Sustainability ENews Vol9 #21 Measuring Efficiency

The Masonry Society



Sustainability E-News

Measuring Efficiency



November 30, 2017                                    

Volume 9, Number 22





From the Editor

One of the benefits of increased technology is improved access to data that can inform decision making. Arc, the newest program from USGBC and sister-company GBCI, is a technology platform that provides real time information on building performance, encouraging benchmarking against like buildings. Its increased use is noted in the first article featured below. On the design side, access to data can inform decisions made early in the design process in order to create a more energy efficient, sustainable design. Such is the premise behind the "Back of the Envelope" energy modeling tool featured in the Seventhwave article below. Access to information early in the design process allows for gross manipulation of building systems and features to improve performance without negatively impacting the budget.


Christine "Tina" Subasic, PE, LEED AP


NOTE: Inclusion in this newsletter is not an endorsement of the products and materials featured, nor have these products been evaluated by TMS or the editor. Furthermore, the views expressed in the articles featured are those of the article authors.


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Data is key to improving performance. At least that's the premise behind the Arc platform - a technology that displays information on building performance in the areas of energy use, water use, and waste in the building, as well as data on occupants' health and their transportation impacts. Read more below. ~Tina


Arc is Electrifying Green Building


Next week will be a year since the launch of Arc. Arc is already approaching one billion square feet of projects, not only in the United States, but also from India to Sweden and Israel to Bhutan. If you are not familiar with the Arc platform, it is a technology platform that helps a building owner measure performance and benchmark against others.Read more.


Strong Buildings, Resilient Communities


From Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Berkeley, Calif., building professionals throughout the world are developing and implementing resiliency strategies. Resilient buildings are strong enough to survive and operate during climate events-such as floods-and can adapt to deal with future threats. And, with scientists predicting stronger climatic events ahead, the value of resiliency is increasingly being recognized. Read more.


Seventhwave Offers Free Energy Analysis Tools


Seventhwave, the nonprofit high-performance building design think tank, has recently released several energy analysis tools online for free. These tools and resources gauge the impact of design decisions and set realistic energy performance goals. As this article notes, "this Back-of-the-Envelope Calculator is a learning tool that allows anyone to interact with a building as an energy system. With the calculator, someone can view real-time energy connections between building components, isolate the effects of changing a single energy parameter or produce concept-level energy and CO2 emissions estimates." 



One of the easiest ways to improve the overall energy performance of buildings in the U.S. is to improve model code adoption and enforcement. As the link in the article below shows, many states are using 2009 or earlier versions of the codes. By using the latest versions (2018 editions) of the model building and energy codes, building energy efficiency could be dramatically improved in many cases. ~Tina


ACEEE releases 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. ACEEE developed the scorecards to "give state-level policymakers a road map for building stronger and more resilient communities." The scorecards are a great resource, providing a benchmark of state energy policy and progress. The scorecard uses a 50-point scale across six categories, with 30 total submetrics, helping one drill down into areas where a state can benefit from improvements, as well as highlighting areas in which a state is a top performer. Read more here.


Aggressive Local Codes Boost Green Building Industry

Green building projects are taking off around the world, thanks to aggressive building codes that benefit efficient, carbon neutral construction. These so-called stretch codes push national guidelines forward by showcasing what is possible. Read more.


The New REScheck is Here

The REScheck product group makes it fast and easy for builders, designers, and contractors to determine whether new homes, additions, and alterations meet the requirements of the IECC or a number of state energy codes. REScheck also streamlines compliance for contractors, plan checkers, and inspectors by allowing them to quickly determine if a low-rise residence meets the correct building code. 



Corporate sustainability reporting is still a nascent industry. While standards exist, implementation of them is still highly variable as the articles below attest. In fact the LEED credit on sourcing of raw materials remains largely unattainable due to the lack of consistent reporting methods. ~Tina


Opinion: Global Reporting Initiative Still Lacks Clear Guidance


According to this article, the new version of the Global Reporting Initiative standards fails to express how organizations are meant to report Sustainability Context. This failure can allow organizations to report making "contributions" to sustainability even while their practices are unsustainable. 


About 60% of World's Industry Reports to Sustainability Assessing Organizations


Global sustainability assessors' standards can help corporations evaluate their supply chains and help investors evaluate businesses. The proliferation of assessing organizations -- and lack of standardized data requests -- causes some confusion, creating grist for competition among companies. Read more.



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