Minimal cost added up front

While a building's plans are still on the drawing board, the cost to ensure that it will be a high performance building is nominal.  In many cases, there may be little to no additional cost at all. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the lifecycle energy and operational efficiencies of high performance green buildings yield savings between 20 percent and 50 percent per year compared with conventional buildings.

Broader opportunities

With existing buildings there is even greater opportunity for improvement. Over time, operating costs generally account for 60 – 85 percent of building lifecycle costs. Even buildings that were originally designed to high performance standards, such as LEED® and Energy Star®, must be properly managed and maintained to sustain the advantages.

Shifting attitudes

Raising performance and efficiency in existing buildings requires a shift in attitudes about day-to-day maintenance and operations from reactive—or as needed—to a technology-enabled, pre-emptive approach that:

  1. Embraces predictive building maintenance strategies
  2. Establishes and maintains sound operating metrics
  3. Adopts performance-based service concepts

LEED® for Existing Buildings and similar programs provide guidelines for raising performance in existing structures. The standards set by Energy Star, ASHRAE, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and other organizations are generally used to define acceptable performance parameters.