John Andary is a Bioclimatic Design Leader and Principal at Integral Group where he brings over 30 years of energy-focused consulting experience to the firm. On Tuesday, September 12th, John and Integral Group’s Managing Principal, David Kaneda presented a fabulous body of project work and research regarding their sustainable methods to Lionakis.

Andary’s work at Integral centers on passive and climate-based architectural and engineering design solutions to improve occupant health, thermal comfort and energy efficiency in the built environment. He believes that sustainable design is an engineer’s social responsibility and has led the design of over 25 Zero Net Energy projects that are currently in design, construction or occupied.

Both John and David discussed their multi-step Net Zero process, from concept to finished project and ultimately showed how these methods help the environment, help people, help save money, and best of all, still make breath-taking, architecturally savvy buildings. From art galleries to schools, to science labs and commercial properties and more, Andary exemplified time after time how “deep green engineering” is continuing to accelerate the advancement of sustainable energy design. Some of the ways — beyond incredible daylighting solutions and water cooling towers — that Andary and Kaneda achieve their award winning results are:

Photovoltaic Creativity

Not just for the roof, some projects shown made good use of this energy absorber on the side of the building, because that was where the sun shone brightest and longest.

Air Labyrinths

These clever long winding hollows can be virtually anywhere (underground, the roof, the building itself) and they gather cool air at night to be distributed during hot days and can also gather stifling data room heat to distribute throughout the building when the outdoor temperatures get too cool for comfort.

Passive Bio-Climatic Design

For example, cast cement walls, where one third of the windows installed in them are designed to open and release the heat of the surrounding concrete which has been absorbed during the day into the evening while simultaneously exchanging it for the cooler night air to carry through the building for the next day.

Plug Loads

Post-project follow ups revealed that for many buildings, the greatest energy usage (more than 50% sometimes) actually comes from the use of inefficient equipment that still needs to be “plugged in”. Obvious solutions include upgrading to more efficient systems, using sensors, and yes, turning things off at night that don’t need to be on.

A great majority of their California projects found that as a result of using these processes and by radically simplifying their mechanical systems, they didn’t even need to use air conditioning systems at all, or at the very least found their usage to be drastically reduced.

David Kaneda closed out the presentation with a response to a question regarding power grids versus photovoltaics, stressing that for now, we do still need both systems. Photovoltaics are currently the “backup” plan and its primary role is to support the grid in avoiding total outages and emergency supply, however, acknowledging how quickly this technology is advancing, his closing words were:
“Maybe what we can’t do right now, perhaps next year we’ll be able to do.”