How The Culture Of Inefficiency Is Outfoxing LEED®, ASHRAE, And Efficiency Programs
By Peter Kleinhenz, MS, P.E.,
Greg Raffio, MS, P.E.,
Charlie Schreier, MS, P.E.,
John Seryak, and Franc Sever, MS
October 1, 2012
Momentum is building behind energy-efficiency programs throughout the Midwest thanks to emerging government mandates and rising popularity of building certifications like LEED® and Energy Star. This mounting enthusiasm for energy efficiency comes with growing pains as the desire to implement it can outpace the ability of the region’s building designers, installation contractors, efficiency program managers, and building owners to understand it and correctly apply it.
Not only are energy-efficiency implementation mistakes being made, but these mistakes are being adopted as common practice and slipping past overseeing groups, such as the USGBC. In 2009, the USGBC realized that 53% of buildings it certified through 2006 were not achieving Energy Star label status, based on measured energy consumption.
Furthermore, 15% of these LEED certified buildings were actually performing in the bottom 30% of the comparable national building stock on an energy-per-sq-ft basis (Navarro 2009). As an energy efficiency consulting company that conducts building commissioning, energy auditing, and efficiency measurement and verification work, we feel we have a perspective from the front lines of why buildings are not performing as intended, and how they are outfoxing standards and checks put in place by organizations, such as USGBC, ASHRAE, government, and utility programs.