Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Robert F. Boehm

Second Committee Member

Yitung Chen

Third Committee Member

William Culbreth

Fourth Committee Member

Yahia Baghzouz

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification system and its relevance to Federal policies, building codes, and building standards, develop experience with whole building energy modeling, and determine the actual post-occupancy energy usage as compared with developed model and design projections. This thesis hypothesized the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system compared favorably to other policies, codes, and standards in use at the time, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamations' LEED Platinum Lower Colorado Regional Office Green Building (LCROGB), located in Boulder City, Nevada, operated at least as energy efficiently as designed. Both hypotheses were shown to be true.

Based on the design and development requirements for the 49,818 square foot LCROGB being studied, the primary building requirements addressed were the U.S. Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings, ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007, and the LEED V2009 certification system for new construction. LEED V2009 certification requirements compared favorably by either meeting or exceeding other stated requirements.

The whole building energy simulation, QUick Energy Simulation Tool (eQUEST) Version 3.65, was used for the study, and baseline and proposed models were developed. The eQUEST results compared favorably with the designer's simulations developed using the Hourly Analysis Program (HAP) Version 4.5. eQUEST predicted a 32.7% savings in overall energy usage, compared to the HAP 38.9% prediction.

In 2013, the LCROGB used 600,042 kWh of energy, and 60% was electrical and 40% was natural gas. This usage demonstrated high building efficiency with an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 41.1 kBtu/sf/yr. Following more than two years of post-occupancy operation, the LCROGB was electrically more efficient than predicted by either HAP or eQUEST, although the facility was using considerably more natural gas than predicted by the simulations. The facility design and implementation met or exceeded energy efficiency requirements established by the reviewed policies and standards.

The three objectives of the study were met. Through the literature review, study of the LEED V2009 certification system and relevant policies and standards, whole building energy model development, and analysis of a LEED Platinum facility, it was shown that earning the maximum available LEED energy efficiency points significantly contributed to the overall building efficiency of the LCROGB. With the close proximity of the facility studied and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, several follow-on studies were recommended to further optimize building efficiency.


Building laws; Energy consumption; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System; Sustainable architecture; U.S. Green Building Council


Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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