Daylighting for the Foodservice Industry: Implications from LEED v4

By Jeff Brain | June 04, 2015

Before the introduction of LEED v4, the foodservice industry struggled to find its proper fit within the LEED certification standards. It takes much greater financial support to outfit a foodservice operation for LEED than it does your average big box retailer, and the 2009 standards did not account for high process loads of a kitchen or the way heat from food production affects the HVAC system.

New LEED v4

According to the USGBC, “LEED v4 will help change the way project teams think, integrate, plan, execute and operate their buildings.” LEED v4 requires an increase in overall efficiency so that LEED certified buildings will meet the latest ASHRAE (American Society of heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers) standards. LEED v4 makes it simpler for commercial kitchens to calculate their energy savings so they can achieve LEED certification.

Foodservice: Paths to Energy Efficiency

Commercial kitchens have struggled in the past to use LEED’s energy modeling path to make an account of energy use, because, unlike in office spaces, kitchen energy loads change dramatically throughout the day and are unevenly distributed throughout the building. However, LEED v4 makes it simpler to use either the prescriptive path or energy modeling by including easy-to-find tables with kitchen appliance baselines. Appendix 3 shows the process load baselines of commercial kitchen appliances with baseline prescriptive levels for the prescriptive path as well as baseline energy usage for the modeling path.

Focus on Integrative Process

Integrative process is a new category in the LEED v4 standards. Integrative process is a conscious effort to integrate the design of different systems so they achieve maximum sustainability. It is a useful means for judging the foodservice industry’s sustainability, since commercial kitchen rely heavily on equipment and appliances with high process energy loads and consumption levels that may best be offset through interrelated sustainability design rather than isolated energy efficient products. Credit can be earned for interrelated systems that are cost-effective and high performing.

Daylighting in the Foodservice Industry

Daylighting systems influence the integrative sustainability performance related to lighting levels, envelope attributes (e.g. insulation and glazing), thermal comfort ranges, and plug and process loads. A properly designed and installed daylighting system increases the efficiency of spatial daylight autonomy and annual sunlight exposure, in addition to providing superior insulation and decreased electricity usage. It also enhances the environment for building occupants by connecting them to the outdoors and reinforcing circadian rhythms.

SunTrackers Earn LEED Credits

Ciralight is a proud member of the USGBC and is committed to protecting the natural world through the manufacture of the SunTracker daylighting system. Ciralight’s solar-tracking skylights reduce whole building energy use while enhancing the environment for occupants, and they have been installed in many buildings aiming for energy efficiency and maximum sustainability. Visit the Ciralight website for more information or contact us today.

(Photo: Ernest Koe, CC)


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