High Performance Commercial Buildings A Technology Roadmap
This document, High Performance Commercial Buildings A Technology Roadmap, describes the vision and strategies for addressing the challenges that face the buildings industry, in particular how to better protect the environment through our approach to commercial buildings.
Collaborative research, development, and deployment of new technologies, coupled with an integrated ‘whole-buildings’ approach, can shape future generations of commercial environments that are highly resource-efficient and that enhance human creativity, productivity, and quality of life.
The ‘whole-buildings’ approach
Today’s commercial buildings employ complex and diverse technologies in their construction, operation, and maintenance. Building materials, components, and subsystems traditionally have been designed and implemented based on standardized criteria that are largely independent of one another. For example, water-heating loads are considered to be solely a function of building use and are calculated independently of a building’s plumbing design. Potential interactions between the two functions — for example, heat recovery from outgoing wastewater for pre-heating the incoming supply — are usually ignored.
Through a whole-buildings approach — sometimes referred to as ‘systems engineering’ — all of the building components and subsystems are considered together, along with their potential interactions and impact on occupants, to achieve synergies.
The fundamental goal is to optimize the building’s performance — in terms of comfort, functionality, energy efficiency, resource efficiency, economic return, and lifecycle value. The whole-buildings approach crosses disciplines — requiring the integration of planning, siting, design, equipment and material selection, financing, construction, commissioning, and long-term operation and maintenance.
Implementing a whole-buildings approach has been shown to enhance air quality, lighting, and other key aspects of the building indoor environment. The natural environment benefits as well — through energy and waste reduction and more effective land use.
- US Department of Energy (DOE)