NBI at Greenbuild: Building Performance and Outcome-based Codes

Recently, NBI had the opportunity to present some of our projects and ideas at the world’s largest green building gathering, the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild conference. Mark Frankel, NBI’s Technical Director, presented the results of a new study on the magnitude of energy use associated with aspects of buildings outside of traditional energy modeling analysis, especially occupant factors.  This was presented in the session: called “Rethinking Energy Modeling: Incorporating Non-Traditional Approaches in Simulation.”

This work highlighted how traditional energy modeling tools have been used to compare building components independent from their use and operational patterns, even though these factor  significantly  into the total building energy use. The presentation addressed the impacts of building operation and use patterns on total energy use and also examined standard modeling practices that fail to reflect actual building energy use characteristics.  A white paper on this topic is forthcoming; look for it on the NBI website.

In a second session, Mark Frankel was joined by Jayson Antonoff from the City of Seattle, Dennis Wilde from Gerding Edlen Development and Ric Cochrane from the National Trust of Historic Preservation in presentating  “Outcome-Based Energy Codes as a Foundation for Market Transformation for Building Energy Performance.”

This presentation built on the work NBI has been involved in to help develop an outcome-based energy code compliance path for leading jurisdictions, and for the forthcoming International Green Construction Code.

The presentation detailed NBI’s partnership with the City of Seattle and the Preservation Green Lab to pioneer a new building energy code framework where compliance is based on actual post-construction performance outcomes rather than prescriptive codes or pre-permit modeling. This allows owners and design teams to have the flexibility to pursue whatever retrofit strategies they deem most appropriate to the project and to get the highest return from their individual buildings, provided they actually achieve a designated performance target.

Also at Greenbuild, the USGBC rolled out its new Building Performance Partnership (BPP) project, which is striving to collect and analyze actual energy use data for completed LEED projects.  Hundreds of completed buildings are already taking part in this project.  NBI helped the USGBC develop the performance analysis for a pilot group of these projects using our ‘FirstView’ analysis tool to predict specific areas of opportunity for building performance improvement based on an analysis of energy signature data.  The energy signature tool allows for a more direct analysis of building operational characteristics under different temperature conditions, which provides significant additional insight into building efficiency and performance improvement opportunities than utility meter data alone.