Far too often, information-sharing following the completion of a building is lacking. Developers' media teams extol the virtues of the environmental initiatives they are implementing or green ratings that they are going to achieve as the buildings go up, but little is then heard about how well these initiatives have performed.

The need to learn more from successes (and failures) is the main reason behind the new Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Performance Award.

The CTBUH wants to help the tall building industry reverse a persistent and counterproductive trend – the resistance of building owners and managers to releasing valuable performance data, particularly energy data, from which the entire industry could benefit.

The Performance Award thus recognizes the measured performance of a building or development, and the award goes to the project that has the lowest measured environmental impact on the urban realm, using actual data.

The winner of the inaugural award is the International Commerce Centre (ICC), Hong Kong’s tallest building.

The 484-metre office tower for Sun Hung Kai Properties was completed in 2010. The architects were Kohn Pederson Fox Associates and Wong & Ouyang, with Arup as structural engineers and J. Roger Preston Group and Parsons Brinckerhoff taking up the mantle of MEP engineers.

Significant investments have been made in improving energy performance over the years, especially since adopting the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems certification in 2011. This commitment was followed by more than 50 advanced energy-saving measures.

Integral to the building’s success was the combination of a computerized building management system (BMS) with a policy of replacing underperforming mechanical equipment.

The BMS controls the energy use in the building. The total energy consumption of the project was reduced from 56.3 million kilowatt-hours in 2012 to 49.9 million kilowatt-hours in 2013, a reduction of 6.4 million kilowatt-hours, or 11 per cent.

The Energy Utilization Index (EUI) of ICC’s energy performance in 2013 was 157.3 kilowatt-hours per square metre, placing it amongst the top 90 per cent of energy- efficient commercial buildings.

Perhaps the most important initiative was the incorporation of measurement and reporting into its high-service business model. Each tenant is assigned his or her own account manager, who provides responsive service while encouraging tenants to participate in, as well as undertake their own, energy-saving initiatives. A 24/7 helpdesk is available for tenants, regardless of where they are in the world.

As an economic/commercial validation of this approach, the building is 98 per cent occupied.

“The ICC’s management team gives a shining example of what can be achieved with commitment to continuous improvement of building performance,” said Peter Williams, Performance Awards technical juror and leader of the Building Engineering practice, EMEA, for AECOM, London, UK.

“Their year-on-year progress clearly recognizes the importance of interaction with their tenants and the community.”

The Technical Awards Jury also recognized the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai.

Jin Mao Tower

Jin Mao Tower

Built way back in 1999, in 2013 the mixed-use complex became the tallest and the longest-operated building in China to receive LEED-EB: OM (Existing Buildings: Operations + Management) Gold certification.

Its high performance has been achieved with the assistance of a computerized energy management system which has been in place since the building opened and which is integrated into the broader enterprise asset management (EAM) system.

Each month, building managers hold an energy consumption analysis meeting and clarify energy expenditures for each main equipment category, including water, electricity, and natural gas. The management team actively compares year-on-year and month-to-month consumption statistics, referencing the building automation system’s daily control log to make informed decisions about where energy-saving strategies should be implemented next. Specific action items are then drawn up for specific people, who take charge of implementing these measures.

This continuous monitoring and trending of energy usage via meters and sensors tied to the predictive computerised energy management system allows the facility management team to reduce resource loads and improve energy efficiency.

Meanwhile, the Post Tower in Bonn, Germany has received the CTBUH 10 Year Award, which recognizes projects which have proven value and performance over a decade.

Post Tower

Post Tower

“The Post Tower undoubtedly changes the way we look at sustainable building for the high rise typology,” said awards juror David Gianotten, managing director of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

Completed in 2002, the 163-metre tower set the standard for tall office and façade design. Its two elliptical volumes, which sandwich a large atrium, work together with site and wind orientation, a double-skin, operable façade, and stack ventilation to remove much of the need for mechanical ventilation typically found in this building type.

This has enabled the building to consume 79 per cent less energy than a comparable office of the same size, with only 75 kilowatt-hours per square metre used per year. In addition, this design and layout creates pleasant interior sky garden spaces and a more efficient floor plate.

“The Post Tower was an early touchstone for sustainable tower design and has provided a very useful model through its attention to performance,” said awards jury chair Jeanne Gang, founding principal of Studio Gang Architects. “The jury was impressed with the continued monitoring and proof of concept.”