Key Actions in Programming
- Commission a renewable energy screening to assess the options and economics of various technologies.
- Conduct a planning charrette to bring disciplines together to identify project needs and energy opportunities.
- Define and prioritize specific energy-related goals and include them in the building program and requirements for the design team.
Renewable energy is a key consideration during project programming. As more information about the actual function and needs of the facility becomes available, further decisions can be made about the most appropriate types of renewable energy technologies for the project.
The end of this phase results in the creation of the building program, which sets the goals and criteria for the design team. If the desired energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements are clearly included in the program, all the professional disciplines involved in the design process can collaborate to achieve them at minimal cost and disruption. Conversely, decisions made during this phase that do not consider renewable energy goals can prevent potentially cost-effective options from being incorporated into the project.
Programming is the opportune time to gather detailed information on how to determine the viability and value of various renewable energy technologies. This information is extremely valuable in setting energy performance goals for the building and understanding what types of technologies are likely to be incorporated in the project.
Programming also provides detailed information needed to incorporate renewable energy into early budget requests. To do this, a renewable energy screening is recommended. During programming, screening-level data on renewable energy options is used to identify opportunities and narrow the suite of possible technologies. The agency needs to understand the availability and economics of various renewable energy options to inform decisions on energy goals and design requirements. For more information on this step, see the screening section.
As the planning team establishes goals and design objectives for the project, renewable energy should be a clear focus throughout the discussion. With more details available on renewable energy options, it is important to think beyond conventional goals for a project and to develop clear objectives for energy reduction and renewable energy use, including but not limited to those needed to meet Federal energy requirements.
A planning charrette, with a renewable energy component, is recommended at this stage to assemble the planning team to define the criteria to be included in the program. The program should include specific renewable energy criteria for the project, but it is a best practice to define energy requirements as targets without specifying specific technologies. This will give the design team more flexibility in choosing the best mix of technologies to meet those requirements.
Energy objectives should be clearly stated and prioritized at this stage so that later design trade-offs do not compromise the economic use of renewable energy technologies. See the establishing design requirement for energy section for more information on how to conduct a planning charrette and formulate renewable energy criteria.