The Colorado State University Department of Construction Management, in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Lincoln, was awarded a U.S. Department of Energy grant entitled: “Modular Construction: A Field Study of Energy and Code Compliance through Offsite Prefabrication.”
This two-pronged, three-year, commercial field study will document and analyze the energy efficiency of 40 modular multifamily buildings in four U.S. geographical regions and climate zones. CSU’s CM faculty, Jon Elliott, Ph.D. and John Killingsworth, Ph.D. will complete the field data collection required to explore the energy efficiency of 15 multifamily buildings constructed using Permanent Modular Construction (PMC) methodologies.
The research team will collect and analyze data during both building module production in the factory setting, as well as after the modules have been assembled into completed buildings at the project site.
A parallel data collection effort will focus on the energy use analyses of 25 completed and occupied modular multifamily projects in the same climate zones. The Energy Use Intensity (EUI) will be calculated for each project and compared to a baseline of comparable site-built projects in the selected climate zones.
The goal of this project is to investigate the impact of advanced manufacturing and construction processes (such as PMC) on building energy performance. As part of this study, interviews will be conducted with project stakeholders to assess factors affecting the adoption of modular construction including labor availability and productivity, cost, schedule, quality, safety, and owner demand/satisfaction.
In addition to the energy data collection and analysis, an actionable Best Practice Guide for Modular Construction will be developed to help commercial building owners, designers, and contractors understand the energy efficiency of modular construction methodologies as well as the market conditions that promote or hinder the implementation of PMC on their development projects.
The grant is a collaborative partnership with Kevin Grosskopf, professor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, who is the principal investigator and Kim Cheslak, associate director at the New Buildings Institute. Elliott and Killingsworth serve as co-principal investigators on the project.
(Source feature image photo: https://www.modular.org/documents/public/images/2019-PMC-Report-reduced.pdf)