Like many of today’s professionals in California’s construction industry, architects are highly specialized and very aware of the myriad of building regulations that surround their jobs. But, it is next to impossible to try and navigate through these regulations on their own, considering that time and money still are among the most prominent constrains for any construction project.
Even in the case of those architects most knowledgeable of energy standards and regulations, the best way to develop a building project today in California is to work alongside a sustainability and energy specialist from the very outset of the design phase.
The key role of an energy consultant
One of the most developed fields today in the United States is that of environmental regulations, and California is, without any doubt, the leader state. Almost 40 years have passed since the inception of the first set of rules to diminish the impacts on air and water quality, and to reduce the energy bill and the use of natural resources. After several updates and constant fine tuning, California has set a tough goal of zero net energy for all new homes by 2020 as well as commercial buildings by 2030.
There is no way, then, of doing a construction, addition or alteration project without a thorough knowledge and understanding of the energy equation. And this is where energy consultancy comes in to make sure a couple of things: that regulations are met and that the most efficient energy balance is reached. The first is about compliance. The second is more an issue of being the best one can be. Both are different sides of the same objective, which is to enhance the quality of life for communities and families.
We believe the need is not only justified, but it is also an opportunity. So, we put up here a few points that reinforce the idea that architects and energy consultants should work together from the very start of any architectural project.
Why does an architect (or a firm) need an energy consultant?
- To make sure that regulations regarding energy standards are met.
- To focus on the job of designing, creating and converting ideas into feasible projects.
- Because this gives them the possibility to create better opportunities for a bigger ROI for the client, that is, the building owner or developer.
- To minimize or eliminate altogether the time lost due to delays when commissioning or RCx.
- To find and obtain the best possible equation in terms of tax credits and incentives for their clients.
What does an energy consultant bring to the table?
- Specific and specialized knowledge about: energy usage / balance, standards and regulations, materials and equipment. This includes the use of energy analysis computer programs and the use of the best models up to date.
- A detailed knowledge of the California Energy Standards, as well as local building regulations and codes.
- Simulations aiming to find the best balance between the world of standards and the architect’s creative mind.
- The energy consultant sees the big picture, and at the same time, chooses or proposes the best systems and assemblies.
- The capacity to extract the best out of energy balance computer programs.
What can architects and energy consultants build or create together?
- A coherent deliverable that saves time and money from the start and during the whole life cycle of the building.
- A positive experience, where frustrations are minimized, hurdles are removed, and opportunities are enhanced.
- Preparedness to pass the most stringent certification and testing levels, not only for the final product, but throughout the whole process.
We all want to save money and time. That’s essential. But we also want to see amazing architectural designs become a feasible, practical reality. Only by having a professional energy consultant on our side from the start, we can make this happen.
For an optimal navigation experience, we must use the best vehicle, but also the best pilots. Designing and doing architecture in California can be flawless when energy consultancy is with us from the start of any project.