The fundamental indices to check in order to identify a high performance building are; energy and water efficiency, environmental impact, asset reliability, and occupant health, safety & comfort. According to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), adopting high performance building outcomes can reduce energy and operating expenses by 30% to 50% over the course of a building’s typical 50-75 year life cycle and also create a safe comfortable environment where employees can thrive and productivity can soar with good experience. With this, the building owners can command premium rents from their prospective tenants. Examples are the Heritage Place, Nest Oil Building and Yudala Heights, all located on the island in Lagos.
Some of the important elements to consider in high performance buildings are; good resource efficiency which leads to reduced operational cost and environmental impact. Obviously, these dimensions of performance are critical and important to provide the initial justification for choosing “green” energy-efficient and water-efficient options during the design and construction phase, even in cases where these choices result in slightly initial higher building costs.
Congruent to this, our needs and thinking has evolved with the expansion of a high performance building beyond the basic energy efficiency and environmental impact to operations of such buildings so as to contribute to the growth of the organisation.
WHAT IS A HIGH PERFORMANCE BUILDING?
According to the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), a high performance building is a building that integrates and optimises all major high-performance building attributes, including energy efficiency, durability, life-cycle performance, and occupants productivity in order to ensure the bottom line and organizational objectives are achieved. A high performance Building helps to achieve the 11th Goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is to develop sustainable cities and communities.
In view of this, Dave Taival (2012) opined that High performance buildings are created using a highly effective methodology that combines financial, operating and energy analysis with specialized service offerings and available financing. He further explained that they use design and operating standards that are created, measured and continually validated to deliver desired business outcomes for owners. High performance building outcomes meet specific standards for energy and water use, system reliability and uptime, environmental compliance, occupant comfort and safety, and other success factors. So, it is the responsibility of the Facilities Managers to continually invest in solutions through appropriate standards that can help achieve aforementioned expectations for a high performance building.
In one of the past research publication by USGBC, operating costs typically account between 60% to 85% of the building life-cycle costs compared to only 5% to 10% for design and construction costs. High performance buildings reduce overall life-cycle costs so companies can invest in other priorities and make buildings “assets” instead of “cost centres”. By looking at buildings as assets, financial leaders can communicate its value to the people the building serves (environment, comfort, safety), value to customers and the community (competence, environmental responsibility), and its value to the bottom line (cost savings, avoidance, ROI).
CASE STUDY: GREEN FM HIGH PERFOMANCE BUILDINGS APPROACH
GREEN FM helps organizations achieve financial, sustainability and corporate goals and transform buildings to be high performance buildings by developing concrete strategies that customers can define and implement and that GREEN FM can easily deliver and measure. GREEN FM’s approach for delivering ROI is focused on six (6) key areas: understanding the customer’s mission; conducting a critical systems audit and facility assessment; providing performance improvement recommendations; implementing improvements; providing continuous systems monitoring & control; periodic audits and ongoing assessment; and delivering measurement and evaluation.
To help customers realise their mission, GREEN FM utilizes a comprehensive High Performance Building approach. This is a customer-centric process which begins by conducting a building improvement survey that analyses gaps between a building’s current and optimum energy performance with appropriate benchmark with related buildings. We call it the BIG DATA approach because GREEN FM believes that DATA is the new Oil that most organisations drives their businesses. The process makes performance improvements, validates system performance within set standards, provides period energy audits and identifies improvements. Although, this may be challenging sometimes because some clients are not willing to change their thoughts over the conventional and traditional way of managing their facilities which is more focused on corrective and preventive maintenance. Upgrades to control systems with intelligent technology that uses analytics to improve efficiency and self-sufficiency and continuously monitors and analyses data against operating benchmarks are often key to the process. GREEN FM provides a new level of technology-enabled services to help building owners and operators achieve and maintain optimum building performance at all stages of the process.
GREEN FM leverages on the latest technology to create a whole-building, total-lifecycle, knowledge-based approach to establishing and maintaining performance standards. At the design stage, technologies are available to help building design and management teams achieve the highest possible efficiency. Energy modelling and analysis tools provide comprehensive and accurate analyses of energy and economic impacts of building features. Engineers use computer simulation software to develop virtual models that are a powerful tool that can be used to analyse building performance. The software examines the various zones and systems to simulate the building’s energy consumption patterns. It then creates a total picture of the building’s energy use, including how energy consumption breaks down by fuel type, task, and building component. It is best to use modelling early in the design process. This allows the high-performance building team to prioritize investments in efficiency strategies that will have the greatest impact on the building’s energy use. Many high-performance building teams incorporate renewable energy technologies into the design phase to reduce utility dependency and environmental impact. Benefits include greater stability in power supply, and often government incentives to help fund renewable applications.
The most effective service and maintenance outcomes are holistic, technology-enabled and knowledge based, with a focus that extends well beyond the preventive maintenance and task-oriented strategies which is no more effective and efficient. Service offerings that support the full range of a high performance building’s operations use robust and proven processes, computer modelling, diagnostic testing, predictive technologies and other state-of-the-art techniques.