With the goal of reducing inaccuracies and inconsistencies in building performance assessments, three building industry associations—ASHRAE, USGBC, and the Chartered Institution of Building Service Engineers (CIBSE)—have created Performance Measurement Protocols for Commercial Buildings, a new publication published by ASHRAE.

The book provides a standardized set of protocols relating to accuracies and costs that can be applied to the assessment of building performance. The protocols address what to measure, how to measure it, and how often it is to be measured for inclusion in a building’s operation and maintenance plan.

“Although many buildings claim to be green or high performance, it’s rare that evidence or data is presented to verify these claims,” says Jeff Haberl, associate director of the Energy Systems Laboratory and a professor of architecture at Texas A&M University. Haberl chaired the committee that wrote the book. “If claims of high performance are to be credible, it is essential that a common set of measurements be used and that the results be reported against meaningful and consistent benchmarks. Reliable and reproducible protocols are also needed to give usable feedback to designers and operators when measured performance does not match design intent and expectations.”
 
He continues: “In an energy conscious world, those who measure and manage the energy use and performance of their buildings will be at an increasing advantage over business as usual energy managers.”

Protocols in the book address six performance categories: energy, water, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting, and acoustics. Within each category, the protocols are further broken down into three levels. The basic level outlines simple, low-cost measures that provide an initial insight into performance on an annual, whole-building level. The intermediate level provides additional data on building performance, typically on a monthly frequency and at a major system level. The advanced level offers a comprehensive analysis at a daily or weekly frequency at the system or equipment level. 
                  
Performance Measurement Protocols for Commercial Buildings is available through ASHRAE at ashrae.org/bookstore. The cost is $89 ($75 for ASHRAE members).