A Single Source for High-Performance Building Data
It’s easy to lie with statistics, but it’s hard to tell the truth without them.
– Andrejs Dunkels
Imagine a site you could visit to gather stats, numbers, figures – evidence – to support your design and construction decisions.
In the research for my new book on the use of data in the AEC industry, I was surprised to find that something like this doesn’t already exist.
Quips provides evidence to support a design direction based on empirical data.
Designers especially act volitionally – then rationalize their acts of volition.
- To help make decisions
- To help sell ideas
- To help win over constituents
- And justify decisions to the bottom line.
Factoids that help you design with data.
Designers are seeing the importance of having facts readily available to help them make informed decisions.
Only in this case, it’s referring to web and product design.
Which got me thinking: what if we had a Site for Sharing AEC Statistics?
But this site would be something different.
A place where owners, contractors, architects, engineers, consultants and tradespeople could go to – to find the statistics and data they need to help make decisions, sell ideas, persuade constituents and justify courses of action.
A single source for easy access to High-Performance Building Data.
You would think that something like this already exists, right?
One challenge: Who should host such a site?
They would have to assure the accuracy of the data and keep newly posted stats updated.
Another challenge: Who would be willing to sift through and collect data, and assure its veracity?
These sites are fantastic, but they primarily supply lengthy research papers that have to be read and sifted through for usable evidence.
Designers, contractors and other AEC team members need facts and need them fast.
One more challenge: Some lists or indices of stats may come across as building-related trivia.
Like an AEC version of the eminently and addictively readable Harpers Index.
Here are some examples of data that I have referenced in past weeks.
Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 16 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012. OSHA
Number of construction company employees in the US: 7,316,240 Source
Average construction company employee salary: $45,200 Source
The construction market account for 5.5% of the $14.7 trillion US GDP. Source
LEED projects are responsible for diverting over 80 million tons of waste from landfills, which is expected to grow to 540 million tons of waste diversion by 2030 Source
Buildings represent 73% of US electricity consumption. Source
We spend an average of 90% of our time in buildings-and the air quality inside is two to five times worse than outside air. Source
Worldwide, buildings consume nearly 40% of the world’s energy, 25% of its wood, and 15% of its water. Source
When a young forest is growing, it produces 1.07 tons of oxygen and absorbs 1.47 tons of carbon dioxide for every ton of wood. Source
Buildings use 40% of raw materials globally (3 billion tons annually) Source
Green Benefits for builders:
- Reduced callbacks and warranty claims
- Lower material and labor costs during construction
- Reduced purchase cost of mechanical equipment
- Less construction waste
- Higher quality homes = competitive advantage Source
Green benefits for owners:
- Lower utility bills
- Greater comfort
- Better indoor air quality
- Energy-efficient mortgages
- Higher resale prices Source
Project expectations in four countries in 2015:
- Brazil – 83% of firms planning new green commercial projects
- Singapore – 69% of firms planning green renovation projects
- United Arab Emirates – 73% of firms planning green institutional projects
- United Kingdom – 65% of firms planning green renovation projects Source
Compare the amount of energy it takes to produce one ton of cement, glass, steel, or aluminum to one ton of wood:
- 5 times more energy for one ton of cement
- 14 times more energy for one ton of glass
- 24 times more energy for one ton of steel
- 126 times more energy for one ton of aluminum
Wood products make up 47% of all industrial raw materials manufactured in the United States, yet consume only 4% of the total energy needed to manufacture all industrial raw materials. Source
LEED is referenced in project specifications for 71% of projects valued at $50 million and over Source
Would such a site be of use to you in your work, research or practice?
What would you suggest to improve this idea?
Do you have a favorite AEC industry stat?
Let us know by leaving a comment. Thanks!
Image credits: Top four data images courtesy of Tocci Building Companies