The PlanITImpact score – Priorities for Performance are Locally Determined

Dominique Davison / January 13, 2017

Growing up in the Bay Area of California, the bumper sticker of “think Global, Act Local” was a frequent siting on the bumper of the car ahead of me (ironic, I know). But this is a sentiment that has stayed with me over the past 20 years in the architecture industry. And the idea became highlighted again in a healthy debate we had this week around the DRAW conference table in regards to the PlanITImpact Score established for PlanIT Impact.

There are four modules currently integrated into PlanIT Impact: Energy Use and Cost*, Stormwater Impact, Water Use and Cost*, and Transportation Access. Each of these is given an individual score. 

And in the overall PlanITImpact score, each of these modules is weighted equally. 

The reason PlanIT Impact decided to weight each module the same is because for each community, sustainability goals and environmental challenges are vastly different.  For example, in the Southwest, water scarcity is a real problem, but alternative energy sources are more viable through solar PV arrays. Thus water use might be beneficial to weight as more of a priority than energy use.  In the Midwest, water scarcity is not a concern, though aging and combined sewer systems, and power that is predominantly generated by coal points to a stronger emphasis on Stormwater and Energy efficiency concerns. The dynamics around each localized economy and their environment are also evolving, such as the drought for the last 5 years in Northern California having recently been declared as over due to record rain as of 1/12/2017.

Thus we provided a score for each module, allowing each project team, if not their community leadership, to establish their own guidelines on what level of achievement they would like to set for each area of performance.

Energy Use and Cost compares the expected performance of the building design against code minimum values of IECC 2012 (without variations). We also allow for selecting ASHRAE 90.1 2007 and 2010 from our drop down menu as options to meet those levels of performance, and are working to integrate additional updates as we learn from our users what other codes are being utilized around the country. Code minimum performance for your particular project establishes a score of 50, and achieving net zero energy equates to a score of 100.

This means that a score of 66 in one community means something different than it does in another community, but our team has worked to make PlanIt Impact most beneficial to the everyday users who are making projects happen in their communities…and benchmarking against a code that is not used in your city, just didn’t seem to make sense to us. To Act Locally, in response to your local climate and municipality’s goals is more useful to the team trying to meet local mandates.  But we would like your feedback and thoughts! Please provide your feedback in the comments section below on your thinking of this scoring approach.

*Costs are estimated based on the inputs provided and PlanIT Impact makes no assertions as to their actual costs, and does not guarantee that a project will perform as estimated.

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