Impacts of buildings, Green / high-performance building design, Innovation for complex problems
Green buildings are a proposed holistic solution to reduce energy consumption while simultaneously improving an array of factors affecting the indoor quality of life for building occupants. However, green building performance varies and may not achieve intended design goals. Research has concluded that no single factor determines the actual energy performance of buildings. To deliver energy-efficient buildings an integrated design that considers climate, technology, operation and maintenance and occupant behavior should be implemented. This work aimed to employ a holistic lens to relate human-building interaction and building performance characteristics. Specifically, systems theory and complex-problem solving techniques were employed to capture the dynamic interactions between the social and technical parts and processes of building systems and identify gaps causing the underperformance of buildings. Synergies not captured in the current design process but impact the ability of a building system to achieve its design goals were outlined. Performance metrics that a single system inadvertently affects along social, physical and economic dimensions were identified as well as high-impact opportunity areas for the creation of high-performance buildings. Addressing these synergies in the building equipment and full building design will enable stakeholder-centered systems integration, improving the efficiency and efficacy of buildings.