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Proving Your High-Performance Projects Work
Katie Weeks / ECOSTRUCTURE / April 23, 2013
Curious as to whether their high-performance schools were performing as intended, and positively affecting student and faculty health, DLR Group recently completed a study in conjunction with the Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University to collect and analyze data from a cross-section of the firm’s recent green schools. This study—“Linking Performance & Experience: An Analysis of Green Schools”—provided a number of lessons for the firm and builds an argument for wider collection of post-occupancy data by architecture and design firms.
“We’ve come to the conclusion that design doesn’t stop when a building is constructed,” says Jim French, AIA, DLR Group senior principal. “One thing we’ve experienced over the last five years is that our clients are really interested in fact-based design. They want you to prove that the stuff you present in an interview and a design charrette really works.”
The challenge is figuring out what to track and at what scale—and then following through with consistent collection. “In education, there are so many variables that we can’t make broad statements,” says Stephanie Barr, research associate and green school specialist at the Institute for the Built Environment. “This study sets a benchmark for a good way of doing a broad-based analysis of an architecture portfolio. It looks at several different variables and gets the larger story behind a portfolio.”