The Cost Reduction Protocol (CRP) is a proven process for guaranteeing building envelope performance. By using the associated reduction in heating and cooling loads to reduce the mechanical system size, the overall building construction cost is typically less than conventional building practices.
Contrary to common belief, the savings that can be realized from the use of a high-performance building envelope is not limited to long-term energy savings. A high-performance building envelope can reduce initial construction costs where buildings utilizing conventional insulation technologies cannot. This is possible because high-performance materials and installations can reduce the building energy loads significantly. In addition to long-term savings in the form of reduced energy costs spread over the life of the building, the Cost Reduction Protocol (CRP) allows for significant up-front savings in the form of reduced mechanical systems construction costs.
Using a high-performance building envelope, the mechanical engineer can safely design to half the normal energy load. The building envelope is the largest piece of equipment in any project and must be considered in combination with the mechanical systems to reap the benefits of a high-performance envelope design.
For example, the high-performance building envelope for major and minor renovations to Champlain Valley Union High School resulted in savings of $685,000 in the initial construction. During the historic renovation of the AVA Gallery and Art Center, the CRP reduced the cost of initial construction, gained long-term energy savings, and could be applied to a Gold LEED certification.
How is this possible?
“Mechanical systems typically cost about 20% to 25% of the total building cost and up-front savings in mechanical system installation costs should be about one-to-one with the reduction in energy load,” explains James Peterson of Peterson Engineering.
Tests indicate that the installed air tightness of high-performance building envelopes is at least 20%, and as much as 60%, tighter than the new ASHRAE recommendations, and at least 50%, and as much as 85%, tighter than typical construction. For Champlain Valley Union High School, the high-performance building envelope was 6 times tighter than the conventional U.S. average and 3 times tighter than the ASHRAE recommended maximum.
High-performance envelope systems cost about 2.5% more than conventional insulation. However, this translates into a net reduction in the total building cost typically between 1% and 10% when compared to conventional construction techniques.
How does it work?
The key elements of the CRP protocol are as follows:
- Include a Building Envelope (BE) commissioning agent/consultant on the design team.
- Use an integrated design process encompassing all of the building systems and end users.
- Include high-performance BE materials and installation systems in the design and specifications and set performance standards.
- Include all of the related trades in the implementation of the design.
- Include a rigorous quality assurance program in the construction process.
- Require the trades to meet the specified performance standards and verify the BE performance through the use of compliance testing.
While each stand-alone component of this strategy may be used to varying degrees as a part of the usual construction process, including a BE consultant early in the design-development phase is critical. The building envelope is the largest piece of equipment in any project and must be considered in combination with the mechanical systems to reap the benefits of a high-performance envelope design. Assuring that the building will perform at a specific level of energy efficiency provides the means for accurately downsizing the mechanical systems and reducing the overall cost of the project.
To learn more, contact HCF to schedule a presentation or phone consultation.