What really makes a high-performance, energy-efficient building?
"Sustainable design is about developing buildings and urban spaces that are tuned to their context. . . . Any building that carries claims to be recognized as 'great architecture' should also qualify as a high-performance building."
-From High-Performance Building
How do we judge the success of a sustainable building? We shouldn't just reward good intentions based on the building design, argues Vidar Lerum in High- Performance Building; we must look at the evidence of the actual performance of architectural objects "as built."
High-Performance Building gives architects a practical guide to excellent, sustainable design, showing how to analyze and evaluate the buildings "as built." Taking a hands-on view of sustainability, the author provides designers with specific benchmarks for high performance and energy efficiency. Utilizing the latest methods for analysis of climate responsive design, he asks:
Where does a building that claims to be "green" or "sustainable" check in on a scale relative to benchmark buildings of the same type?
How does the building contribute to a sustainable development in its demand for energy and natural materials?
Does the building provide a high level of thermal comfort to its users?
To illustrate, Lerum takes the reader on an on-site tour of seven buildings around the world that exemplify these standards. Ranging from the west coast of Greenland to the Sonoran Desert, the buildings are examined as physical, built objects. For additional perspectives, the author interviews the architects and speaks with engineers, owners, and users. At the sites, something unexpected often shows up. The author's work reveals unknown or hidden features, characteristics, or details.
By understanding what works and what does not in notable buildings around the world, High-Performance Building enables architects to discover the challenges and opportunities in their own designs, whether simple residences or large commercial structures.
Vidar Lerum, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been involved in the practice of architecture for more than thirty years. Dr. Lerum's architectural practice centers on low-energy designs and thermal comfort systems. Vidar Lerum is an International Associate member of the AIA, and member of the Society of Building Science Educators, the American Solar Energy Society, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.