When discussing the short and long term building performance of a green project, the issue generally comes down to the following question: Is there any identifiable or measurable gap between the predicted building performance (in the design and construction phases) and the actual bulding performance (during occupancy, operation and maintenance)?  This issue has been addressed in part by a number of my colleagues, including Stephen Del Percio ("Energy Performance in LEED Buildings: A History") and Chris Cheatham ("Real Life Example of the Energy Performance Gap").

USGBC Ready to Rumble?

Yesterday, I saw the following following press release: USGBC Tackles Building Performance Head On.  The USGBC announced the Building Performance Initiative, which is intended to assist LEED building owners and project teams to close the gap between predicted performance and actual performance.  The new initiative seeks to tackle building performance by the following:

  1. Employ a comprehensive data collection effort from all buildings that have acheived LEED certification;
  2. Implement an appropriate method to analyze the data collected; and
  3. Provide feedback to building owners.

There will be four summits held across the country in September and October to preview the proposed data collection and data analysis methods.  "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," said USGBC LEED Senior Vice President, Scot Horst.

Although USGBC says that it is ready to rumble by tackling building performance head on, it will be interesting to see some of the ideas previewed in these summits.  Already, we have heard from numerous industry players about the proposed enforcement tactic of revocation.  One of the more significant unknowns is determining whether LEED certification (based upon design and construction) should be separate from building performance (based upon actual assessment). In other words, will USGBC have a multi-tier certification for design/construction and performance? Will USGBC have a conditional certification based upon predicted performance? Will USGBC extend the certification process to include building performance? The USGBC better be ready to rumble!

Photo: Wade