Cathy Higgins

Beyond the Building: Individual and Delivery ‘Systems’ for Energy Use Reduction

Cathy Higgins of the New Buildings Institute (NBI) touches on two approaches that NBI has been working on to move “beyond the building” to deepen the savings opportunities in commercial buildings. First, connecting the D-O-Ts: putting building energy performance into context for designers, operators/owners and tenants. The approach is focused on the individuals that impact energy use. Launching conversations or strategies for improving building energy performance is preceded by addressing three questions: a) what is the current performance? b) Compared to what? And c) who cares? Traditionally, building performance has been represented in either total energy cost or total energy use by whole building, tenant space or square foot. Cathy shares how NBI has been working on feedback that separates out the building energy impact by “DOT” party.  Making this distinction improves the ability to communicate with the right people about their area of influence. And second, for system and scaling approaches Higgins shows how the ESCO model needs to move, as a delivery system, beyond the municipal and government market into the private sector to garner mass changes in energy use. Examples of the 2030 EcoDistrict in Seattle and prototype work by New Buildings Institute and National Trust for Historic Preservation help show the aggregation potential.

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