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Measuring Energy Efficiencies in Buildings


for Members

Measuring Energy Efficiencies in Buildings

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By


For the past several years, the Green Buildings discussion group at the New York Academy of Sciences has been developing programs focusing on a diverse array of topics including Zero Energy Buildings, building metrics, post occupancy evaluations, and government policy. Monitoring and measuring energy usage has always been a topic of discussion and over time the complexities of clear communication have become a more troublesome issue.

Therefore, we thought to bring together a diverse group of experts from both the architecture/engineering and the communications/graphic design communities to discuss the topic of communicating energy both within the profession and to the larger public. Tonight's discussion will continue this ongoing conversation around the opportunities and challenges of communicating energy-related issues, changing behavior ;and monitoring and measuring efficiency gains.

Our goal is to build consensus around the best strategies to employ when talking about energy usage in buildings in order to continually educate people about the challenges and opportunities that exist to improve them.


Buildings Are People, Too
David Hsu, University of Pennsylvania

Motivating Behavior Change though Creative Communication of Energy Use
Victoria Anstead, Tactical Aesthetics

Bridging the Performance Gap between Design Intent and Reality
Hywel Davies, Chartered Institution of Building Engineers

Panel Discussion

Networking Reception


Presented by

Silver Sponsors

For a complete list of sponsors, please visit the Sponsor tab.



Chris Garvin

Terrapin Bright Green

Chris Garvin is an accomplished practitioner and active voice in the sustainable design community. His interests include high-performance design at both the building and community scale; zero energy communities, biomimicry, and water conservation. Chris serves as a project lead for many of Terrapin Bright Green’s consulting engagements while also managing projects for Cook + Fox Architects where he is a Senior Associate. Complementing his work at Terrapin, Chris lectures on sustainable design and has taught at the Pratt Institute’s Center for Professional Practice since 2002. He also advises several organizations on sustainability issues, including the National Building Museum. Chris is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences’ Green Building steering committee and serves on the Board of Directors for the US Green Building Council - New York Chapter and on the Advisory Board for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Long-term planning and sustainability.


David Hsu

University of Pennsylvania

DAVID HSU is an Assistant Professor in the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. He studies how environmental policy is implemented in cities through systems of infrastructure, buildings, institutions, behavior, and finance. Topics of particular interest include energy and water, green buildings and building codes, consumer behavior, and how these are all affected by increasing digital information. Prior to academia, Professor Hsu worked in city government in Seattle and New York; as a financial analyst; and as a structural engineer and environmental designer. He holds received his doctorate from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Victoria Anstead

Tactical Aesthetics

Victoria Anstead is the founder and managing principal of TACTICAL AESTHETICS, a creative consultancy that works to reframe the way people think and act in “green” buildings. Through cross-disciplinary collaborations incorporating the arts, technology and decision science, the company produces projects that may include data visualization, interactive gaming and social media. TACTICAL AESTHETICS evolved from Anstead’s twenty years as a curator and advisor in the contemporary art world, giving her a perspective that fuses engagement in the creative process with a deep understanding of its potent and myriad manifestations. Anstead began her career in international management consulting and banking and holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Hywel Davies

Chartered Institution of Building Engineers

Dr Hywel Davies is Technical Director of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, the learned society for heating and ventilation, lighting, public health, and other branches of engineering relating to energy using systems in buildings. He has been engaged in the development of the UK energy labelling systems since 2004, and has also been an advisor to ASHRAE on their bEQ program in the US. His early career was spent at the UK equivalent of NIST, the Building Research Establishment, and for the last 10 years he has worked as a consultant and, since 2007, as Technical Director of the CIBSE.


For sponsorship opportunities please contact Michel Wahome at or 212.298.8628.

Presented by

Silver Sponsors

Promotional Partners

Environmental Advocates of New York

Green Edge Collaborative

Green Spaces

HPAC Engineering

The Sallan Foundation



Buildings Are People, Too

David Hsu, University of Pennsylvania

This talk explores how empirical approaches drawn from the social and natural sciences can inform the design of environmental policies, in order to achieve more realistic and sustainable energy efficiency savings from buildings and the people that live in them. By analyzing the increasing amounts of data about energy consumption in various settings, we should be able to better: (1) understand the relative effectiveness of particular conservation policies; (2) identify clusters of buildings that share similar behavior and conservation potential; and (3) target particular individual buildings and consumers with appropriate and effective policies. As a motivating example, this talk will consider how mandated disclosure for energy and water consumption in New York City commercial buildings might lead to increased energy savings.

Motivating Behavior Change though Creative Communication of Energy Use

Victoria Anstead, Tactical Aesthetics

As it is the people who use and operate a building everyday that are the greatest influence on its performance, communicating with them effectively and compellingly is critical.

Significant strides are being made in the ability to gather accurate building performance data. At the same time, efforts to bring this information to the public are increasing though benchmarking, building labeling and programs such as ASRAE EQ and USGBC’s Building Performance Partnership.

But information is of little use unless it is presented in a form the intended audience can readily understand and put to use. For whom is the information intended? What is the desired action or change in behavior?

Social science research provides keys to how to make data memorable, have impact and provoke behavior change. Considering the brain’s two different processing systems, the experiential and the analytical, we describe how information needs to be presented to both for maximum impact. Included are examples from data visualization, social media and interactive gaming that make behavior change easier through incentives, group participation and the use of competition as motivator.

Closing the Performance Gap, the Difference between Design Intent and Reality.

Hywel Davies, Chartered Institution of Building Engineers

Many buildings are designed to be “low energy” buildings. But when they are completed, handed over, and operating they often use far more energy than the designers ever intended. Why does this performance gap occur? And what can be done to measure it, and reduce it? And can we use the same measurement technique to measure and manage energy use in our existing buildings.

Driven by the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), European countries have introduced energy labelling systems for buildings. In the UK the labels are based on design energy use, or the “Asset Rating”, for new and existing buildings being sold or let. For displaying the energy performance of occupied public buildings an “Operational Rating” based on real measured energy consumption data is used.

What can Operational Ratings tell us about these buildings, and how can they be used to make energy use transparent and actionable? Do Display Energy Certificates make a difference in practice?

Hywel Davies will describe the Operational Ratings system used in the UK, and describe case studies of buildings where the performance gap between design intent and reality have been measured, as well as examples of successful Display Energy Certificates in buildings in the UK.

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