Environmental Protection

Companies add Advanced Buildings to Commercial Efficiency Program Offerings

The Energy Trust of Oregon and Efficiency New Brunswick have added Advanced Buildings, a suite of tools and resources on best practices in energy-efficient, high performance building design. New Buildings Institute (NBI), a nonprofit organization aimed at improving energy performance in buildings, develops and maintains the Advanced Buildings program to help architects, engineers, building owners, and others take advantage of the benefits of energy efficiency strategies in commercial building projects.

Core Performance, the cornerstone of the Advanced Buildings program, is a direct prescriptive design path that results in low-energy buildings without the need for energy modeling.

The Core Performance Guide describes a set of 30 criteria that when applied together under an integrated design process results in buildings that are up to 30% more energy efficient than national building standards (ASHRAE 90.1 2004). Behind the protocol is an extensive modeling effort covering three of the most common building types and 16 U.S. climates.

Core Performance can be applied to any size project, but works best on less complex buildings which tend to be small to mid-sized projects. Projects less than 50,000 square feet represent about 95% of new commercial construction, according to Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey data.

"We find that small to mid-sized building projects don't typically incorporate high performance design practices because of concerns about the time required for modeling and expense," explained NBI Executive Director Dave Hewitt. "Advanced Buildings Core Performance addresses those concerns and makes energy efficiency more affordable in the smaller projects."

Buildings up to 100,000 square feet that apply Core Performance would qualify for LEED points--the two prerequisite points in LEED [2.2] Energy and Atmosphere Credit 1, and up to three additional points. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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