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EPA Region 8 Building Fares Well under Performance-Based Contract

By Candace Pearson

 

A performance-based building contract for the Wynkoop building in Denver is being credited with bringing about even better energy performance than originally requested by the building’s tenant—the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In the build-to-suit contract for its Region 8 Headquarters, EPA set leasing terms that required a minimum of LEED Silver and an Energy Star score of 86 within 14 months of 95% occupancy—or the owner would face reduced rent until becoming compliant; the private developer surpassed contract requirements by achieving LEED Gold and an Energy Star score of 96.

The Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings at the U.S General Services Administration (GSA) is using the building as one of its demonstration projects. Continued assessment of the building’s performance by academic organizations and the Department of Energy found the building ranked in the 57th percentile of occupant satisfaction based on a database maintained by the Center for the Built Environment, and operating costs were lower than industry baselines in every area except waste and recycling.

A GSA report on the project says the performance-based framework “encouraged the team to share and respond to new information and design issues in real time,” reducing the need for “lengthy change orders.” Post-occupancy evaluations did reveal areas of under-performance, including the use of 1.65 million more gallons of water than had been projected. Performance monitoring helped identify a malfunctioning water valve and improper use of dual-flush toilets as two sources of the problem. Improved occupant engagement along with continued monitoring and adjustment of building operations are expected to translate to better performance.

 Source: Environmental Building News. Candace Pearson. Sept 3, 2013.

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