How Performance-Based Design Can Help You Win More Business

Rendering of Colorado State University Pueblo General Classroom Building by SLATERPAULL | Hord Coplan Macht

In this article, Ara Massey illustrates how SLATERPAULL| Hord Coplan Macht  uses performance-based design as a competitive differentiator in bid scenarios.

1. Setting goals and investigating specific client concerns

SLATERPAULL| Hord Coplan Macht was asked to submit a proposal for a church project near Denver, Colorado. The design team demonstrated the impact of design choices against project energy goals in real time and the subsequent operational costs.

Table 1 - impact of design strategies on energy use and cost for a church building.

Using Sefaira’s Daylight Visualisation tool, SLATERPAULL| Hord Coplan Macht was able to have an in-depth conversation with the client about the impact of their design on daylight and glare within the sanctuary, which was a primary concern.

Sefaira's SketchUp Plugin shows the extent of glare in this church building


2. Demonstrating performance-based design in a public sector bid

In this state-funded school project, SLATERPAULL| Hord Coplan Macht was required to show how design iterations track towards performance goals. The team carried out massing comparison tests, narrowing down to the two better performing options.

Comparing energy performance of design options

Next, they then investigated various mechanical systems to find out which system offered the best percentage savings over their baseline design.


To address the site’s cold climate, the team carried out tests to optimise the building’s glazing ratio to balance daylight and heating loads.

Glazing ratio optimization tests and resulting impacts

All of these tests are then presented to the client in energy and operating cost terms.

Impact of design strategies on energy use and cost for a university building

SLATERPAULL|Hord|Coplan|Macht is a design practice that aims to provide the highest quality architectural, landscape architectural and planning services through a collaborative and interactive process with clients and partners.