-- Recent developments in technology strive to induce an energy efficient mindset to the occupants of sustainable buildings.

Since early 2010, there has been alot of discussion about
net zero energy buildings on the Sustainable Construction Blog.  It is evident that sustainable construction technologies have greatly advanced over the past few years; making net zero energy a viable goal for new construction projects. 

However, one very important aspect is often not emphasized enough when discussing the criteria necessary to acheive superior energy efficiency goals.  This aspect is the occupants' ability to operate under the energy loads established in the design phase of the project. 

Simply put, if day-to-day energy loads continue to exceed the allotted "energy budget" the building cannot be considered net zero energy.  This is a major concern of facility manager's whose job is to ensure the building is operating efficiently.  This is difficult to do when energy demand is strongly dictated by the building occupants. So what are the facility managers to do?

In a recent article written by Ashley Halligan, she outlined five strategies to help boost occupant compliance in "green" buildings to help meet environmental performance goals. She interviewed experts involved in sustainability efforts and
facility management software gurus that have created dashboards that measure and report live consumption--and with that data, created a guide for both design teams and building managers to better their performance. These ideas include: engaging occupants during the design phase through educational meetings, taking a holistic approach to sustainability campaigns, integrating software solutions that measure consumption, creating competition among occupants and creating a transparent, easy-to-understand campaign that's clear and concise.

Because this area is still so new and occupants do, in fact, account for up to 50 percent of energy consumption in a building, it's important to implement a strategy early on to optimize performance. Not only does meeting environmental performance goals provide cost-savings over a period of time, but it also demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility, which is a credible trait in corporate social responsibility.