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Prototype Courthouse Building Energy Model: Building and System Characteristics

by Mini Malhotra, Joshua R New, Piljae Im
Publication Type
ORNL Report
Publication Date

As part of DOE's support of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 and IECC, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) apply a suite of prototype buildings covering 80% of the commercial building floor area in the U.S. for new construction. Efforts have started on expanding the prototype building suite to cover 90% of the commercial building floor area in the U.S., by developing prototype models for additional building types including place of worship, public order and safety, public assembly. Courthouse is courthouse is a sub-category under the “Public Order and Safety" building type category; other sub-categories include police station, fire station, and jail, reformatory or penitentiary.

ORNL used building design guides, databases, and documented courthouse projects, supplemented by personal communication with courthouse facility planning and design experts, to systematically conduct research on the courthouse building and system characteristics. This report documents the research conducted for the courthouse building type and proposes building and system characteristics for developing a prototype building energy model to be included in the Commercial Building Prototype Model suite.

According to the 2012 CBECS, courthouses occupy a total of 436 million sqft of floor space or 0.5% of the total floor space in all commercial buildings in the US, next to fast food (0.35%), grocery store or food market (0.88%), and restaurant or cafeteria (1.2%) building types currently included in the Commercial Prototype Building Model suite. Considering aggregated average, courthouse falls among the larger with a mean floor area of 69,400 sqft smaller fuel consumption intensity building types and an average of 94.7 kBtu/sqft compared to 77.8 kBtu/sqft for office and 80 kBtu/sqft for all commercial buildings.

Courthouses range in size from 1000 sqft to over a million square foot building gross square feet and 1 courtroom to over 100 courtrooms. Small courthouses represent a majority of courthouse buildings. However, collectively they comprise a small fraction of total courthouse floor area in the US. Spaces and operation of courthouse also varies depending on the court type (federal court vs state court; district, appellate, versus Supreme Court) and jurisdiction (general jurisdiction, general jurisdiction trial, or special courts).

Based on the statistics on courthouses, general jurisdiction trial court is considered for the prototype model. The model is assumed to be a 4-courtroom, small, 72,000 sqft three-story building including a ground level/ basement.