The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) and New Buildings Institute (NBI) have developed a new tool, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, to help jurisdictions tackle energy use in buildings. The Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities is now available on the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide® web portal.
Buildings are responsible for a significant portion — often the largest portion — of energy use or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within city borders. Yet, the cities setting measurable objectives to reduce energy use or GHG emissions are finding policies focused only on new construction are not enough to achieve such goals. They need a coordinated approach that also addresses the existing building stock.
NIBS and NBI convened a team of energy thought leaders to identify strategies cities could implement to address the energy use of buildings in a holistic fashion. Cities require comprehensive, long-term strategies that include policies, programs, administrative resources, tools, and ongoing funding sources. A few jurisdictions have some of these pieces in place. However, up until now, no single resource has described how these pieces relate to each other or how to implement them as a coherent whole. The Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities aims to do that.
The web-based resource offers introduction and guidance tabs. Through a series of levels and drop downs, users can then customize their own path to implement life cycle-based energy policies and print out tracking reports based on their responses. The top level, the organizational basis of the Framework, consists of four overarching categories: Leadership; Data, Analysis, and Applications; Mechanisms; and Ensuring Results. The categories are each broken into components with a brief description of the policy action, and examples and links for more information.
Each component has individual activities, structured as Policies, Actions, Resources and Tools, that the user can select based on the priorities and potential strategies of interest to the jurisdiction.
- Policies require legislative or regulatory action by city leadership (mayor, city council, etc.), or within administrative agencies.
- Actions are steps that generally should be undertaken at an administrative level.
- Resources are either investments or capabilities that support realization of program goals.
- Tools can be developed internally at the city level or at a national level and provide the mechanism to accomplish a specific strategy.
The user can use the drop-down menus associated with each individual element to designate the status of the element, including:
- In Place: currently implemented and functioning.
- In Process: in the process of being implemented.
- In Planning: resources and processes are being identified for implementation in the near term.
- In Projections: to be implemented at some point in the future.
To access the Life-Cycle Energy Performance Framework for Cities tool, users must have an account on the WBDG (free registration required), which will allow them to customize their Framework, add notes on their timeline, list items to track, generate reports, and update content as their jurisdictions make progress.