2014 Performance Based Design Trends

2014 promises significant changes in the architecture industry. As the economy recovers, the pace of change around Performance Based Design continues to accelerate. In this blog we explore six key trends that will drive building performance throughout the industry, and what architects can do to prepare.



1. Green building will grow to exceed 50% of total construction.

The market for green building has been growing consistently since 2005, both in total value and as a percentage of total construction. McGraw Hill Construction estimates that the US non-residential green market will grow to $132 billion by 2016, representing 55% of the total non-residential market.

2. Building energy codes will become more common and more stringent.

We’ve already seen that building energy codes are getting both more common and more aggressive worldwide and we expect this trend to continue at an even faster rate during 2014. In the US, more states and municipalities will adopt codes, and many will move to the far tougher 2010 and 2013 versions of ASHRAE Standard 90.1 (or equivalent).

 3. Building energy codes focus more on performance targets.

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen codes becoming more performance based. California’s Title 24 is moving toward its Net Zero Energy requirement, which takes effect in 2020. Part L is enforcing similar goals in the UK. In 2013, the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) adopted a new performance-based compliance pathway that is already popular in many states. These moves are raising awareness of performance based codes among policy makers. Expect performance based pathways to expand, both because they’re more flexible and more results-driven than prescriptive compliance.

4. Energy benchmarking will take off.

Two US states and nine major cities have enacted laws requiring energy benchmarking and performance disclosure for large buildings. Several others require benchmarking for public buildings. Expect this trend to intensify in 2014. Energy benchmarking will put pressure on building owners to improve performance, and will put pressure on architects to deliver better buildings.

5. Real Time Analysis drives new practice models.

Sefaira announced its first Real Time Analysis capability in October of last year. This year the capabilities will expand to new users and new platforms. Integrated practice has long emphasized the importance of early-stage energy analysis. These ideas got a boost in 2013: LEED v4 specifically incentivizes early-stage analysis, and in the UK, RIBA’s 2013 Plan of Work includes similar guidance. Real Time Analysis finally provides the capabilities that allows early, frequent analysis.

6. Thought leaders move toward Net Positive Energy.

Net Zero Energy is becoming mainstream: it is codified in Title 24 in California and Part L in the UK. The Living Building Institute recently launched its Net Zero Energy building certification. For thought leaders and aspirational firms, Net Positive Energy will become the new design goal. According to construction firm Hammer & Hand, the Net Positive approach will be accelerated by dropping PV prices, increase in electric vehicles as a consumer of surplus production, and marked-based incentives for on-site energy production and efficiency (such as Feed in Tariffs, Carbon Offsets, and Metered Energy Efficiency Transactions).

How Architects can Prepare

As the industry moves toward performance based design, architects and firms will need to adapt with new capabilities, skills and processes. Watch our webinar from Wednesday, January 22 for a further exploration of these trends, and a discussion of three things that architects can do to position themselves for success.

Watch the Webinar to learn more