The most important aspect of a high performance building is minimizing its energy consumption. In the US, buildings use 36% of total energy and 65% of electricity consumption. 30% of US greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings.
Energy is used to heat and cool a building. Usually gas, steam, or oil are the primary energy sources. Electricity is used to run lights and appliances. Energy sources for electricity can vary. In New England the energy mix is: 80% fossil fuels, 14% nuclear, 7% renewables. Tufts University changed its electricity supplier in 2006 and now receives electricity that is about 80% from hydro power plants. Tufts’ electricity related CO2 emissions are only about 21% of the New England average.
The design of Sophia Gordon Hall optimizes energy performance to reduce its overall energy use by approx. 25-30% as compared to a building that just meets MA building code.
Extensive energy modeling was performed to calculate and optimize the energy requirments of Sophia Gordon Hall. Typically, an energy model compares a hypothetical baseline building (built to meet code but not go beyond) to the proposed building.
Sophia Gordon Hall is modeled to use approx. 476,000 kWh for lighting ventilation and cooling and 6540 MBTUs for heating. In comparison, a base case building (a conventional building meeting MA code) would have used close to 700,000 kWh and 8200 MBTUs respectively.
The expected performance of the building is 32% lower than the baseline case for electricity consumption and 20% lower for gas consumption. The expected savings in heating utilities cost is approximately 29% ($34,000 annually).
Modeling Numbers courtesy of Applied Energy Engineering and Commissioning (AEEC), September 22, 2005
Design/Base Energy %
Domestic Hot Water
To learn more about the energy efficiency of the individual components and design elements of Sophia Gordon Hall, visit the following pages: