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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Simulating the impact of building form and design variables for mid-rise residential building archetypes meeting the BC Energy Step Code Kim, Ju Chan


Reducing energy consumption in the building sector is critical in achieving provincial emission reduction targets. Studies suggest more stringent codes reduce energy and emissions in the building sector. However, prescriptive building codes can restrict design flexibility, most importantly, even code compliant buildings may not perform as intended. On the other hand, performance-based building codes set performance targets and allow designers to choose among various design alternatives to meet performance targets. The Province of British Columbia recently adopted a performance-based building code (the BC Energy Step Code) encouraging the consideration of both form and shell. However, generating and testing possible design alternatives in search of comparable performance under different conditions can be challenging, requiring a large number of simulations in advance. This study sought to provide meaningful insights on how design variables have impacts on achieving the Step Code targets in BC and help make strategic decisions. Existing mid-rises in BC were analyzed to create archetypes by footprint shape (RR-type, L-type, U-type, and S-type). Parametric energy simulations were then conducted using the archetypes to investigate the relationships between building form and design variables on the Step Code targets. Mid-rise residential buildings were chosen for this study because they have become a popular building type in the multi-family residential market and can have more diverse building forms than high-rises. Window U-values and window to wall ratio (WWR) had significant impacts on achieving the Step Code targets, reducing WWR decreased energy consumption in general. Buildings with energy recovery ventilators (ERV) consumed less energy on average over models without ERV and building models without ERV were not able to achieve Step 4 targets in Vancouver. RR-type models were the most sensitive to the design variables and had higher Total Energy Use Intensity (TEUI) and Thermal Energy Demand Intensity (TEDI) than other types on average. L-type and U-type buildings were less sensitive to design variables than RR-type and had lower TEUI and TEDI in general. L-type and U-type buildings were generally more effective in achieving the current Step Code targets by taking advantage of their larger floor areas than RR-type and S-type.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International