U.S. Green Building Council’s Dynamic Plaque Dashboard
This week’s Intern Insight is written by Elizabeth Bigler, a Product Development Intern since Fall 2013 at JBKnowledge, Inc. Elizabeth is from Austin, Texas and is currently a graduate student at Texas A&M University in the Construction Science Department. If she could have any super power, she would like to be able to fly, that way she “doesn’t have to actually climb up those sketchy job-built ladders on a construction site.”
Sustainable building practices have been addressed numerous times throughout the courses that I have taken while pursuing a Construction Management Masters Degree at Texas A&M University. I just recently learned how much work goes into getting a project certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) when I had to write a report on a hypothetical project scenario in which my goal was to get the LEED Gold certification for the project. To get the Gold, which is the second-highest certification threshold, a project needs to earn 60-79 points (Platnum is the highest, with 80+ points needed). Long story short, a lot of work goes into meeting the requirements to get the right amount of points in 9 categories, which range from materials used during construction, to the highest priority of the USGBC in your region of the country (for Houston, the priority is water pollution protection). Ultimately though, the building is awarded based on your projection of how it will perform in the future, rather than actual performance data.
Earlier this week, I read about the Dynamic Plaque and thought it was awesome, especially because I have found myself thinking about the very same problem this addresses with LEED certification.
“One of the persistent criticisms leveled against LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council’s popular green-building certification system, is that it doesn’t track a structure’s energy consumption over time. Buildings are awarded a LEED plaque based on projected performance (among several other factors), not how people actually use a building. And as LEED critics are quick to point out, projections and reality don’t always match up. The Dynamic Plaque, a freestanding digital dashboard built by the U.S. Green Building Council in conjunction with the design firm Ideo, aims to address this problem.”
This new technology would track the building’s performance in five LEED categories (energy, waste, transportation, water and human experience) and project the data to the public as a “visual scoreboard.” This would promote more accountability in the management of the facility.
I would be very interested to see if most LEED certified buildings have been maintained according to the energy efficiency standards under which they were awarded the certification. As of July 2014, “the plaque (was) in 15 buildings and the goal (was) to get them into 1,000 buildings.”
Read more about the Dynamic Plaque here.