Green energy and sustainable buildings are a constant design goal for many professionals in the building design and construction industry. According to the Solar Energy Industries Associate (SEIA) the United States has installed approximately 2 Giga Watts of solar photovoltaics in Q1 of 2017. This brings the total watts of solar photovoltaics installed to approximately 45 Giga Watts in the United States. The use of photovoltaics to produce electricity is a growing industry that provides clean electricity for homes, businesses and communities throughout the world. Many photovoltaic installations provide localized electricity generation to off-set the use of utility electricity. (http://www.seia.org/research-resources/us-solar-market-insight)
Recently LKPB Engineers Inc. completed the design and remodel of the Minnesota Army National Guard Armory facility located in Rochester, Minnesota. The goal of the design was to update the existing facility and to meet B3 SB2030 guidelines. To do this the HVAC system was upgraded to a more efficient system, modern LED lighting and lighting controls were installed, increased day lighting was utilized and renewable energy systems were installed.
One of the renewable energy systems installed is Solar Water Heating for the domestic water system. During normal operating conditions the building’s domestic water is brought up to temperature using 8 solar panels located on the roof of the building. The Solar panels were installed to face directly South to maximize sunlight exposure and each solar panel is capable of producing 41,000 BTU per day. The system is supplemented by a natural gas back up for use on days or weekends when the building experiences higher than normal usage. The BAS or Building Automation System monitors the operation to ensure performance and engage the natural gas back up system when necessary.
The facility was designed to maximize day lighting. Daylight Harvesting was designed to dim lighting and use day light to light the spaces. Solatubes were installed in corridors, restrooms, locker rooms and other areas to introduce natural light into spaces that did not typically have windows or sky lights. These specialty tubes collect sunlight via reflectors located on the roof to collect sunlight and reflect it down through duct tubing into the space. Photocell controls dim the artificial lighting used in these spaces to allow the natural light to illuminate the space. Day light harvesting reduces the amount of energy consumed by traditional lighting in the facility.
To complete the renewable energy package for the facility a Photovoltaic array was installed. The photovoltaic array is located adjacent the facility in a large open area. The array faces directly South to maximize the energy collected by the sun. The array has a maximum output of approximately 55 Kilo Watts. This photovoltaic system was designed to offset the energy used by the facility and to lower the consumption of the energy supplied by the utility. This system utilizes an array that has solar panels on the front and back of the mounting. By utilizing a solar panel on the back of the mounting, the system can gather reflected sun light that would otherwise be lost increasing the efficiency of the system.
Sustainable designs and renewable energy is a priority for the engineers and designers at LKPB. Each project is evaluated to use sustainable technologies in the design. The sustainable and renewable energy systems at the MNANG Rochester Armory are examples of a few systems being utilized by engineers, contractors and building owners industry wide.