IEA Research Project

Until recently, most planners of public communities (military garrisons, universities, etc.) addressed energy systems for new facilities on an individual facility basis without consideration of energy sources, renewables, storage, or future energy generation needs. Building retrofits of public buildings typically do not address energy needs beyond the minimum code requirements. Energy demand reduction using energy performance contracting models typically address mechanical and lighting systems and their controls; and electrical energy savings from these projects range between 20% and 40% from the pre-renovation baseline.

This status quo in planning and execution of energy-related projects will not support the attainment of current energy goals (EPBD in Europe and 10CFR-433 in the United States) and the minimization of costs for providing energy security. However, significant additional energy savings and increased energy security can be achieved using holistic solutions for the heating and cooling needs of the buildings. There is also a need to add advanced energy supply, distribution, and storage systems for district heating and cooling for the standalone campus or as an integrated part of a nearby city.

Following the discussions during the NATO Net Zero Energy Water and Waste Advanced Training Course in Wiesbaden (April 2016) and during the European Defence Agency Consultation Forum in Dublin (June 2016), we have collected and prepared a pre-proposal for the R&D project concept “Towards Net Zero Energy Public Communities.” This project is intended as a collaborative effort by European countries, the United States, Canada, and Australia, to be executed under the umbrella of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy in Buildings and Communities (EBC) program. The European Defence Agency has reviewed this proposal and expressed their support to this project.

The proposed project will develop a database of building stock energy use and propose a set of energy targets, including a matrix for their evaluation. Furthermore, it will summarize the state-of-the-art technologies and concepts for community-wide energy master planning including single building and community wide power and thermal (heating/cooling) needs. The project intends to advance the integration of various new energy master planning tools and strategies by standardizing data models and developing new software services that will assist in meeting current and future energy efficiency (site and source) and energy security goals. It will research and integrate innovative energy supply and energy distribution strategies (including information on their performance and costs), which will culminate in a complete community energy modelling tool. The project will focus on publically owned and operated building communities, e.g., infrastructure components of Armed Forces (military garrisons), university campuses, hospitals, etc., which are responsible for all costs related to new construction, renovation, and operation and maintenance.

During the recent meeting in Oslo, Norway on June 2016, the IEA EBC Executive Committee accepted the attached pre-proposal for the preparation phase. The project’s full proposal will be developed through emails and teleconferences, followed by two workshops with the representatives from countries that have expressed an interest in participating in this research project to refine the project goals, objectives, structure, and specific tasks; and to assign project co-leads for each task. To prepare yourself for this process, please review the current version of the pre-proposal.

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