Did you know commercial buildings consume 47.6% of all energy used in the United States annually? According to Architecture 2030, these buildings are one of the biggest (if not the biggest) contributors to carbon emissions and global warming. And the outlook will only get worse. However, the advent of high performance, net-zero energy buildings is a reality that can help the cause. A net-zero building is a structure that generates enough renewable energy on-site to equal or exceed its annual energy use. One of the most important foundations of a high-performance building is the creation of indoor settings that provide ultimate comfort for the building users. Consulting-Specifying Engineer reports:

Design for occupant comfort begins with holistic thinking about four key aspects: visual, thermal, air quality, and acoustical comfort. Balancing these elements within a net-zero energy environment can produce true high-performance design. The engineering team has learned that focusing purely on reducing energy consumption during design will not guarantee high performance. A focused reduction of energy consumption must go hand-in-hand with designing spaces to optimize occupant comfort.

Just as important as planning and executing construction of these high-performance spaces is the ongoing tracking and measurement of them. Evaluating return on investment confirms the structures’ life-cycle costs (or savings) that are calculated over time.

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