Why High-Performance?

  April 27, 2015

During an interview for an article many years ago, I asked a sustainability consultant a question about an "environmentally friendly" building. He immediately corrected my phrasing: "Greg, never say 'environmentally friendly' when referring to buildings or building products."He explained his rebuff thusly: No building or product is friendly to the environment. Some may be less harmful or more responsible than others, but saying “environmentally friendly” is wholly inaccurate.

That may sound nit-picky, but for a nit-picky magazine editor who strongly believes in the precision of words, it’s a lesson I took to heart. And I think it's a lesson exacting facility managers can appreciate as well. You wouldn't say "kilowatts" when you mean "kilowatt hours," would you? Nor would you go into a presentation and explain to your CFO that your building is doing "pretty well." You'd go in with hard data, trends, benchmarking, and analysis.

This idea of the precision of meaning is especially relevant as we launch our new High-Performance Buildings conference and expo — June 2-3 in Fort Worth. "High-performance" has become the term de jour for many in the industry to mean every thing from "green" and "sustainable" to "energy efficient" and "smart.” Truly, it means all those things together, but each one individually isn't quite enough.

But one of the goals of this newsletter, as well as the new conference and trade show, has been (and will be) to define more clearly what a high-performance building is. We think it’s one that's energy and resource efficient, intelligent, sustainable, and people-friendly. And this definition is important because it gives facility managers a multi-faceted goal to strive to. Besides, these days, calling anything simply "environmentally friendly" is nebulous to the point of being meaningless.


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