 2) in hygrothermal analysis, how to establish a basis for comparison of performance results. In both cases the most productive and informative baseline is the zero-energy option.

In the first case, efforts to develop average or typical energy use for various climates, historic building types and building use have not borne fruit. The recent ASHRAE Guideline “Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings” was unable to find sufficient data regarding current North American energy use in historic buildings. Throughout the world, many buildings are not provided with energy sources and others are “mothballed”. The no-energy-use baseline allows energy planners to focus on use rather than savings, and it is more adaptable to the setting of ambitious climate-change targets.

In the second case, practitioners have been known to compare the wetness of external materials in the insulated case with the uninsulated case, with indoor conditioning in both cases. This often leads to inappropriate dismissal of energy options. A more appropriate baseline is the “mothballed” building, with no indoor conditioning at all. Of course, it is difficult to argue that a historic building requires a perpetual infusion of precious fuel, for mere subsistence. Transient hygrothermal analysis readily permits the “mothball” option. Results show that deleterious impacts of energy-saving options in historic buildings are often exaggerated.

This paper/presentation will walk through these options for energy planners and hygrothermal modelers.

Learning Objectives:

William Rose, University degree, professional architecture registration

Senior Research Architect
University of Illinois

William Rose is Senior Research Architect at the Applied Research Institute, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research has been on hygrothermal performance of buildings, and he is a consultant to historic buildings and museums. His 2005 book Water in Buildings was awarded the APT Lee Nelson award in 2009. He was responsible for the Building Envelopes section of the upcoming ASHRAE Guideline Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings.


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1 - Baselining historic buildings for energy studies

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