In recent years, the importance of energy efficiency in buildings has become increasingly recognized. Not only does energy-efficient design and operation reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it also leads to cost savings for building owners and occupants. Building certification systems like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), and Green Star have become popular ways for buildings to showcase their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency. In this article, we will explore the vital connection between building certification and energy performance, and what you need to know to ensure your building is energy-efficient.
What is Building Certification?
Building certification is a process that evaluates the sustainability and efficiency of a building. It typically involves an assessment of factors such as energy and water use, waste management, and materials sourcing. The most well-known building certification systems include LEED, BREEAM, and Green Star.
Certification can be a useful way for building owners to showcase their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency. Certified buildings are often more energy-efficient, have lower operating costs, and may have a higher resale value than non-certified buildings. Additionally, certification can be a useful tool for tenants and occupants to identify buildings that are healthy, comfortable, and environmentally friendly.
What is Energy Performance?
Energy performance refers to the amount of energy that a building consumes, and how efficiently that energy is used. Energy performance can be affected by a range of factors, including building design, construction methods, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, lighting, and appliance use. Energy-efficient buildings typically consume less energy than non-efficient buildings, leading to cost savings for building owners and occupants.
The Benefits of Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency has a range of benefits for building owners, occupants, and society as a whole. These benefits include:
- Cost savings: Energy-efficient buildings typically have lower operating costs than non-efficient buildings. This can lead to cost savings for building owners and tenants, as well as reduced utility bills.
- Improved comfort: Energy-efficient buildings are often more comfortable and healthier to live and work in. This is because they typically have better insulation, ventilation, and lighting, leading to improved indoor air quality and temperature control.
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: Buildings are a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-efficient buildings consume less energy, leading to reduced emissions and a more sustainable future.
The Connection Between Building Certification and Energy Performance
Building certification systems like LEED, BREEAM, and Green Star are designed to promote sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. These systems typically evaluate factors such as energy use, materials sourcing, and waste management, and award points or ratings based on the building’s performance. The more energy-efficient a building is, the more points or rating it will receive.
In particular, certification systems like LEED and BREEAM have a strong focus on energy performance. The LEED certification system, for example, includes credits for buildings that use energy-efficient lighting and appliances, have effective insulation and ventilation systems, and use renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. Similarly, the BREEAM certification system includes credits for buildings that use efficient HVAC systems, incorporate natural daylighting, and use low-carbon materials.
By meeting the standards of these certification systems, buildings can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency, and reap the benefits of reduced operating costs and improved comfort for occupants.