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BuildingPhysics & SANS


BuildingPhysics is a professional practice focused on improving the profitability, comfort and safety of the built environment.

With rising energy costs and a growing responsibility towards our environment, a new approach to designing, constructing and managing an efficient building is essential. BuildingPhysics offer building simulation services ranging from daylighting and thermal analysis to smoke and fire modelling.
BuildingPhysics helps you take the guess work out of designing and/or improving your building.

What is a Green Building? A common misconception is that a green building has to look radically different from other buildings, but in reality there needn't be any aesthetic differences at all. A green building is any building that makes efficient use of energy and water, with minimal negative impact on the environment (if not a positive one).

This has to be true for the entire life cycle of the building, from the design and construction phase, right through operation and until long after the building is gone and forgotten. Remember though, the top priority of any building is to keep its occupants comfortable and productive, and this is especially true for a green building, where the pressure to save energy can lead to uncomfortable spaces.

How can we help you? Every building and its environment is unique and requires its own set of solutions. We will form an active part of your design process, helping you to quantify the impacts of design decisions and use those results to develop new and original ideas (if they are required).

Building and energy modeling lacks glamour - it requires tenacity, persistence and an extraordinary amount of number crunching - and that’s where we make the difference. BuildingPhysics do the work for you, and free you up to concentrate on the big picture. Through careful evaluation and analysis we will give you the freedom to explore concepts that would otherwise have been scrapped due to the uncertainty of their effect on the building's performance.

SANS 10400-XA - Energy Efficiency and Energy Use in the Built Environment
August 2012

SANS 10400-XA, published in August 2011, is the new part of the South African standard for environmental sustainability and energy usage in buildings, and forms part of the National Building Regulations. For now, its focus is purely on energy consumption and maximum energy demand. In order to comply with the standard, various “deemed to satisfy” insulation and glazing requirements are provided, with some sections requiring compliance with parts of SANS 204 (meeting all SANS 204 requirements would automatically meet all requirements for SANS 10400-XA).

While the “deemed to satisfy” approach will lead to an efficient building, it is still a general solution that can sometimes be difficult to meet, and can almost always be improved upon by a custom design optimised for a particular building’s unique demands. Fortunately, the standard allows for a competent person (that’s us!) to certify a design based purely on a building’s theoretical performance (total and peak energy usage, as well as occupant comfort, need to be proven to exceed SANS 10400-XA requirements). This isn’t a “get out of jail free card” – but it does mean that unnecessary costs can be avoided, and only those aspects that genuinely improve the performance of your particular building need to be implemented.

If you are struggling to interpret SANS 10400-XA, don’t hesitate to contact us for help!

March 2008
The SABS Technical Committee (SC 59G) that has been deliberating on Energy Efficient Buildings for what seems like a decade now has finally released their proposed amendment to SANS 10400. The document is called SANS 10400 PART XA: ENERGY USAGE and has a closing date of 20th July 2010 for comments. It goes hand in hand with SAN204 which, rumour has it, will be release in a new one part format.

So for the moment SANS 10400-XA refers to the existing 3-part SAN 204. This make for interesting reading? Our understanding was that Part XA would reference a new one part version of SANS 204 which would contain the actual performance data, yet we find a smattering of actual performance data ( R values for example ) in the SANS Document. SANS204 remains the deemed-to-satisfy requirement, but Part XA allows for buildings that can be shown by a "competent person" to use less energy than the specified baseline - both in terms of Maximum energy demand and Maximum annual consumption.

Other compliance paths require the use of "certified thermal calculation software" by these competent persons. Weather files for simulation will be provided by Agreement South Africa. Let’s all hope that there are no roadblock. When all is said and done, we need this document to be passed - as the SANS people say “The public enquiry stage will be repeated if the technical committee agrees to significant technical changes to the document as a result of public comment. Less urgent technical comments will be considered at the time of the next amendment.”

We need to accept this document (and even SANS 204) for what it is - a starting point. Refinement will come over the years - It took 35 years for ASHRAE 90.1 to get where it is. - Tel: +27 11 4544 857 - Cell: + 27 83 726 9593

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