BBC Multifamily Partner Newsletter
Better Buildings Summit 2016: Recap #2

This week, we continue our series on 2016 Summit presentations by focusing on the Human Factors: Resident Behavior and Facilities Management session, which featured speakers from Group14 Engineering and the Economic Development Authority of Mankato, Minnesota (EDA Mankato). The full PowerPoint presentation from this 2016 Summit session is available on the BBC Solution Center. Stay tuned for the next round of Summit session recaps and don’t forget to register for the 2017 Summit, which will be hosted May 15-17, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Human Factors: Resident Behavior and Facilities Management

Educating property owners, builders, and financiers on the importance of energy- and water-efficiency retrofits can be challenging, but what’s the best way to educate resident populations on the importance of energy- and water-efficient behaviors? Patti Ziegler from EDA Mankato, and Mark Levin from Group14 Engineering used case studies to demonstrate best practices for teaching residents how to maintain their standard of living while using less energy and water.

Both speakers agreed on the merits of a holistic view of green retrofits, advocating that retrofits should achieve their energy- and water-efficiency goals through physical building upgrades, but also through changes in resident behavior and facilities management.

EDA Mankato partnered with The National Center for Healthy Housing to interview its elderly residents prior to renovating Orness Plaza. The interview process, as explained by Ms. Ziegler, allowed EDA Mankato to incorporate resident preferences into the renovation while also collecting data on the residents' mental and physical health.

Post retrofit, the building has achieved a 44% reduction in energy use and residents have reported improvement on a number of health measures. As part of the process, residents received training on caring for their new apartment fixtures, along with a "green" resident handbook. Visit the BBC Solution Center to learn more about Orness Plaza's transformation and to read the published journal article on the resident health benefits.

For Group14 Engineering's focus on ‘human factors’ in green retrofits, Mr. Levin underscored the importance of training facilities staff to identify building inefficiencies. He presented a sample energy and water checklist that included questions such as "Can you see light around the exterior door(s)?" which helps staff easily identify and record opportunities for improvements in water and energy performance. In another example, he demonstrated how utility benchmarking combined with physical inspections allow facilities staff to spot leaks, a huge source of water waste.

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