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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding the performance gap : an evaluation of the energy efficiency of three high-performance buildings in British Columbia Chu, Anne-Mareike


The market shift towards high-performance buildings has been brought into question by growing concerns about the actual energy efficiency of these projects. Research studies have been pointing increasingly to performance gaps between the predicted (or modelled) and actual (or measured) energy consumption of certified ‘green’ buildings. Discussions about reasons for performance gaps have been recurring in the building industry and research alike. This thesis investigates the energy performance gap of three high-performance LEED-certified buildings in British Columbia: the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS), the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Technology and Renewable Energy Conversation (JPCE) and the District Education Centre (DEC). For each case study, an energy performance evaluation reveals differences between modelled and measured energy consumption. Based on an extensive literature review, the reasons for identified performance gaps are explored through expert interviews with key stakeholders that were involved in the design, construction or operation of each of these projects. The energy performance evaluation reveals significant performance gaps in all three case studies, with one project out-performing and two under-performing the design predictions. The research highlights a lack of consistent metered-energy data at the system level. Based on these findings this study attempts to evaluate key sources of performance issues, in the context of the three case-study buildings. It shows that performance-gap reasons indicated in the literature occurred at all phases of the building lifecycle: starting at the planning/design and modelling phase, through the construction, commissioning and handover phases, to the building operation and occupancy phase. The results suggest that performance gaps are closely related to shortcomings in energy design concepts, development procedures, and operational practices that were applied in the three buildings. The research emphasizes the importance of creating a greater transparency of development procedures and collaborative approaches to successfully design, build and operate high-performance buildings. The challenges faced by project teams to integrate innovative technologies calls for robust design solutions and methodologies that can be easily translated into implementation strategies and operation procedures that meet building management capacities.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International