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1B: Making Net Zero Buildings: MEP Design Criteria for Reducing Emissions in High Performing Buildings

The built environment is responsible for more emissions than any sector accounting for 40% of global GHG emissions. In order to meet the current GHG goals and avoid catastrophic climate change, the building industry has responded developing zero net energy (ZNE) buildings, efficient buildings powered by renewable energy that consequently, reduce typical operational carbon levels. Regardless of the increasing interest on emissions during the operational phase of ZNE, embodied carbon- the total amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to produce building products – has remained unexamined.  Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems are a critical component of zero net energy buildings, and many efforts have been developed over the last decades to improve integrated systems design. This session will present MEP design choices that contribute to reducing the emissions related to operation of buildings and also the future challenges in understanding the embodied carbon of MEP systems.

Panel Lead

Barbara Rodriguez Droguett is a PhD student and graduate research assistant in the College of Built Environments at the University of Washington. Her research is focused on whole building life cycle assessment and building materials supply chains.

Previously she was the Chief Sustainability Officer at the Center for Innovation, Research and Development of Building Structures and Materials at the Universidad de Chile. While there she led research and collaboration efforts between academia, industry and government in order to develop technically feasible and cost effective industrial ecology solutions for private and public organizations.

Speaker Bio

Brian Griffith has almost 30 years of experience in the design and construction industry, 18 years in HVAC and Plumbing design, and 10 years exclusively in Sustainable Design. He is responsible for developing sustainable strategies for a variety of projects, coordinating energy and other modeling efforts such as daylighting analysis, comfort analysis using CFD, renewable energy availability, shading studies, and thermal comfort. Additionally, Brian has experience providing education on systems and strategies including radiant heated and chilled ceilings and floors, chilled beams, ground source heat pumps, phase change materials, natural ventilation, heat recovery chillers and others. Previous employers include SOM and Affiliated Engineers in Seattle. His project experience cover offices, hospitals, labs, city halls, libraries, community centers, higher education facilities and K-12 schools. Projects have included technologies such as chilled beams, ground-source heat pumps, Bio-Fuel boilers, solar-thermal, and radiant heating and cooling systems.