Nearly 7 years ago, in 2007, the Federal Government passed executive orders which required newly constructed Federal buildings meet high performance standards. The goal is for Federal buildings to meet Net-Zero energy by 2030, relying on efficiency and sources of renewable energy to negate their environmental foot print. This is a lofty goal spurred by the fact 40% of the primary energy and 75 of the electricity in the U.S. is consumed by commercial buildings, schools and homes. The government hopes to spearhead the movement toward energy independent buildings, and push the U.S. toward energy independence. A bi-partisan congressional caucus exists to support the process.
Stated goals of this caucus include:
Pursuing resource and cost saving strategies, such as addition of solar panels, thermal heating, water recycling, reflective and vegetated roofs, etc.
Managing existing building systems to reduce waste of resources-from lighting, insulation, even recycling and composting. As an example, in 2002, the carpet industry formulated a plan along with the EPA and state environmental ages, to repurpose and recycle used carpets salvage from renovations.
When adding assets, identifying opportunities to dispose of existing assets to optimize property usage-I.e. repurposing buildings from one function to another, recycling materials. Ensuring effective retrofitting of older buildings.
Key concepts and phrases include:
Energy Intensity – energy consumption as measure by square foot, including industrial and laboratory enterprises.
Environment – environmental aspects of facility operations related to every aspect from usage of outdoor space to transportation.
Sustainable – the maintenance of conditions were humans and nature can exist in a mutually beneficial relationship, preserving resources for present and future generations.
Zero-Net-Energy – A building designed and constructed to operate efficiently on the most minimal amount of energy, and meeting the balance of energy needs from renewable sources.
The CAFM industry, with its focus on efficiency and cost-effective building maintenance, has a significant role to play in the evolution of high performance buildings. A collective overview of all aspects of building management, the accurate gathering of data across all modalities, is a crucial element in true efficiency. A concrete example of the intersection of Federal legislative efforts is and CAFM processes are the High Performance Buildings Database found at eere.buildinggreen.com.
This database is research sponsored by the U.S. department of energy which collects data on various factors that affect a buildings performance including, energy, materials, waste removal and land use. The information is collected from buildings around the world from homes, to industrial complexes, schools, commercial interiors and even whole neighborhoods and campuses. The facilities may be notable because they are certified “Green” or because they have one or more remarkable environmental features. Anyone may submit a project to this website which currently lists over 130 buildings. As the demand for high performance buildings continues to expand, a comparison of approaches and data can be an invaluable tool in CAFM development.