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High-Performance Buildings: Impact and Insights


By Dan Hounsell Facilities Management
smart city

The phrase high-performance buildings can mean different things to different facility managers. Does it mean LEED-certified buildings that are energy and water efficient? Facilities that are people-friendly and get high marks from occupants for creature comforts? Highly automated, integrated buildings that turn big data into big efficiency gains with smart analytics?

A high-performance building is all of those things and more. The key to a high-performance building is optimizing and integrating all things, whether fan speeds or fire safety, whether landscaping or lighting efficiency. It means thinking on a micro and macro level about the way building systems interact, and the way building occupants interact with those systems.

Now, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has released a study to measure the impact these buildings have in key areas. The report, entitled The Impact of High-Performance Buildings, compares 100 GSA high-performance buildings to 100 GSA legacy stock buildings over the last three years. Overall compared to legacy stock buildings, GSA's high-performance buildings have:

  • 23 percent lower energy use
  • 28 percent lower water use
  • 23 percent lower building operating expenses
  • 9 percent less waste landfilled
  • higher overall tenant satisfaction. 


Energy and water savings are even greater when compared to industry benchmarks – 43 percent for energy and 35 percent for water. The report's findings support recently issued Executive Order 13834, Efficient Federal Operations, which requires agencies to report on performance improvements and cost reductions, including energy and water savings.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell — dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com — editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, and chief editor of Facilitiesnet.com.

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