USGBC Launches Building Performance Initiative

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has launched the Building Performance Initiative, an effort to collect data from all buildings that have achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, implement an appropriate method of analyzing that data, and provide feedback to building owners so they have better information with which to address gaps between predicted and actual building performance.

The initiative complements the announcement earlier this year that ongoing performance data will be required as part of buildings' certification under the latest version of LEED and beyond.

“This initiative is about gathering knowledge about building performance in a way no one has ever done before,” USGBC LEED Senior Vice President Scot Horst said. “The information that we collect from our certified projects is a workable, holistic approach for achieving better-performing buildings.”

Numerous things affect the ability of a building to deliver high performance. The biggest issue by far is how people use the building day to day. Do they forget to turn out the lights when they leave the room? Do they leave the 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," Horst said. "We’re going to take them on and engage practitioners and thought leaders alike in establishing a national roadmap to optimize building performance.”

Four Building Performance Initiative summits will be held across the United States in September and October. Participants will have a chance to preview the USGBC’s data-collection agenda and proposed analysis methodology and provide 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.

Input from those meetings will be reported during Greenbuild, which will be held Nov. 11-13 in Phoenix.

In collecting data from thousands of LEED-certified projects, the USGBC will work with real-estate research organizations, including Kingsley and Associates.

“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.”

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