Environmental Awareness Week kicks off Monday and our firm is excited to hear from this year’s strong and diverse line-up of speakers. Cliff Majersik, Executive Director for the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), will kick things off Monday. Majersik directs IMT’s research on building performance policy, energy codes, energy efficiency finance and green leasing. He offers expert assistance to government officials in developing energy and building policy, including laws recently enacted in several cities and states. He was instrumental in crafting Washington, DC’s Clean and Affordable Energy Act of 2008 and its Green Building Act of 2006. Majersik is a member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s State & Local Energy Efficiency Action Network and Commercial Buildings Consortium and serves on Washington, DC’s Green Building Advisory Council.
Majersik was kind enough to answer the below questions about energy policy and his EAW presentation.
CD: You have a strong record of helping develop and guide energy policy – what achievement are you most proud of and why?
CM: I’m most proud of our work to advance transparency in building energy efficiency. We assisted in crafting Energy Star benchmarking laws now in place in DC, NYC, Philadelphia, Austin and other cities. We’re now providing technical assistance to those cities as they implement their laws and to additional cities as they consider passing their own laws.
These laws give markets the information they need to properly value energy efficiency, rewarding owners and designers of high performance buildings and retrofits. They create a feedback loop to enable designers to know how well buildings perform in operations, to work with building operators toward the common goal of high performance buildings and to continuously learn from each project – insights that can be applied to the next project.
CD: Your presentation during Environmental Awareness Week focuses on a movement toward building energy transparency – do you think there are additional measures the profession can and should take toward transparency?
CM: Absolutely. I’m a big fan of the AIA 2030 commitment and the way that AIA is transparently reporting on progress against goals. I’d like to see more firms participate in the commitment, use energy modeling iteratively as a tool to improve the efficiency of their building designs and encourage their clients to choose to voluntarily calculate and post publicly their Energy Star Target Finder ratings. This should continue after buildings are in operation as clients can post their scores publicly. As respected building experts, architects and AIA chapters can also be powerful spokespeople in favor of new cities adopting benchmarking-and-disclosure laws.
CD: What role should energy modeling play in the design process for architects and engineers?
CM: Energy modeling is critical to designing energy efficient high-performance buildings. It’s not enough to design a building and throw the design over the fence to the engineers and leave it to them to model the building at the end of the process. Engineers and energy modelers should be involved from the very beginning of an integrated design process. Because decisions like orientation and massing are critically important to the efficiency of designs, modeling should be used iteratively from very early in conceptual design to test and improve design ideas.
CD: What U.S. cities are leading the way in regard to tracking building performance and what efforts are they undertaking?
CM: NYC, Washington DC, San Francisco and Philadelphia have laws requiring owners to Energy Star benchmark their buildings and publicly disclose the scores. Austin, Seattle, Washington State and California have benchmarking laws requiring disclosure at the time of purchase, leasing or finance of buildings. Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan and other states, cities and counties around the country benchmark their government buildings and post the scores. The federal government is following suit.
Massachusetts has a building energy asset rating pilot. These laws are new. Many governments have posted the scores of their government buildings. NYC is the first city to publicly post scores for privately owned buildings. DC is unique so far in requiring that new private buildings over 50,000 sf must energy model, calculate an Energy Star Target Finder score and post it publicly; after the building enters operations it must Energy Star benchmark and post the new score alongside the Target Finder score.
CD: What do you think is the most pressing issue our world currently faces regarding sustainability?
CM: Averting catastrophic climate change.
Susan Welker, AIA - 18 May 2013
Exactly! I did research during my Masters in Architecture about how more w...
Yen Cao - 15 May 2013
Way to go Brian! Congrats.
Air Monitoring - 15 May 2013
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Don Wesley - 14 May 2013
Sara: What an honor, and so well deserved! You have always been a very sp...
Bob Farwell - 13 May 2013
Sara: Congratulations! I have always been impressed by your talents,work e...