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Measuring the Performance of a Building


  • 2.1 Financial Metrics
  • 2.2 Security and Life Safety
  • 2.3 Productivity and Satisfaction of Building Occupants

With increased global awareness of energy consumption and sustainability we tend to measure the performance of a building based on its energy consumption, comparing its energy consumption against some base minimum energy performance such as the ASHRA E/IESNA Standard 90.1. The larger the improvement over the base energy performance the higher the building is performing. If a new building has exceeded the estimated base performance by 42% or an existing building by 35% (LEED criteria for optimizing energy performance) they have attained the highest level of building performance. But, what if this existing building has exceeded the base energy performance by 35% but is unsafe, unprofitable, or is not satisfying it occupants? Is it still a high performance building?

Energy consumption and sustainability are critical in buildings, but, the view that only energy defines a building's performance is myopic.

The fact is that most buildings are too complex to be evaluated on energy consumption alone. If you were shopping for an automobile would you base your buying decision solely on miles-per-gallon or kilometers-per-liter of gasoline? If so we'd all be driving single-seat cars with 4-cycle engines. Building performance needs to be defined more broadly, more holistically. Aside from energy and sustainability we need to examine other factors of a building's performance. While energy and sustainability are important unto themselves they also influence or affect other building performance factors, especially the financial aspect; that is, a large part of the motivation behind conservation, alternative energy sources, demand response, and so forth is to save money.

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