Expanding the Principles of Performance to Sustainable Buildings

  • October 14, 2008
  • • Written by: James E. Woods, Ph.D., P.E. 

Fall 2008 Vol 33, No 3

Abstract: Criteria with which to measure and evaluate actual building performance are seldom defined in objective and measurable terms. As a consequence, accountability is imprecise and risks of unfulfilled promises are incurred for the performance of buildings during both normal and extraordinary conditions. This article reviews the concepts and principles of defining and measuring building performance in terms of health, safety, security and functionality in response to physical and social forces; introduces the concepts of resilient building performance and residual risk; explores the status of the existing building stock in terms of energy utilization and indoor environmental quality; and suggests an approach to managing residual risks through a quantitative process of building diagnostics. The article concludes that assuring building performance through continuous accountability, which is similar to that used in other aspects of successful business practice, enables the owner to periodically determine if he or she has made a good investment.