Doe Science news source
The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2014-01-29 11:00:00
  • Article ID: 613001

Modeling Buildings by the Millions: Building Codes in China Tested for Energy Savings

Changes to China's building codes could cut building energy use by 22%

  • Credit: PNNL

    Building energy codes — which regulate factors such as building insulation pictured here — could play a major role in reducing China’s building energy consumption, according to a study led by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Eric Francavilla

eric.francavilla@pnnl.gov

509-372-4066

RICHLAND, Wash. – China can build its way to a more energy efficient future — one house, apartment and retail store at a time — by improving the rules regulating these structures, according to a study by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

PNNL scientists at the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership with the University of Maryland in College Park, Md., have created a unique model that projects how much energy can be saved with changes to China's building energy codes.

Already home to almost one-fifth the world's population, China is not only growing, but rapidly developing. And it's consuming more energy along the way. Reducing energy consumption through building codes is a win-win for China and the rest of the world, by reducing fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions while still promoting economic growth and energy security.

The study focused on realistic improvements to codes that regulate building aspects like insulation and lighting. Improvements to these codes could reduce building energy consumption by up to 22 percent by the end of this century, compared to a no-change scenario, the researchers found.

"A 22-percent cut is a large change in China's trajectory," said Meredydd Evans, the PNNL scientist who managed the project. "More energy could be saved with additional standards and policies, but this study shows that a distinct set of codes can have great impact."

Findings from the study were published in Energy Policy.

Before foundations, buildings start with codes

Since China implemented its first building energy codes in the 1980s, the country has expressed a commitment to reducing energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions through improved codes, Evans said. In fact, China's codes are not radically different than those in the U.S., though significant gaps remains, she said.

Among China's strengths is a high compliance rate, which has been achieved through private, third-party inspectors that oversee construction on a routine basis, and government oversight. And in December 2012, China began closing a gap in codes for rural buildings by instating a voluntary code. About half of China's population lives in rural buildings, which often lack proper insulation, air-tightness and energy-efficient cooking methods. The voluntary codes are the first step in raising rural China to the same, mandatory standards as the rest of the country.

Given that China continues to grow and evolve, policy makers and researchers alike face a challenge of determining which regulations to improve.

"China won't find one golden policy that solves its energy and pollution problems," said Sha Yu, lead scientist and principle author for the study. "They need policies that are comprehensive and feasible."

This study focuses on a set of building energy codes, most of which involve the building envelope. As the barrier between the interior and outside elements, the envelope includes walls, the roof, windows and other items that maintain a building's structure and climate control. The codes in this study dealt with insulation, heating, ventilation, cooking and lighting.

Part of the upgrade to these codes will increase the need for efficient, high quality building materials. This transition will be an opportunity for both China and the U.S. to grow business in the energy efficiency industry.

Improving China's building energy codes is a feasible goal, Yu said, but assessing the impacts of those changes is easier said than done. That's where the model comes in.

Modeling buildings by the millions

When calculating the impacts of building codes over nine decades and across one-billion-plus people, a simple model won't do.

The researchers in this study used the PNNL-developed Global Change Assessment Model to carry out their analysis. Also known as GCAM, the model takes into account an exhaustive list of human and ecological variables.

For example, the model factors in population growth, which is assumed to peak in China in 2035. Urbanization level, or the percentage of people living in urban buildings, will continue to increase through the end of the century. This is important, because urban buildings — filled with electronic appliances — consume more energy, Evans said.

A building's performance changes in different climates, which is why the model divides China into four climate regions. The model even accounts for climate change projections.

Other variables considered in the model include changes in building technology, energy supply and climate policy.

The model uses these variables to test codes in three building types: urban residential, rural residential and commercial. Furthermore, it assesses codes that only apply to new construction and codes that require retrofitting existing buildings.

Overall, no other study has included these important dynamics in an integrated way — making the results a valuable resource to inform policymakers.

The results: Codes play a major role in energy efficiency

With proper enforcement and education, better building codes will lead to more efficient buildings. In this study, three improved-code scenarios yielded decreases in net building energy demand, compared to a scenario where buildings codes remained at 2010 levels. In other words, more energy will go toward powering buildings by the end of the century, but improving codes will slow that trend.

China has much to gain from improving codes for new urban-residential and commercial buildings-a 13 percent cut in building energy demand by the end of the century. China can accomplish this goal if it continues its current rate of improvements, Evans said.

China could cut another 9 percent by adding rural buildings to mandatory new-building codes and retrofit requirements for all buildings. Altogether, that's a 22 percent reduction in energy used by buildings by the end of the century.

Developed countries use more energy for buildings than developing ones-and China will be no exception. But this study shows that changes to building codes don't have to be radical to make a difference. Additional changes, such as appliance standards, could add to these energy savings, Evans said.

Funding for this study came from the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Global Technology Strategy Program. Research by PNNL staff at the Joint Global Change Research Institute focuses on developing dialogues across disciplines and national boundaries to address global change issues.

The findings have been presented to the Chinese government, China Academy of Building Research, DOE, members of industry, and at the U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Forum.

---

Reference: Yu, S., et al., A long-term integrated impact assessment of alternative building energy code scenarios in China. Energy Policy (2013). DOI: j.enpol.2013.11.009.

The Joint Global Change Research Institute is a unique partnership formed in 2001 between the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Maryland. The PNNL staff associated with the institute is world renowned for expertise in energy conservation and understanding of the interactions between climate, energy production and use, economic activity and the environment.

X
X
X
  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Strain-Free Epitaxy of Germanium Film on Mica

Germanium was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, and due to its high charge carrier mobility, it's making a comeback. It's generally grown on expensive single-crystal substrates, adding another challenge to making it sustainably viable for most applications. To address this aspect, researchers demonstrate an epitaxy method that incorporates van der Waals' forces to grow germanium on mica. They discuss their work in the Journal of Applied Physics.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

Detailed View of Immune Proteins Could Lead to New Pathogen-Defense Strategies

Biologists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley used cryo-EM to resolve the structure of a ring of proteins used by the immune system to summon support when under attack, providing new insight into potential strategies for protection from pathogens. The researchers captured the high-resolution image of a protein ring, called an inflammasome, as it was bound to flagellin, a protein from the whiplike tail used by bacteria to propel themselves forward.

Unlocking the Secrets of Ebola

Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease. The results come from one of the most in-depth studies ever of blood samples from patients with Ebola.

Scientists Make First Observations of How a Meteor-Like Shock Turns Silica Into Glass

Studies at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have made the first real-time observations of how silica - an abundant material in the Earth's crust - easily transforms into a dense glass when hit with a massive shock wave like one generated from a meteor impact.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

Replace or Wait? Study Says Swap All Incandescent Bulbs Now, but Hold on to CFLs, older LEDs

LED light bulbs are getting cheaper and more energy efficient every year. So, does it make sense to replace less-efficient bulbs with the latest light-emitting diodes now, or should you wait for future improvements and even lower costs?


  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

Argonne to Install Comanche System to Explore ARM Technology for High-Performance Computing

Argonne National Laboratory is collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to provide system software expertise and a development ecosystem for a future high-performance computing (HPC) system based on 64-bit ARM processors.

CANDLE Shines in 2017 HPCwire Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards

Argonne National Laboratory has been recognized in the annual <em>HPCwire</em> Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards, presented at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17), in Denver, Colorado.

SLAC's Helen Quinn Honored with 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

Helen Quinn, a professor emerita at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, will receive the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics - one of eight prestigious Franklin Institute Awards that will be handed out in Philadelphia next April.

PPPL Honors Grierson and Greenough for Distinguished Research and Engineering Achievements

Article describes PPPL's presentation of 2017 Kaul Prize and Distinguished Engineering Fellow awards.

INCITE Grants of 5.95 Billion Hours Awarded to 55 Computational Research Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science announced 55 projects with high potential for accelerating discovery through its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program. The projects will share 5.95 billion core-hours on three of America's most powerful supercomputers dedicated to capability-limited open science and support a broad range of large-scale research campaigns from infectious disease treatment to next-generation materials development.

Former SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan Awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun

Former SLAC Director and Stanford University Professor Emeritus Jonathan Dorfan has been awarded Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star for his contributions as founding president of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST). It is the highest award Japan bestows on university presidents.

Jefferson Lab Staff Scientist Honored with APS Fellowship

Fulvia Pilat, a staff scientist at the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, has been named a fellow of the American Physical Society. The honor is bestowed by members of APS on their peers for exceptional contributions to their fields.

First Northwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference Is a Hit!

The first Northwest Theoretical Chemistry Conference was a success. The event offered ~50 early career theorists and students opportunities to present talks in a nurturing environment that developed and advanced collaborations.

Argonne Forms New Divisions to Focus on Computation and Data Science Strengths

Argonne has formed two new research divisions to focus its lab-wide foundational expertise on computational science and data science activities.

Hermann Grunder Recognized by IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society

Dr. Hermann Grunder, Founding Director of Jefferson Lab, has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2018 IEEE NPSS Particle Accelerator Science and Technology (PAST) Award.


  • Filters

  • × Clear Filters

The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

How Fungal Enzymes Break Down Plant Cell Walls

Lignocellulose-degrading enzyme complexes could improve biofuel production.

Stretching to Perfection of 2-D Semiconductors

Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

The Effect of Hurricanes on Puerto Rico's Dry Forests

More frequent storms turn forests from carbon source to sink.

A Chemical Thermometer for Tropical Forests

Monoterpene measures how certain forests respond to heat stress.

Where a Leaf Lands and Lies Influences Carbon Levels in Soil for Years to Come

Whether carbon comes from leaves or needles affects how fast it decomposes, but where it ends up determines how long it's available.

Twisting Molecule Wrings More Power from Solar Cells

Readily rotating molecules let electrons last, resulting in higher solar cell efficiency.

Rules Are Only Suggestions in Heavy Elements

The arrangement of electrons in an exotic human-made element shows that certain properties of heavy elements cannot be predicted using lighter ones.


Spotlight

Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

Stairway to Science

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

After-School Energy Rush

Argonne National Laboratory

Thursday September 28, 2017, 10:05 AM

Bringing Diversity Into Computational Science Through Student Outreach

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Thursday September 21, 2017, 03:05 PM

From Science to Finance: SLAC Summer Interns Forge New Paths in STEM

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday September 07, 2017, 02:05 PM

Students Discuss 'Cosmic Opportunities' at 45th Annual SLAC Summer Institute

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Thursday August 31, 2017, 05:05 PM

Binghamton University Opens $70 Million Smart Energy Building

Binghamton University, State University of New York

Wednesday August 23, 2017, 05:05 PM

Widening Horizons for High Schoolers with Code

Argonne National Laboratory

Saturday May 20, 2017, 12:05 PM

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Monday May 15, 2017, 01:05 PM

ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

Argonne National Laboratory

Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

Department of Energy, Office of Science

Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

Argonne National Laboratory

Friday January 27, 2017, 04:00 PM

Haslam Visits ORNL to Highlight State's Role in Discovering Tennessine

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Tuesday November 08, 2016, 12:05 PM

Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Friday May 13, 2016, 04:05 PM

More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Monday April 25, 2016, 05:05 PM

Giving Back to National Science Bowl

Ames Laboratory

Friday March 25, 2016, 12:05 PM

NMSU Undergrad Tackles 3D Particle Scattering Animations After Receiving JSA Research Assistantship

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

Tuesday February 02, 2016, 10:05 AM

Shannon Greco: A Self-Described "STEM Education Zealot"

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

Monday November 16, 2015, 04:05 PM

Rare Earths for Life: An 85th Birthday Visit with Mr. Rare Earth

Ames Laboratory

Tuesday October 20, 2015, 01:05 PM

Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Tuesday April 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

University of Utah

Wednesday March 06, 2013, 03:40 PM

Student Innovator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Seeks Brighter, Smarter, and More Efficient LEDs

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday November 16, 2012, 10:00 AM

Texas Tech Energy Commerce Students, Community Light up Tent City

Texas Tech University

Wednesday November 23, 2011, 10:45 AM

Don't Get 'Frosted' Over Heating Your Home This Winter

Temple University

Wednesday July 06, 2011, 06:00 PM

New Research Center To Tackle Critical Challenges Related to Aircraft Design, Wind Energy, Smart Buildings

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday April 22, 2011, 09:00 AM

First Polymer Solar-Thermal Device Heats Home, Saves Money

Wake Forest University

Friday April 15, 2011, 12:25 PM

Like Superman, American University Will Get Its Energy from the Sun

American University

Thursday February 10, 2011, 05:00 PM

ARRA Grant to Help Fund Seminary Building Green Roof

University of Chicago

Tuesday December 07, 2010, 05:00 PM

UC San Diego Installing 2.8 Megawatt Fuel Cell to Anchor Energy Innovation Park

University of California San Diego

Monday November 01, 2010, 12:50 PM

Rensselaer Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center Announces First Deployment of New Technology on Campus

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Friday September 10, 2010, 12:40 PM

Ithaca College Will Host Regional Clean Energy Summit

Ithaca College

Tuesday July 27, 2010, 10:30 AM

Texas Governor Announces $8.4 Million Award to Create Renewable Energy Institute

Texas Tech University

Friday May 07, 2010, 04:20 PM

Creighton University to Offer New Alternative Energy Program

Creighton University

Wednesday May 05, 2010, 09:30 AM

National Engineering Program Seeks Subject Matter Experts in Energy

JETS Junior Engineering Technical Society

Wednesday April 21, 2010, 12:30 PM

Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday March 03, 2010, 07:00 PM

Helping Hydrogen: Student Inventor Tackles Challenge of Hydrogen Storage

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Thursday February 04, 2010, 02:00 PM

Turning Exercise into Electricity

Furman University

Thursday November 12, 2009, 12:45 PM

Campus Leaders Showing the Way to a Sustainable, Clean Energy Future

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Tuesday November 03, 2009, 04:20 PM

Furman University Receives $2.5 Million DOE Grant for Geothermal Project

Furman University

Thursday September 17, 2009, 02:45 PM

Could Sorghum Become a Significant Alternative Fuel Source?

Salisbury University

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 11:15 AM

Students Navigating the Hudson River With Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Wednesday September 16, 2009, 10:00 AM

College Presidents Flock to D.C., Urge Senate to Pass Clean Energy Bill

National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Wednesday July 01, 2009, 04:15 PM

Northeastern Announces New Professional Master's in Energy Systems

Northeastern University

Friday October 12, 2007, 09:35 AM

Kansas Rural Schools To Receive Wind Turbines

Kansas State University

Thursday August 17, 2006, 05:30 PM

High Gas Prices Here to Stay, Says Engineering Professor

Rowan University





Showing results

0-4 Of 2215