Measuring Impacts Of A Retrofit Project Construction Essay

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The proposed research project consists of number of separate but interrelated projects that address the sustainability of MURBs in general and specifically use the Toronto Mayor's Tower Renewal pilot projects for developing appropriate strategies. This sub research project investigate and evaluate performance metrics and indicators for rating systems and evaluation of labelling protocols for multi unit residential buildings retrofits as part of Toronto Mayor's Tower Renewal project.

The high-rise residential buildings (also known as MURB's - multi-unit residential buildings) from the period 1960 to 1980 generally share a similar architectural style, and structural, mechanical and building envelope systems and hence can be measured on consistent building performance methodology to develop sustainability indicators pertaining to MURB. This research topic is a key topic sharing the vision of the Mayor's Tower Renewal Project as to not only retrofit a building but to make it sustainable community development. This means that the improvements are not only focussed on the building itself but stretch to its immediate surrounding and address the links to the community. 

This research project proposes to evaluate and harmonize performance metrics and indicators for rating systems and evaluation of labelling protocols for multi unit residential buildings retrofits as part of Toronto Mayor's Tower Renewal project. Performance metrics and indicators that take into account a "triple-bottom-line" approach (environmental, economic and social) and include the delivery of public amenities such as affordable housing, public open space and a sustainability centre. The mixed-use neighborhood concept of residential and commercial components for a sustainable community shall be the key elements when proposing the MURB specific labeling system.

With support from Literature reviews and critical analysis of existing rating systems, this project aims to develop a sustainability performance measurement framework (MURB Green Performance Indicators). The MURB Green Performance Indicators will be used to periodically measure the social, economic and environmental impacts and outcomes of the retrofit project. This will help stake-holders to better understand the impact of the retrofit project and to identify and consider adjustments to enhance its overall sustainability.


The MURB Green Performance Indicators could be used as a template by the city to measure and monitor the social, economic and environmental impacts of a Retrofit Project. The themes that the indicators cover are broadly outlined below:


Environment: land, energy, transportation, water resources, solid waste, and urban ecology

Social: diversity, housing affordability, health and well-being, liveability, community

Economic: employment and economic activity, infrastructure, revenue for the municipality

This framework of green performance indicators will serve to monitor and report on the environmental impact of the MURB Retrofit Green initiative on the city and region. The framework outlines quantifiable measures based on both objective and subjective criteria for the Triple Bottom Line approach. This sub project of Toronto Tower renewal project aims to delineate metrics of performance across the full spectrum of environmental goals to provide guidelines and develop environmental performance metrics for retrofitting Multi Unit Residential Buildings in Toronto.

The research tasks within this study aim to:


Identify and review available labelling system and performance metrics for Multi Unit Residential Buildings (MURB) and associated communities. Review gaps/ opportunities drawn from this knowledge;


Identify opportunities for integration of existing labeling systems and performance metrics identified. Suggest modifications or develop new metrics if required to address MURB specific labeling context.


Identify the scope and scale of performance metrics for labeling systems that are relevant to Existing Multi Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs)

Since this task will provide the foundation for robust and comprehensive performance measurement methodology analysis, it is critical that it be accomplished by extensive literature review and case studies of existing performance measurement methodologies and current performance indices used to label buildings. Although there are several commonly-used metrics of performance, there are many topics that are not addressed in current systems particularly in context to MURB labeling systems and need extensive discussions.

Review gaps/ opportunities drawn from this knowledge;

Identifying, cataloguing and reviewing existing performance metrics, MURB labeling systems is a critical step to ensure that research proceeds most effectively and takes advantage of existing knowledge. Greater robustness and harmonization is needed among standards of performance, MURB labeling systems which are recognizable both nationally and internationally. Since considerable work has been done in European Countries on performance metrics, initial research guidance shall be based on lessons learned from Europe on their approach to develop Labeling systems for MURB retrofits. The Toronto Green Development Standard (TGDS) and BOMA Best developed by Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Canada shall be reviewed to provide local context to the study. Opportunities shall be investigated to integrate the already identified performance metrics in context to improving sustainable performance of Existing MURB .

This research aims to draw knowledge from TGDS and BOMA Best that provides an integrated set of targets, principles, and practices to guide the development of City-owned facilities and to encourage sustainable development amongst the private sector and implement for improving sustainability of existing MURB in Toronto.

Performance categories could include but not restricted to source and site energy, water use efficiency, water quality, waste, indoor environmental quality, material sustainability, land/ecological footprint, ecological systems, and the emerging measures of human health, safety, mobility and security among others.

Iteration, in an international context as well as local context, is critical to reflect the diversity of building types, building age, climate conditions, and societal goals; to reflect the differences between predicted and measured performance or design and operational performance; and to reflect the critical importance of market accessible indices (and prioritization) for design and consumer selection. This research would enable the cataloguing with description and analysis of existing performance metrics; definitions of new and refined metrics in context to MURB research agenda.


Refine or develop rating systems and labeling protocols

Critical Review and research analysis on following labeling systems and their performance metrics is crucial to develop rating systems and labeling protocols for customizing and proposing MURB specific building rating systems and labeling protocol.

The labeling systems and standards proposed to be analysed are:

Toronto Green Development Standard (TGDS)

Building Owners and Managers Association-Building Environmental standards (BOMA Best)

ASHRAE 189 - Sustainable Buildings Standard

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

ASHRAE Building Energy Quotient (EQ)

BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

Green Globes System

Green Star Rating Tool

DOI Sustainable Building Assessment and Compliance Tool (SB Tool) 

Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HK-BEAM),

This information will enable the researcher to refine and develop MURB specific building labeling systems to increase the ability of the labeling system to transform the market and recognize superior performance. It will also support current efforts to increase the use of performance-based credits rather than prescriptive credits.

Tentative Table of content for research thesis

Chapter 1: Introduction

Introductory notes on Fundamentals: - Energy and environment; Energy and buildings; Energy sources and flows; Building energy efficiency opportunity; Building energy efficiency metrics

Research aims and objectives: - General objective; Specific objectives; Outline of the thesis

Multi Unit Residential sector (MURB) discussion in context to Toronto: - The opportunity; the question; the research methodology

Chapter 2: Principles of sustainability

Principles of sustainability: - Background of sustainability; Sustainability indicators within the construction industry; Environmental management concepts

Chapter 3: Literature review

Literature review:- Policies and instruments to support performance metrics and labelling systems in the built environment ; Methodologies for Environmental and energy labelling schemes; Governmental Efforts at Sustainable Building; Leading by example-case study literature reviews; Challenges and Barriers; Lessons Learned

Chapter 4: Theoretical and Empirical Framework for Building environmental labeling systems

The Framework :- The Concept of Labelling ; Labelling categories; Mandatory building energy labeling; Voluntary building energy labeling ; Environmental labeling of buildings; Current energy labeling standards ;Labelling as a communication and benchmarking tool; Review of existing labelling programmes; Categorising Labelling Schemes

Chapter 5: Environmental Labelling Programme Development for Multi Unit Residential Buildings

Labelling Programme Development:- Programme goals; Administrative structure and key players; Implementation costs ; Monitoring and evaluation ; Labeling Characteristics; Relative Advantage of Labelling; Compatibility of the Labelling ; Complexity of the Labelling; Triability of Labelling Process; Observability of Labelling; Impact of Adopting Labelling

Chapter 6: Key Elements of Environmental Performance

Dimensions of green buildings:- Location & Linkages ; Sustainable Sites; Water Efficiency ; Energy & Atmosphere ; Material & Resources ; Indoor Environmental Quality ; Awareness & Education

Chapter 7: Presentation of the case studies

Case Studies of Performance metrics and indicators applied to MURB Retrofit scenarios both in International and national context. Case Study Description; Results; Discussion

Chapter 8 Conclusions and Recommendations

Conclusions; Building Sustainability Rating Tools; Drivers, Triggers, Obstacles and Reasons for Sustainable Building; Sustainable Building Information; International Comparison; Implications for Future Research