Continuous improvement is a mantra among green building proponents, and a new guide on tracking building performance is aimed at helping property owners and managers do the job.
"The Building Performance Tracking Handbook" was developed by the California Commissioning Collaborative with funding from the state's Energy Commission and can be applied to commercial buildings throughout the country.
Even a building constructed to the most exacting environmental standards needs to be operated and maintained properly to perform as designed.
To ensure that's happening and to make continuous improvement standard operating procedure for a building, owners and managers need to know what their buildings are doing, how and where their properties are using energy, and whether that meets expectations.
Tracking building performance enables building operators to collect that information, determine where problems are occurring, figure out why and fix them. That process is the framework behind benchmarking energy performance reporting and retrocommissioning (finetuning) of commercial buildings that are now required in cities such as San Francisco and New York.
The handbook lays out the basics for those new to the concept and provides further resources for those who are more advanced. The manual also outlines the business case for tracking and continuously improving building performance. The benefits include lower energy and operations costs, higher occupancy rates and greater market value than other buildings of comparable size.
Comprehensive guidance on green building is available in the International Green Construction Code. In the works since 2009, the first public version of the code was released in 2010 and already has been adopted by some jurisdictions. Last spring, Maryland became the first state to enable adoption of the International Green Construction Code as a minimum building code.
Last week, the International Code Council held its final hearings on the code, which is expected to be published in March 2012. The International Construction Code is used by the U.S. government and serves as a model for cities around the country as well as an international reference. Jim Sinopoli, the managing principal of Smart Buildings, recently wrote about the code in a blog for GreenBiz.
Photo of electrical inspection via Shutterstock.com.