By: April Wackerman, Project Manager
GSA Award: Developing a Knowledge Network for the Federal Government and the Private Sector within the Office of Federal High Performance Green Buildings, Office of Governmentwide Policy, US General Services Administration.
The General Services Administration (GSA) has selected IBE as research experts for a collaborative effort to further develop their Knowledge Network. IBE will identify and summarize published, peer-reviewed, field-tested original research related to high performance building technologies and practices for operations, building, energy, portfolio, and asset management in both the Federal and private sectors. The data identified in the reports and articles will be used as raw content to put into practice through the Knowledge Network. GSA has designed several steps in the development of this tool and IBE will support a portion of the overall effort.
The General Services Administration’s objective of this effort is to facilitate adoption of proven High Performance Green Building technologies & strategies in the field. The goal is to inform and educate the identified audiences with high performance technologies and best practices that is specific to each of their missions while driving an overall cohesive effort to achieve optimal building, portfolio and asset efficiency. Target audiences include facility, energy & project managers, as well as procurement and budget personnel. The Knowledge Network applies a “energy research into practice” communication strategy to establish a multi-channel education and communication platform. This platform will be used on an ongoing basis to disseminate best practices, guidelines, standards, decision tools and educational content focused around sustainable and cost-effective operation of facilities to targeted audiences within GSA, the Federal sector and private industry.
IBE has partnered with DLR Group to research the cost effectiveness, performance, and human impact of green schools designs. DLR Group is a design firm that provides architectural, engineering, planning, and interior design expertise to clients in the United States and abroad. Their focus is in corporate (mixed-use, hospitality, and workplace), higher education, K-12 education, justice (courts, civic spaces, and detention), and sports design. IBE staff will analyze a variety of schools in different climates to gain a better understanding of how the schools are performing and the impact they have on the occupants. The analysis of these 14 schools will seek to answer the question: Are DLR Group green schools cost-effective, high-performing, and positively impacting students?
Studying the costs and benefits of green schools is exciting as it will help better justify the use of green building practices in future school construction. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected in order to determine if correlations exist between the attributes of green school and absenteeism, performance, and costs. Identifying these correlations is crucial to the advancement of green school buildings. Decision makers and community members in school districts across the county need studies like this to inform their decisions concerning future school construction. It is the hope of DLR Group and IBE that this research will offer insight and direction in order to further the advancement of efficient and healthy learning environments. (Photo: Marysville (Wash.) Getchell Campus credit of DLR Group)
Recently, the Institute for the Built Environment kicked off a “High Performing Schools” project with the Laramie County School District, based in Cheyenne, WY. The green schools project will bring together teachers, students, administrators and community members to collectively envision how all schools in the district can be more energy efficient, employ renewable energy strategies, increase water efficiency, reduce waste, and create healthier school environments.
IBE will be involved in teaching district teachers how to use their school building and grounds to teach about sustainability, work with students to understand the potential of clean energy and other emerging fields of study, and help school facilities staff to discover ways to increase efficiencies in their new and existing schools.