BACKGROUND AND PROJECT SCOPE

Post-Occupancy Evaluations (POE) are becoming an increasingly important means of ensuring that buildings are meeting their goals in terms of energy and water conservation, occupant comfort, and operational efficiency. However, while POE are gaining purchase among design and construction industries worldwide, they are often overly academic, complicated and expensive, limiting their uptake considerably. They are also often designed primarily for the evaluation of commercial and institutional buildings, with limited applicability to the unique needs of residential buildings. To fill this gap, OGBS’s goal is to develop a simple, inexpensive, yet comprehensive open-source POE template that can be used by designers, owners and managers of Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURB).

Phase 1 (COMPLETE)

With funding from the BC Homeowner Protection Office, the OGBS is leading a project to develop a preliminary template for the post-occupancy evaluation of MURB in BC. The project has completed a review of existing literature and POE tools, and has consulted with industry experts to identify specific needs and gaps in current building performance assessment. Based on this review, a POE template was developed and applied to several buildings in BC’s Lower Mainland to test its efficacy and ease of implementation. The template was subsequently refined to ensure its fullest applicability and utility to both homeowners and to the design and construction industry. The final components of the template include a set of complete instructions for:

  • A kick-off meeting and basic information gathering;
  • An energy and water benchmarking exercise;
  • A building/property manager survey;
  • A building occupant survey; and
  • Optional building occupant interviews

Together, these steps provide with a comprehensive but inexpensive means of evaluating strengths and weaknesses in building operations, and identifying important next steps in improving building performance.

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Phase 2

With the first phase of the project complete, our POE tool now offers a complete guide for property managers, owners, developers or any other users with comparatively little experience or in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of increasingly green buildings to conduct their own POE. However, for the tool to be useful and usable across the industry, a crucial next step is the development of a means of compiling and analyzing building performance data.

The objective of this second phase of this project is therefore to work with a web-based application developer to create an online platform to allow for easy data entry and basic data analytics for the user to improve both the user-friendliness of the POE process and the usefulness of the results. Necessary characteristics of such a platform include:

  • Streamlined, engaging and user-friendly design in both website and app form;
  • Data entry, aggregation and basic analytic capabilities;
  • Open access to and download of data for inquiry and research; and
  • Links to additional sources of assistance, resources, and building upgrade incentives and rebates;

By ensuring that data entered is both open source and anonymous, the privacy of individual building owners will be protected, while allowing members of the building design community to verify the performance of different building components or systems. Over time, the collection of data from multiple buildings into a single online database will also help both academic researchers and policymakers to identify and understand trends in building performance in the residential building sector.