NIBS report highlights four areas in need of improvement

Natl Inst of Building ScienceA new report by the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council highlights four areas where the industry and the nation need to focus their efforts in order to improve buildings and infrastructure. A summary of the report, “Moving Forward: Findings and Recommendations from the Consultative Council,” appears in the Institute’s 2011 Annual Report to the President of the United States. This year’s priorities include: Defining High-Performance and Common Metrics; Codes and Standards Adoption and Enforcement; Energy and Water Efficiency; and Sustainability.

While the building community faced numerous challenges tied to the economy and employment in 2011, representatives of leading organizations came together to identify a path forward. The resulting report developed by the Consultative Council recommends that:

  • The building community should work to define metrics for achieving high-performance buildings—including both qualitative and quantitative measures.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Institute and others should encourage cities and smaller communities to adopt and enforce updated model codes.
  • Regulators and the building industry should support efforts by codes and standards developers and adopting jurisdictions to format criteria in ways that simplifies and enhances the ability to verify compliance.
  • Software developers, regulators and building professionals should support the development of building information modeling (BIM ) for use as an automated code-checking tool that can improve compliance and streamline the approval process.
  • The U.S. Government should develop incentives for state and local governments to require water metering of all buildings and to adopt and enforce comprehensive “green” building or plumbing codes.
  • The U.S. Government should provide a tax incentive for building owners who voluntarily get their buildings audited and that implement the recommendations to reduce energy and water use.
  • Policy makers and members of the building community are encouraged to use a common definition for sustainability.
  • The building community needs mechanisms (e.g., budgets, insurance and tax incentives) to help finance sustainable life-cycle performance for buildings and related infrastructure.

Consultative Council members that contributed to the 2011 report include: ASTM International; American Institute of Architects; American Society of Civil Engineers; ASHRAE; Associated General Contractors of America; Building Owners and Managers Association, International; Construction Specifications Institute; ESCO Group; Extruded Polystyrene Foam Association; Glass Association of North America; Green Mechanical Council; HOK; Illuminating Engineering Society; International Association of Lighting Designers; International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials; International Code Council; Laborers’ International Union of North America; National Insulation Association; NORC at the University of Chicago, and United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry.

Download the Institute’s Annual Report to the President of the United States, which includes a summary of the Consultative Council report. Download the full Consultative Council report.

AIA and NIBS to jointly promote building research

NIBS/AIAThe American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding underscoring the two organizations’ mutual interest in the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance buildings and the desire to collaborate on issues surrounding these topics.

One of the first projects the two organizations will work on collaboratively is the joint development of an on-line portal for building industry research and knowledge. Intended to be accessible to the public, this initiative will include the participation and contribution of a variety of building science and performance disciplines. NIBS and AIA anticipate this partnership will culminate in providing a centralized location for the knowledge and research efforts underway that are relevant to the building industry.

Later this year, NIBS and AIA will also collaborate on an industry summit bringing together leaders in the fields of architecture, construction and engineering. The summit will focus on elevating awareness and understanding of how design adds value to the building process, whether it’s expressed through increased property value or the health, safety and welfare of the building’s users.

Additionally, AIA and NIBS are working together on High Performance Buildings: Combining Field Experience with Innovation, the third Building Enclosure Science & Technology (BEST) Conference, April 2-4, 2012, in Atlanta. The Conference is part of the Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council’s (BETEC) mission to explore the advancement of energy efficiency of buildings as well as the durability of buildings as affected by moisture and the indoor environment. The AIA and NIBS have been partners in the Building Enclosure Councils since 2004.