Where is “High Performance” for Buildings Headed, Part 4: Signs of Alignment

September 22, 2016

Parts 1-3 of this 4-part series examined four major performance areas for high performance buildings (HPBs), emerging considerations, including building performance mechanisms, and future prospects. Part 4: indications of convergence.

There is no singular HPB mechanism or pathway available to building owners to optimize their properties, and there does not necessarily need to be one, as each of the existing mechanisms and pathways has added to the evolution of high performance buildings. That said, there are signs that interest in convergence is growing, as new relationships are emerging between the governing organizations for HPB mechanisms.

Consider that:

  • Green Business Certification Inc. (GCBI), which oversees LEED certification, also conducts the WELL audits, to ensure those two streams complement and work seamlessly together
  • the USGBC announced in 2015 that LEED would recognize the water and energy requirements from the Living Building Challenge
  • ASHRAE and the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) consolidated in 2015, combining resources to improve indoor air quality in buildings
  • the International Code Council (ICC), ASHRAE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), and the USGBC announced a collaboration in 2014 on the development of Standard 189.1 (Standard for the Design of High- Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings), the International Green Construction Code, and LEED — to deliver a coordinated, integrated suite of green building tools

There may be other such initiatives quietly underway that can bring greater coherence, less complexity, and more compatibility across the diversity of High Performance Building mechanisms.

The path forward

While the trajectory of the HPB evolution seems clear, the landscape on the ground is still confusing, complex, and, Legrand observes, non-comprehensive. Moreover, the continuing proliferation of building rating systems indicates that there are constituencies within the building community that do not believe their needs are being fully addressed.

A building landscape that is clearer, simpler, and more fully aligned with the federal definition of high performance raises the prospect of multiple benefits accruing across the building community. As a member of this community, Legrand poses the following questions in hope of catalyzing a conversation that will lead to new insights and constructive action: 

  • Would the state of building performance advance more quickly on the foundation of a shared understanding of what it means to be truly high performance?
  • Would the appetite for and investment in the development of metrics in areas such as health, productivity, resilience, security, and cost-effectiveness increase if all HPB attributes were recognized as equally important across the building community?
  • Would the nascent efforts of governing organizations to align their respective building performance mechanisms be accelerated and strengthened through a formal acknowledgement of the need and intention to do so?
  • Is there potential for the practice of benchmarking and disclosure to go beyond energy efficiency to encompass the entire spectrum of high performance considerations?
  • Would owners, designers, and specifiers be able to make better decisions as they seek to achieve performance objectives in a cost-effective way?
  • Would contractors employ project delivery systems that achieve greater efficiencies and economies?
  • Would manufacturers design and deliver products and systems that better optimize across the multiple performance objectives of their customers?
  • Would tenants be better equipped to communicate their preferences and make choices to meet their individual needs in the building and spaces they occupy?
  • Would the needs and desires of all stakeholders be better served by a new, comprehensive, and transparent mechanism that rates or communicates on the status of buildings on all performance attributes, not just some?

To achieve a truly high-performance building requires the integration and optimization of multiple building attributes, including safety and security, productivity, accessibility, functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability. However, recent industry and government focus has trained primarily on only one or two of these attributes. The building industry, with the help of government, can drive a more holistic process by raising the understanding of the interconnections and synergies across these performance attributes, as well as their overall contributions to an owner’s goals and the performance of building occupants. — NIBS, Moving Forward, 9

There are strong and influential organizations, including green building councils, the National Institute of Building Sciences, and the New Buildings Institute, among others, that have the competencies, expertise, mission, relationships, and annual forums to shed light upon these and other questions. Their willingness to do so may impact the ability of the building sector to further enhance its collective social, economic, and environmental welfare.

We need a common understanding and comprehensive approach because this is where the market is already heading, driven by the realities that building owners face today. We also need them to create an environment conducive to cooperation across all segments of the building industry. Such an effort is a long-term undertaking. The first step on this path would be for key stakeholders to acknowledge that this is a desirable and needed end-state.

This white paper is the third in a series that Legrand has produced to stimulate dialogue, highlight key trends, and advance understanding within the High Performance Building movement. Download the full paper here: http://www.legrand.us/aboutus/sustainability/edp-white-paper-2016.aspx.

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.



Related Articles

Latest Articles

  • Striking Ease and Peace of Mind: Gigamedia’s Video Solutions for Small Businesses

    Striking Ease and Peace of Mind: Gigamedia’s Video Solutions for Small Businesses

    May 28, 2024 Small businesses today face multifaceted challenges, necessitating advanced security solutions that go beyond traditional measures. Gigamedia, a pioneer in cutting-edge video security solutions, recognizes these evolving needs and has developed tailored offerings to address them. Let’s get into how Gigamedia’s innovative solutions provide small business owners with more than just security—they offer… Read More…

  • How Do You Tell Your Boss They Have a Bad Idea?

    How Do You Tell Your Boss They Have a Bad Idea?

    May 27, 2024 By Keith Sones, seasoned utility industry executive “That’s a great idea!” I said enthusiastically. My boss had just given me my first commission as a new safety and health professional, and I was eager to applaud his proactivity. Low in the food chain, I figured it couldn’t hurt to burnish his ego a… Read More…

  • Apprenticeship Manitoba FAQ – 1:1 Apprentice-to-Journeyperson Ratio

    Apprenticeship Manitoba FAQ – 1:1 Apprentice-to-Journeyperson Ratio

    May 27, 2024 How is the apprentice-to-journeyperson ratio changing? All trades currently use a ratio of no more than two apprentices for each journeyperson (a 2:1 ratio). The department is amending this to a 1:1 apprentice to journeyperson ratio. The regulation will come into effect later this calendar year. Why is the change being implemented?… Read More…

  • Enhancing Water Treatment Plant Efficiency with Solar Array and Active Harmonic Filtering

    Enhancing Water Treatment Plant Efficiency with Solar Array and Active Harmonic Filtering

    May 27, 2024 The search for renewable sources of energy has pushed the electrical industry to look into cutting-edge methods of generating and utilizing power in recent years and Water Treatment Plants are not an exception for being essential to ensuring a clean water supply. This case study explores the partnership between a Water Treatment Plant… Read More…

Changing Scene

  • Skilled Trades Ontario Launches Resource Hub to Simplify Access to Industry Information

    Skilled Trades Ontario Launches Resource Hub to Simplify Access to Industry Information

    May 27, 2024 Skilled Trades Ontario (STO) has launched a new online information centre, providing a platform to access an abundance of expertise and insights into the skilled trades sector. The STO Resource Hub features newly published trade reports, a directory of helpful links as well as other skilled trades related resources and research. This… Read More…

  • EFC Welcomes Lavindi Richards-Harvey as Events Coordinator

    EFC Welcomes Lavindi Richards-Harvey as Events Coordinator

    May 27, 2024 Lavindi Richards-Harvey has been appointed EFC’s Events Coordinator, effective May 13, 2024. Lavindi reports to Nathalie Lajoie, Director, National Events and will support all national and Ontario region events, as well as the Ontario Energy Network Programs. Lavindi has strong customer service skills, along with experience in events that will be a… Read More…

  • Ontario Makes Investment for In-Demand Careers as Electricians in Niagara Region

    Ontario Makes Investment for In-Demand Careers as Electricians in Niagara Region

    May 27, 2024 The Ontario government is working to fill the labour shortage by successfully training new Electrical Construction workers for in-demand careers in Niagara Region, together with union partners. Enabled by an investment of $672,700 through Ontario’s Skills Development Fund (SDF), the government has partnered with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local… Read More…

  • ABB Expands Electrification Portfolio with Acquisition of Siemens’ Wiring Accessories Business in China

    ABB Expands Electrification Portfolio with Acquisition of Siemens’ Wiring Accessories Business in China

    May 27, 2024 ABB announced it has signed an agreement to acquire Siemens’ Wiring Accessories business in China. The acquisition will broaden ABB’s market reach and complement its regional customer offering within smart buildings. The offering ABB is acquiring includes wiring accessories, smart home systems, smart door locks and further peripheral home automation products, which… Read More…