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The 'Human Experience' Crucial to Environmental Building Solutions: Report

A new report, from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and construction tech firm arbnco, heavily features the importance of the “human experience” with respect to green initiatives. This is in contrast to placing too much emphasis on the bottom line.

echo 1966014 640 smallThe USGBC and arbnco recently hosted a series of roundtable events with energy and building stakeholders, according to a press release. The discussions included representatives from MetLife Investment Management, Mace and Schneider Electric. Their findings, compiled in the 2020 Challenges of the Built Environment report, take a look at the obstacles in the way of effective energy use and potential solutions.

“There are many barriers to overcome to effectively manage energy use and human experience including a lack of data, incentivizing feedback, as well as determining the best way to quantify the human experience," said Brian Van Buskirk, Chief Product Officer at arbnco, in a statement. "There has also been a dramatic increase in the amount of options building managers now have, which makes it difficult to select the right technology for customer needs.”

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According to the company, “human experience data” has been difficult to come by in the building optimization game, with many programs overlooking occupant wellness and feedback.

Arbnco officials did note, though, it is becoming easier to collect this data due to the increase of digitalization services—so long as occupants are “motivated to care about their building health and experience and share their feedback.” In order to spark occupant interest, stakeholders could facilitate involvement in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, as well as arc scoring, and monitoring data.

“With these methods, managers move past regulations and make adjustments to fit their occupants and building needs,” according to the press release. “While regulation and compliance are essential, the ability to monitor trends in real-time allows a more personalized approach to building management.”

As Most Conferences Move Online, Greenbuild International Still on Track for Live Gathering

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the USGBC, announced the organization’s 2020 events will be moved onto virtual platforms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic prohibiting most human interaction. However, he said the Wednesday, Nov. 4 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in San Diego, Calif. is still expected to be hosted in person.

“Despite the great uncertainty of the weeks and months ahead, as an organization, we must keep moving forward and be the embodiment of resiliency,” said Ramanujam. “As a community of builders, we must project and feel a sense of stability and aspiration. And as a community that largely focuses on speaking, we all need to take the time to focus on listening and observing. We must focus on absorbing the present so that when we plan for our healthy future, we remember the past and learn from it.”

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