ConstructionPro Week, Volume: Construction Advisor Today - Issue: 22 - 09/24/2009

USGBC To Analyze Ongoing Building Performance for LEED Certification

As part of a commitment to continued building improvement, the U.S. Green Building Council has launched the Building Performance Initiative. The initiative will collect data from buildings that have achieved LEED certification, methodically analyze that data and provide feedback to building owners so they can address any performance gaps that stem from predicted versus actual building performance.

This initiative complements the announcement earlier this year that will require building owners to submit ongoing performance data as part of their LEED certification. "This initiative is about gathering knowledge about building performance in a way no one has ever done before," said USGBC LEED senior vice president Scot Horst. "The information that we collect from our certified projects is a workable, holistic approach for achieving better performing buildings."


Horst noted that the LEED green building program was created to transform the way buildings traditionally have been designed and constructed with the goal of reducing the building's impact on the environment by being more energy, water and resource efficient. Yet, a building's day-to-day operation has a dramatic impact on its performance. Owner or facility managers need ongoing building performance feedback to operate with optimum efficiency.


Numerous things affect the ability of a building to deliver high performance, including energy modeling tools, properly timed energy models, quality building commissioning, proper goal setting/benchmarking, and coordination between design and operation. The biggest issue by far is how people use a building day to day: Do they forget to turn out the lights when they leave the room? Do they leave water running in the sink? Do the facility managers have protocols for checking automatic controls? Do they know when those controls are malfunctioning?


"Plenty of people are content to simply point to these longstanding issues without offering a constructive way to address them. We're going to take them on and engage practitioners and thought leaders alike in establishing a national roadmap to optimize building performance," Horst said.


Four Building Performance Initiative summits will be held across the United States in September and October. Participants can preview USGBC's data collection agenda and proposed analysis methodology and provide other feedback.


"The local summits are a way to gather people's input for our vision and also for them to share their performance stories, successes and challenges," Horst said.


The inputs from these meetings will be reported at the First Annual Building Performance Summit at Greenbuild, Nov. 11-13 in Phoenix. An important part of the Building Performance Initiative includes collecting data from thousands of LEED-certified project. The USGBC will work with experienced real estate research organizations, including Kingsley and Associates, in this effort.


"Establishing the importance of the connection between the landlord and tenant, the designer and operator, and the owner and the occupant will be one outcome of this initiative," Horst said. "Everyone has a contribution to make to how the building ultimately performs. With the right kind of information, it will be much easier to see what areas are really driving performance and what areas need to be addressed. The Building Performance Initiative is a great step in that direction."




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