In our continuing effort to ‘re-imagine the way that buildings are conceived and constructed’, we embarked on a research study with a foresight and research consultant. The purpose of this project was to explore trends, disruptions and opportunities within Building Performance as it relates to engineering, the built environment, the end user, and the role of Entuitive in shaping the future.
We interviewed architects, contractors, building owners, developers and sustainability experts. While opinions and definitions varied, it was clear that there is a defining move in the industry towards performance based design and construction.
Carbon emissions continue to increase around the world. Since 1990, global carbon emissions have increased by more than 50%. Climate change is impacting urban and rural environments necessitating more resilient buildings. Sustainable development will be critical due to increasing urbanization as more than 50% of the world’s population currently lives in urban centres – a proportion that is expected to grow to 66% by 2050.
Understanding the long-term trends impacting the built environment industry helps reduce uncertainty and foster innovative strategies.
Exploring Building Performance summarizes our high-level findings discovered during our exploration. We identified five global shifts that are helping us understand trends in Building Performance that will shape the future of our practice:
- Hidden to Open
- Prescriptive to Performance
- Me to We
- Reactive to Proactive
- Building to Ecosystem
The first of these shifts, Hidden to Open, is presented below.
THERE IS A SHIFT TOWARDS PERFORMANCE DISCLOSURE AND TRANSPARENCY IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT.
New government driven and enforced policies are being developed that are intended to provide disclosure of energy consumption to both city officials and building owners. These measures will flag inefficiencies and ultimately inspire actions that will reduce building energy intensity and thereby carbon footprints.
Additional new policies are the result of cross industry collaborations in response to demands from the public and industry for full disclosure on materials and products used in construction.
EVIDENCE OF TREND:
“ENERGY BENCHMARKING IS AN IMPORTANT ASPECT OF AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY TO IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS, BECAUSE WHAT GETS MEASURED GETS DONE.” (NEEA’S BETTERBRICKS , 2010)
Currently, the US and Europe have by-laws and enforcements in place for benchmarking and auditing disclosure of building energy performance. These enforcements essentially ‘pick up where the codes leave off’ – some going well beyond. In the UK, from April 2018, all rented properties must meet a prescribed minimum energy performance standard, making it one of the strictest to be implemented. (Building Magazine, 2014)
Many US cities and 3 states now either require regular reporting to the government, and/or energy performance disclosure of data when a property is leased or sold. As a result, billions of square feet of property have been benchmarked under these programs.
An information graphic produced by The Institute for Market Transformation illustrates why benchmarking energy use in buildings is crucial to greenhouse gas reduction. The full graphic can be viewed here:
While Canada is lagging in terms of energy disclosure and transparency by-laws and enforcement, it is coming. A proposal to enact a by-law to impose an Energy Reporting Requirement [ERR] is expected to be presented to Toronto City Council in mid 2015. (City of Toronto, 2014)