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Blog: The Hidden Cost of Lax Building Code Enforcement, Part 2 of 2

Posted on November 3rd, 2017 by Mark Silverberg on

Blog: The Hidden Cost of Lax Building Code Enforcement, Part 2 of 2

Last month, we looked into how measuring building energy use contributes to increases in building energy efficiency and how strengthening code enforcement could secure the realization of these potential gains. This month, we’ll look deeper into some of the problems that value engineering causes in building performance, and ideas on how to fix this system.

The Consequences of Value Engineering

Let’s say a building is using the performance path of code compliance. Energy modeling provides a baseline for the energy efficiency and code compliance of the design. To be clear, since modeling is not a precise science and is based on many assumptions and variables, its purpose is to show relative comparisons in design and performance elements. Energy modeling doesn’t necessarily give you exact correlation to actual building energy use. Because there is no real feedback loop for modeling to adjust and calibrate, current building modeling is not yet accurate.

The building in this example now has finalized design drawings and goes out for bid. Trade-offs are made in value engineering between cost and performance. High-performance, energy-efficient aspects of the building design, often involving compromises in the building envelope, are dropped from the construction phase drawings to reduce total cost of the project. Is a new energy model done with the new features and substitutions?


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