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Existing Building Codes & Regulations



4.1 Existing Building Codes & Regulations

4.1.1 Definition of Building Code

A building code is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings. The International Building Code (IBC) is a model building code developed by the International Code Council (ICC). A model building code has no legal status until it is adopted or adapted by government regulation. The IBC provides minimum standards to insure the public safety, health and welfare insofar as they are affected by building construction and to secure safety to life and property from all hazards incident to the occupancy of buildings, structures or premises.

Before the creation of the International Building Code there were several different building codes used, depending on where one decided to construct a building. The IBC was developed to consolidate existing building codes into one uniform code that could be used nationally and internationally to construct buildings. The purpose of the IBC is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction of buildings. Therefore, it is used to regulate building construction through use of standards and is a reference for architects and engineers to use when designing buildings or building systems.

4.1.2 Historic Background

The first building codes can be traced back to early 1800 BC. The Babylonian emperor Hammurabi enforced what was known as the Code of Hammurabi. This code was very strict and stated that, “If a builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.” Building codes have evolved over time to protect the safety of building occupants without the threat of death.

Building codes were first seen in the United States in the early 1700’s AD. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson encouraged the development of building regulations to provide minimum standards to ensure health and safety of our citizens. In the early 1900’s insurance companies lobbied for further development of building codes to reduce properly loss payouts caused by inadequate construction standards and improperly built structures. During this time period, local code enforcement officials developed most of the building codes with the assistance of the building industry.

In 1915, the Building Officials and Code Administration (BOCA) were established. This organization developed what is now known as the BOCA National Building Code (BOCA/NBC), which is/was mainly used in the Northeastern United States.

In 1927, the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO) was established. This organization developed what is now known as the Uniform Building Code (UBC), which is/was mainly used in the Midwest and Western United States.

In 1940, the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) was founded. This organization developed what is now known as the Standard Building Code (SBC), which is/was mainly used in the Southern United States.

Over the years each of these codes (BOCA/NBC, UBC, & SBC) were revised and updated. Many of the codes were duplications of one another or very similar in nature. In order to avoid duplication and to consolidate the development process BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI formed the International Code Council (ICC). The purpose of the ICC was to develop codes without regional limitations. In 1994 they began to develop what would become the International Building Code (IBC).

In 1997, the first edition of the IBC was published. There were still many flaws and it was not widely accepted. In 2000, the first comprehensive and coordinated set of the IBC was published. All three organizations (BOCA, ICBO, & SBCCI) agreed to adopt the IBC and cease development of their respective individual codes. The IBC supersedes the BOCA/NBC, UBC, & SBC codes and states & local governments began to adopt the new consolidated code.

The development of the International Building Code has been advancement for the building and construction industry. It provides minimum standards to insure the public safety, health and welfare insofar as they are affected by building construction and to secure safety to life and property from all hazards incident to the occupancy of buildings, structures or premises. The IBC is a single source document that is adopted across the United States. This allows contractors to learn one code instead of the several that use to exist depending on the region where the work was performed. Without the IBC or building codes, people would have to think twice before entering structures or their homes.

4.2 European Standards

4.3 Building Performance Assessment Tools

Worldwide, a variety of assessment programs have been developed around environmental and energy impacts of buildings. The first environmental certification system was created in 1990 in the UK, The Building Research Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). In 1998 the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was introduced based quite substantially on the BREEAM system. In turn, in 2005, the Green Building Initiative (GBI) launched Green Globes by adapting the Canadian version of BREEAM and distributing it in the U.S. market.

4.3.1 BREEAM (The Building Research Environmental Assessment Method)

BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design to describe a building’s environmental performance.

BREEAM provides clients, developers, designers and others with market recognition for low environmental impact buildings. It provides the assurance that best environmental practice is incorporated into a building and also to find innovative solutions that minimize the environmental impact. BREEAM is a benchmark & tool to reduce running costs, improve working and living environments. BREEAM addresses wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues and enables developers and designers to prove the environmental credentials of their buildings to planners and clients.

BREEAM uses a straightforward scoring system that is transparent, easy to understand and supported by evidence based research and has a positive influence on the design, construction and management of buildings.

4.3.2 The Scope of BREEAM

BREEAM covers a number of building types:

1. Offices

2. Retail

3. Education

4. Prisons

5. Courts

6. Healthcare

7. Industrial

BREEAM can also tailor schemes for any building not included in the listed building types.

BREEAM rewards performance above regulation which delivers environmental, higher comfort or health benefits. BREEAM awards points or ‘credits’ and groups the environmental impacts into the sections below:

* Energy: operational energy and carbon dioxide (CO2)

* Management: management policy, commissioning, site management and procurement

* Health and Wellbeing: indoor and external issues (noise, light, air quality etc)

* Transport: transport-related CO2 and location related factors

* Water: consumption and efficiency inside and out

* Materials: embodied impacts of building materials, including lifecycle impacts like embodied carbon dioxide

* Waste: construction resource efficiency and operational waste management and minimization

* Land Use: type of site and building footprint

* Pollution: external air and water pollution

* Ecology: ecological value, conservation and enhancement of the site

The total number of points or credits gained in each section is multiplied by an environmental weighting factor which takes into account the relative importance of each section. Section scores are then added together to produce a single overall score. Once the overall score for the building is known this is translated into a rating on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, and Outstanding. A star rating from 1 to 5 stars is also provided

4.3.3 Getting the BREEAM Assessment

Assessments are carried out by independent Assessors who are trained and licensed by BRE Global. The Assessor produces a report outlining the development’s performance in each of the sections and its overall score. Upon completion of the assessment, the client is presented with a certificate confirming the BREEAM rating. The earlier an Assessor is involved in the design process, the easier it is to gain a high rating in the most cost effective way.

4.3.4 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED concentrates its efforts on improving performance across five key areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development, and water savings.

LEED rests on a collection of special rating systems that apply to all kinds of structures, including schools, retail, and healthcare facilities. Rating systems are available for new construction and major renovations as well as existing buildings. The program is designed to inform and guide all kinds of professionals who work with structures to create or convert spaces to environmental sustainability, including architects, real estate professionals, facility managers, engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, construction managers, private sector executives, and government officials.

4.4 Energy Modeling Software Tools

The transfer of energy from one surface to another in buildings is a complex phenomenon. Very large & complex calculations are involved to get the results. Fifty years back the professionals & engineers start working on the development of such energy modeling simulation tools. That effort was very helpful to calculate the energy situation within a building in different climate zones. With the passage of time the software become more mature with friendlier interface. Selection of a simulation tool for the energy simulation is a hard task because each software has almost similar capability but different working environment.

Every software comes with different capabilities & graphic interface. The core tools in the building energy field are the whole building energy simulation with respect to the following categories;

* General Modeling Capabilities

* Heating Cooling Loads in different Zones

* Building Envelope

* Day lighting effect on lighting loads

* Infiltration

* Ventilation & Air flow

* Renewable energy recourses

* Electrical & Mechanical systems

* HVAC Systems

* Economic evaluation

* Validation of Results

This part of the chapter will explore the capability of some well known energy simulation tools with respect to their scope in energy simulation. A comparison will be developed based on the information provided by the program developers, so one can select the software according to requirements. Following software will be explained with respect to their features;


Energy Plus is energy simulation software based on powerful simulation engines of DOE 2 & BLAST, with additional new capabilities. The software was 1st time released in 2001. The program was a combined effort of the following research institutions:

“Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Illinois, U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, GARD Analytics, Inc., Oklahoma State University and others, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs[i]”.

Energy Plus calculates heating & cooling loads, ventilating, Interior lighting, and other energy issues in buildings. Software is based on the powerful features and tools of BLAST and DOE-2. Energy Plus equipped with following simulation capabilities below;

· Software can simulate the energy issues in minutes also.

· Energy-Plus is fully integrated software, compare the energy impact of different environmental factors that changes with the environmental climatic conditions.

· Software can integrate air flow, indoor conditions & natural ventilation systems.

4.4.2 DOE-2

DOE-2 is an validated computer program that calculates energy use within a building on hourly basis including the energy cost of the given monthly/annual schedule by following the weather information of the local climate, thermal properties of the building elements, the HVAC equipment & utility rates (electricity, Sui gas). DOE-2 enables the designers to choose the building parameters that can improve the building energy performance without compromising on the required comfort conditions and cost effectiveness.

The objective of DOE-2 is to facilitate the analysis of energy issues in buildings. The vision and experience of the architects /engineers still remain the most important considerations of the building design.[ii]

4.4.3 ESP-r

ESP-r is dynamic thermal simulation software which is used to explore building envelope, heat flow, integration of energy issues with building mechanical / electrical systems.

ESP-r is equipped with number of programs; each is integrated with the overall simulation process. These integrated programs are running in background and integrated from a central processing tool act as a “Project Manager”.

By simulating all aspects simultaneously, ESP-r allows the Architect / Engineer to analyze the relationship between the building volumes, envelope, ventilation, and mechanical systems.

4.4.4 eQuest Ver 3.6

eQUEST is a building energy simulation tool which provides validated results by introducing a “building creation wizard”, an “energy efficiency measure wizard” and a “Graphical analysis display” by using the most validated & updated simulation Engine DOE-2.2,

The building creation wizard walks a user through the process of creating a building model. Within eQuest, DOE-2.2 performs an hourly simulation of the building based on walls, windows, glass, people, plug loads, and ventilation. DOE-2.2 also simulates the performance of fans, pumps, chillers, boilers, and other energy-consuming devices.[iii]

4.4.5 Ecotect Analysis 2010

Autodesk Ecotect Analysis software is a concept-to-detail sustainable design analysis solution with architect-designed desktop tools that measure the impact of environmental factors on a building’s performance. Customers who add subscription to their Autodesk Ecotect Analysis software license can access the Autodesk Green Building Studio web-based service for the duration of their subscription and use the service to more quickly evaluate multiple design alternatives for energy efficiency and carbon neutrality. Together, these tools make it easier for building designers to conduct simulations and visualize results. Because analysis can be conducted on a building model as soon as the thermal zones are defined, it can make fact-based, more sustainable design decisions during the schematic stage when designs are easier and less expensive to change. Ultimately, these capabilities result in better building performance, faster time to market, and lower project costs, as well as lower total cost of ownership over time. Autodesk Ecotect Analysis was developed specifically for architects and designers to provide powerful feedback that’s easier to interact with, interpret, and communicate. Autodesk Ecotect Analysis software has the following capabilities.

§ Whole-Building Energy Analysis

Calculates the total energy use and carbon emissions of your building model on an annual, monthly, daily, and hourly basis.

§ Visual Impact

Helps to analyze site projection angles, assess obstructions, calculate vertical sky components for any point or surface, and visualize the no-sky line in any space.

§ Carbon Emission Reporting

Reports carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for nearly all aspects of a proposed building, including on-site fuel use as well as emissions from power plants.

§ Water Usage and Cost Evaluation

Summarizes estimated water use inside and outside the building, based on the number of occupants as well as the building type.

§ Solar Radiation

Analysis enables to visualize incident solar radiation on windows and surfaces, showing differential incident solar radiation calculated over any period.

§ Shadows and Reflections

Simulation displays the Sun’s position and path relative to the model at any date, time, and location. View how sunlight enters through windows and moves around within a space.

§ Day lighting

Calculates daylight factors and illuminance levels at any point in the model. Helps determine potential savings due to daylight-linked lighting design.

§ Thermal Performance

Calculates heating and sensible cooling loads for models with any number of zones or types of geometry, and analyzes effects of occupancy, internal gains, infiltration, and equipment items.

[i] US Department of Energy “Building Technologies Program” official site, Page 1, Aug 2009

[ii] DOE 2.1 Basic manual, Introduction Part 1 , Page 4, U.S. Department of Energy 2001

[iii] Contrasting the capabilities of building energy performance simulation programs, P 233, Ninth International IBPSA Conference Montréal, Canada August 15-18, 2005

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