Energy consumed by buildings accounts for one third of the world’s total primary energy use. Associated with the conscious of energy savings in buildings, High Performance Buildings (HPBs) has surged across the world, with wide promotion and adoption of various performance rating and certification systems. It is valuable to look into the actual energy performance of HPBs and to understand their influencing factors.
To shed some light on this topic, this paper conducted a series of portfolio analysis based on a database of 51 high performance office buildings across the world. Analyses showed that the actual site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of the 51 buildings varied by a factor of up to 11, indicating a large scale of variation of the actual energy performance of the current HPBs. Further analysis of the correlation between EUI and climate elucidated ubiquitous phenomenon of EUI scatter throughout all climate zones, implying that the weather is not a decisive factor, although important, for the actual energy consumption of an individual building. On the building size via EUI, analysis disclosed that smaller buildings have a tendency to achieving lower energy use. Even so, the correlation is not absolute since some large buildings demonstrated low energy use while some small buildings performed opposite. Concerning the technologies, statistics indicated that the application of some technologies had correlations with some specific building size and climate characteristic. However, it was still hard to pinpoint a set of technologies which was directly correlative with a group of low EUI buildings.
It is concluded that no a single factor essentially determines the actual energy performance of HPBs. To deliver energy-efficient buildings, an integrated design taking account of climate, technology, occupant behavior as well as operation and maintenance should be implemented.