Realizing High-Performance Buildings

Jennifer Scheib

Research output: NRELBrochure


High-performance buildings (HPBs) are exceptional examples of both design and practice. Their energy footprints are small, and these are buildings that people want to work in because of their intelligent structure, operations, and coincident comfort. However, the operation of most buildings, even ones that are properly constructed and commissioned at the start, can deviate significantly from the original design intent over time, particularly due to control system overrides and growing plug and data center loads. With early planning for systems such as submetering and occupant engagement tools, operators can identify and remedy the problems. This guide is a primer for owners and owners' representatives who are pursuing HPBs. It describes processes that have been successful in the planning, procurement, and operation of HPBs with exceptional energy efficiency. Much of the guidance offered results from a series of semi-structured conference calls with a technical advisory group of 15 owners and operators of prominent HPBs in the United States. The guide provides a prescription for planning, achieving, and maintaining an HPB. Although the guide focuses on the operations stage of buildings, many of the operations practices are specified during the planning stage.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2015

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/BR-5500-62530


  • data centers
  • energy information systems
  • energy targets
  • high-performance building operations
  • net-zero energy operations
  • occupant engagement
  • plug and process loads (PPL)


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