Creating New Green Building Rating Systems Using Big Data Platforms

This book is a “must read” for people in the green building industry. It is well written, with good references and a clear message, certainly one of the most useful green building texts available. You hit the nail on the head!
— Eric T. Truelove, PE, GGA, LEED AP BD&C, Madison, Wisconsin

Central to the argument in Reinventing Green Building is that we need to design a new approach to rating systems that relies on readily accessible data. We can radically transform green building certification by starting with a data set that every business needs (and acquires) on a regular basis for managing ongoing operations and that every design team gathers for use in new building design and building renovations.

This data set includes:

  1. Electricity use, including onsite solar and wind power generation.
  2. Gas and diesel purchases.
  3. Water consumption.
  4. Waste sent to landfill and percentage collected for recycling.
  5. Ecological purchases as a percentage of total purchases.
  6. Weather and occupancy data, for normalizing energy use, readily accessible from many global weather services. 
Key Features of Energy Dashboards on Cloud-based Platforms

Key Features of Energy Dashboards on Cloud-based Platforms

Additional data on Scope 3 carbon emissions can come from quarterly or semiannual employee or occupant commuting surveys and on internal corporate travel reporting.

Data that need to be collected include both dynamic and static variables. The first data type, dynamic, changes continually based on operational activity. The second data type, static, describes a building’s location, occupancy type, access to transit options, landscape irrigation and habitat extent, and similar location-specific data that are useful for managing a building portfolio and could be evaluated within the context of a green building system.

If a rating system wants to include location information in its rating system, specific points that it awards based on such data can easily be incorporated into a platform’s data output and rating scores without changing the overall approach: Once a building is set up on a platform, further analysis and verification is hands free and continuous, which cuts costs by 10x to 100x compared with using the LEED EBOM system for assessing existing buildings.

Additionally, energy use data employed for reporting Energy Star scores can also be used to calculate absolute performance and to report that information using a scoring protocol from a KPI-based green building rating system or from the zEPI, Zero Energy Performance Indicator.