Fin MacDonald

Information on me and my current projects

Tag Archives: Netherlands

EEBE Project Update

We are now 3 days into the Energy Efficiency and the Built Environment project and there have been some changes to the work that we will be doing. We will not be auditing Habitat for Humanity homes as we had originally planned. The reason for this is that we were not able to get architectural drawings for those houses, and without drawings we would need to measure which would add hours to the project. Because the timeframe is only 3 weeks we have selected different homes to allow us to focus on learning the skills that are most important.

We were put into teams and each team will conduct an audit. Our team consists of:
Fin MacDonald (Me) – NSCC, Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology
Sarah Mitchell – NSCC, Contruction Management
Arwin Hidding – Hanze University (The Netherlands), Architecture
John Booth –  ITCarlow (Ireland), Construction Building Services

The project based learning approach places us in groups with diverse skills so we can draw off each others talents. Some of us are early in our study and some of us are at the end, so our skills levels vary. There will be lots to be learned during this project.

The house we have chosen is the larger of the two. It has 3 floors including a basement. It also features some complex roof geometry. It will be more challenging to model but we chose it because it comes with 2 years of utility data so we will be able to benchmark the consumption.

Our group is currently working on a HOT2000 model of the home and today was the first day some of my group members have seen this software before. The HOT2000 model will allow us to calculate the energy load of the building as well as determine the feasibility of building upgrades. We are also creating a 3D model of the home in Autodesk Revit. Revit is a similar program to Google Sketchup but with much more advanced features. We will be calculating the Building Energy Performance Index (BEPI) and Building Energy Cost Index (BECI) as soon as we get the past utility data. These indices will allow us to benchmark the building against others in Canada. They will be normalized for building area as well as weather to aid in the comparison.

The on-site audit will take place next week, and I will provide another update after that happens.

Energy Efficiency and the Built Environment

I recently learned that I have been selected to take part in a international exchange program through NSCC International. The program is called “Energy Efficiency and the Built Environment.” It is a joint venture between the Nova Scotia Community College, Holland College in PEI, Institute of Technology Carlow in Carlow Ireland, and Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen, The Netherlands. This project based learning venture will feature students in Architecture, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Energy Sustainability, and Mechanical Engineering. It will be a great chance for me to get some experience working with people in other disciplines.

The first stage will be a three week project in Dartmouth, NS. Each of the four schools will work together with local community partners, industry and relevant agencies to solve energy efficiency challenges related to constructing and retro-fitting homes. A special emphasis will be on low income housing and efficiency awareness and education education for the owners and tenants.

In late February the team will travel to Carlow, Ireland to undertake a second project. The details of this project will be worked out in the near future. Upon our return from Carlow we will prepare a final report as well as a presentation for the Technology Showcase 2012.

This project will allow me to gain international experience and an international perspective on energy efficiency. In densely populated areas like Europe resources are much scarcer and energy efficiency is a much more urgent priority. For this reason they are further ahead in their construction and conservation methods. I’m excited for what I can learn from them.