The Push and Pull of Building Performance

Published by Metal Architecture: Energy codes are often thought of as bringing up the rear, preventing the worst from happening, but not as drivers of innovation. Randy Croxton, FAIA is famously quoted for his astute observation, “Building to code means that if the building were designed any worse it would be against the law.” Most energy codes include two compliance options; a prescriptive path and a performance-based approach. The prescriptive path sets minimum performance requirements for building components (windows, insulation, HVAC equipment, etc.) and assumes that if each is met, the building will save energy. The performance-based approach uses energy modeling to compare a baseline that meets prescriptive standards to a proposed design that offsets some lower performing components with others that exceed prescriptive minimums. NBI has been a champion of outcome-based code compliance. This compliance pathway was included in the 2015 International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and is gaining traction.

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