LHB uses a tool called Performance MetricsTM “to understand the implicit impacts of the buildings we have designed,” noted LHB CEO, Rick Carter. We are currently looking at over 75 of our own buildings constructed between 1996 and the present in order to assess the buildings’ consumption of energy, water, and other resources and compare that data to regional benchmarks. For any building it is possible to calculate an “energy use intensity” or EUI. EUI is like a miles-per-gallon rating for buildings, except in this case, lower numbers are better because they demonstrate lower energy consumption.
Average EUIs have been determined by LHB for 14 different building types. Multi-family housing projects in Minnesota typically have an EUI of 50. Al Loehr Veterans and Community Studio Apartments’ actual EUI is 25. This equates to a cost savings of about $50,000 per year, and the building will pay back the cost of its geothermal heating and cooling system in just eight years, a 12.5% return on investment.
LHB’s Performance MetricsTMinitiative is measuring various factors from a diverse mix of buildings. In addition to energy, LHB will be examining potable water consumption, stormwater runoff, and occupant performance. “This will bring some reality to the benefits of environmentally conscious design,” says LHB Chair of Board, Bill Bennett. “We’re getting real numbers that we can turn into real results. It is time to get past the rhetoric.”
LHB Buildings Perform to the 2030 Challenge
LHB’s Energy Performance Metrics measure actual energy consumption of completed projects. They parallel the 2030 Challenge, developed by Edward Mazria, AIA, an international expert on the relationship between architecture and global warming. The 2030 Challenge calls upon architects and engineers to design buildings today that are 50 percent more energy efficient than average buildings of their type in their region, and to move toward 100 percent efficiency by 2030.
LHB is the first firm in Minnesota to research and determine regional benchmarks for 14 different building types . LHB consulted with state and national experts to ensure solid data and research methodology.