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Greenbuild 2011: Building Metrics Take Center Stage

ImageOne of themes of Greenbuild this year was data and metrics. This is not a surprise. As the green building industry continues to mature, owners are demanding better performance.

The theme of data and metrics appeared in many forms throughout the Greenbuild sessions.  Nadav Malin, BuidingGreen editor, explained why metrics matter:

"Why do we care about metrics? We want to use the numbers to effect a change.  Humans are not good at seeing indirect relationships and metrics help manage this."

Energy benchmarking was repeatedly mentioned as a reason to measure building performance. For example, New York City will soon require disclosure of energy data.  Other cities are moving in this direction. Eventually, the data will be disclosed in public databases so that building performance can be compared. The hope is that tenants would then compare building performance when shopping for space, much like gas mileage is used today.

The LEED rating system is also taking steps to further measure energy data in order to create change. The next version of the LEED rating system - LEED 2012 - will include a Recertification process that focuses on building performance. Already, projects receiving LEED certification must disclose energy and water usage to the US Green Building Council.

Over the coming years, we will see a flood of software solutions flooding the market that can be used to measure metrics.  Smart phones will be used to turn off lights and water.  Apps will be used to measure real time water and energy useage.

What potential do you see in harnessing metrics through new software solutions?