With the start of every new year, we develop a curiosity for predicting what the year to come has in store. Some like to follow the new year advice offered by their favorite magazine, such as trying out a trendy new color pallet or hairstyle, while others enjoy guessing which celebrities will get married. Those of us in the 3R office would like to throw in our two cents and dub 2020, “The Year of Performance” for the sustainability industry. This year initiates what the United Nation has coined, “The SDG Decade of Action,” the decade dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than ever before, cities, organizations, and individuals will be looking to emphasize better data and evidence in pursuit of bridging the gap between goal setting and reporting, and actual progress.
Many indicators in 2019 point to this trend of an increased desire for high-performance. One of great significance is the LEED version 4.1 rating system. Under the updated system, focus shifts even further towards data analysis with verification to model targets, as LEED points can be earned through on-going building performance monitoring.
In addition, New York City issued its Green New Deal Action Plan for achieving carbon emission reduction goals and shifting the city to a more renewable future through existing building retrofits and expanding renewable energy. Plans like NYC’s are popping up all over the country, requiring buildings to monitor and report on efficiency metrics. Texas utility company, Austin Energy, announced it will be offering an Integrated Modeling Incentive rebate program, which rewards building owners for incorporating energy modeling during design through post-occupancy verification.
Real estate company, JLL Industries, reported a simple rule of thumb for understanding orders of magnitude of a company’s spending known as the 3-30-300 rule, (the average cost per square foot per year of utilities– rent – people, respectively) which helps organizations quantify savings due to increased performance in each area.
How does 3R Sustainability work into this performance-based future? Our firm consists of a diverse group of individuals with strong technical skills and experience to help organizations reach their design and operation goals. In past years, we have focused on understanding the myriad of certification systems, from BREEAM to LEED, WELL/TRUE/Fitwel and onward to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Energy Audits. These certifications and frameworks allow for projects to receive high-regarded recognition, and/or they can simply be used as guides to help project teams set goals and action plans centered on increasing operational performance.
This year we will increase our focus on data analysis with verification for projects that want to increase business value with or without obtaining an official certification. As a group, we feel that while certification has its rightful place, we ultimately want to help our clients be more sustainable and profitable in ways that are customized to their business, such as focusing on occupant comfort and air quality in addition to energy use.
For the coming year, we are actively seeking clients with data analysis, measurement and verification needs. Both those who seek recognition and all others who want to make sensible business choices through sustainable decision making and actions. If we have not already reached out to you, please feel free to beat us to the punch and contact us.