Tracking building performance helps to save money and resources

January 9, 2012

Environmentalists have long pushed for the adoption of a greener approach to buildings in the U.S., but the movement for more energy efficient buildings may now come from the potential savings for companies that retrofit or replace their older structures.

It is because of these potential savings attributed to energy efficient buildings that many managers and owners are considering "listening" to their structures, according to an article posted on Facilities Net by Lauren Riggs, a manager for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Riggs noted that building owners are increasingly monitoring the performance of their structures to ensure optimal operations.

The USGBC launched its Building Performance Partnership (BPP) in 2009, and the organization-wide initiative targeted the optimization of building performance as a fundamental goal of the energy efficient buildings movement, according to the article. BPP engages both the owners and facility managers of LEED-certified commercial buildings through data collection, analysis and action.

The article noted that participants in the program receive annual performance reports, real-time data and reports cards to aid their managers in achieving the building performance goals.

The success of the program has been measured by the increase in participation by facilities across the country, as the 132 LEED-certified stuctures that joined BPP in 2010 increase to 350 buildings in 2011.

According to the article, the increased participation in the program has led to increased connectivity to other USGBC programs and more resources for companies and building owners. This year, participants that share data through the BPP will receive a more-detailed report through an online interface. This will include an analysis of their current performance compared with their benchmarks that were designated by LEED certification.

This type of federal program is part of a push by the government to reduce the 40 percent of the total consumption that is accounted for by commercial buildings in the U.S. The Department of Energy created an innovation HUB in Philadelphia to design and develop technology for buildings in the country.

The Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings (GPIC) was created to help improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions of new and existing buildings and to stimulate private investment and quality job creation in the sector. The effort is headquartered at the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard and will draw upon the many resources that the Greater Philadelphia region has to offer.