Inspect and verify to follow through on your commitment to green. Make sure that you get the essential details right by checking work on the construction site and verifying performance with proven testing methods. Work with your project team after the project is completed to identify lessons learned and use them to help guide your next projects.
Performance from day one
A green building proves itself with better performance: lower energy bills and maintenance costs, stormwater runoff that is under control, and clean indoor air that helps residents stay healthy. To achieve these green payoffs, make performance the goal from day one and stress strong evaluation practices as essential to the team's success.
- Incorporate performance standards into your architect's, engineer's, and builder's contracts to set expectations and guarantee performance.
- Consider employing a commissioning agent to help designers and contractors (and later, building operators) meet performance goals. (See the Commissioning page for details.)
Test design and construction
Inspection is important, as are checks on specifications, but performance requires continual evaluation and testing.
- Evaluation starts in design with site planning, and especially with energy modeling. Plug all proposed changes, even those proposed during construction, back into the model to see their effect on performance. (See the Measure Up page for details on models).
- Require that the architects and engineers have a frequent presence on the job site to help the builders get the design built right. The owner's representative on the construction site should understand and have a sense of ownership in the green goals of the project and be trained in the techniques used to meet them.
- Conduct blower door and duct blaster tests and use an infrared camera to identify leaks and poorly-installed insulation. Do this during construction or renovation so that mistakes can be fixed.
- Require a certain standard of performance. Energy Star homes, for example, must achieve a score of 85 on a Home Energy Rating examination link here to the tools and reference material.
Putting the pieces in place
Simple monitoring tools like checklists keep your attention on the green details of your project. While not performance-based, they play the important role of tracking objectives. The Green Communities Criteria Checklist (download with criteria here) is an important first step. Alameda County, California offers a great checklist to accompany their extensive green building guidelines for affordable housing. (Get it here.)