Building Performance Evaluation of Leading Canadian Green Buildings

Buildings recognized to be "green" under various green rating systems are generally evaluated during the design stages, and certifications are assigned based principally on the predicted performance of the buildings when assessed. Most of these rating systems do not take into consideration the real performance of the buildings once occupied. However, it is now clear to many in the industry that significant discrepancies occur between the predicted and actual values for energy performance, greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, indoor environmental quality, and occupant comfort level. These discrepancies, sometimes called a "performance gap" can be the result of several factors such as the effectiveness of the initial modelling tools and processes used to design the building, envelope and systems integration, construction quality, appropriate building commissioning, and occupants' behaviour. The discrepancies represent a major problem for the construction industry which can lead to underperforming buildings, dissatisfied clients, reduced satisfaction and productivity of building occupants, and buildings that generally fail to live up to their potential even when predictions at the design stage suggest that they should reach excellent performance. An investigation of these gaps can help building owners understand how to optimize building performance and prioritize upgrades, and can help designers incorporate lessons from existing buildings into future projects. This project proposes to develop a standardized building performance evaluation framework, and use it to carry out assessments of six innovative Canadian green buildings. Building performance evaluation is a systematic process that analyzes how a building is operating, and compares it to benchmarking standards. Typically it addresses energy and water use, carbon emissions, and indoor environment, but other factors can also be evaluated.

Principal Investigator(s): Mark Gorgolewski
Collaborator(s): Murray Hudson, Mohamed Issa and Shauna Mallory-Hill
Research Assistant (s): Mohamed Ouf
Funding Source(s): NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant
Funding Amount: $13,000
Project Duration: September 2013-March 2014

Department of Civil Engineering | University of Manitoba