A sustainable building is only as successful as the culture of its occupants. Generally, culture refers to a place rooted in a set of values, beliefs, and habits shared by a group. It’s also about relationships formed around a valued mission. While performance measures matter, a sense of making a difference is at the core of participation. Across the board, metrics have to be framed that resonate with a specific time and place, and most importantly, a culture.
By meeting prescriptive design criteria, the marketplace expects buildings to perform better, be healthier, and create less waste. All too often, buildings fail to live up to their sustainable expectations. Extensive research on this trend has identified the reasoning behind this shortfall, which is due to modeling and simulation that cannot accurately predict the behavior of people within buildings. This was a primary concern for participating architects, since the LBC does not measure prescriptive design intent, but rather real performance. So, if people don’t behave and operate the building in an efficient manner, certification cannot be realized. A building can be designed to meet all sustainability requirements, but if inhabitants do not shift their mindsets, technology can only carry sustainability efforts so far. When occupants recognize the importance of these goals, and appreciate the critical role they play, they take pride in making the process work. Through the combination of technological and human elements, net-positive energy becomes an achievable goal.
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