For designers, the biggest hesitancy toward outcome-based compliance is the question about who is responsible for performance during the measurement and verification period. Why should a design team be responsible for something they have no control over?
"What's needed is to really articulate commitments to performance and identify performance requirements," says DiNola. "Being clear that the building is designed to perform a certain way is essential. Assumptions need to be verified." It goes beyond just being clear in a meeting, however: If the outcome-based compliance method is chosen, the targets, and who has responsibility for those targets, must be explicitly stated in the contract between the owner and design team. Of course, doing so means conversations about performance are held early and often, and that can't do anything but help.
"Beyond the code and policy issues, outcome-based compliance is an opportunity to improve the basic processes of design, construction, and contracting," says Colker.
"The FM will have to be a key part of the design team," says Majersik. "Having the operator perspective, someone who knows how things work in the real world, is really valuable."
What's more, the design team becomes a partner with the FM during the performance period, helping to optimize efficiency and tune the building to meet design intent. This should be music to facility managers' ears, as it seldom happens in the industry these days. Facility managers are often left to their own devices if something goes wrong; the designers having moved on to other projects because they assume they've completed their responsibility.
In addition to the designers being involved longer, an outcome-based compliance process also creates a "positive feedback loop" for designers, says Majersik. "Designers can't do better if they don't know what didn't work," he says.
For facility managers, the outcome-based process and partnering with the design team also help raise their profile in their own organizations. Simply put, there will be more attention on them and their expertise, says Majersik. And they can use the process to get the capital required to create truly high-performing buildings. "I hope they'll use this as a tool to get resources to manage buildings the way they should be managed," he says. "A lot of times, FMs see things that are wasting energy, but can't get the budget to fix them. If they say, however, 'We have to do this, or we'll be in violation of our building permit,' it's a lot easier to get resources."
At the end of the day, the simple notion of accountability in all aspects of the design, construction, compliance, and operations process is a main reason behind outcome-based codes. Energy use can't be reduced if no one has any idea whether a building is performing as it was intended or not. Data is the key. "Outcome-based codes give an important feedback loop for how the building is doing," says Edelson. "Data-driven codes are really going to lead to better-performing buildings."
For a summary of research and other information on outcome-based compliance, visit the New Buildings Institute's Outcome-Based Energy Codes page: newbuildings.org/outcome-based-energy-codes
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