Measuring Building Energy Consumption

The amount of CO2 emissions from office buildings worldwide, and their rate of energy consumption, could soon get a standardized system of measurement, under a proposal being reviewed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The Common Carbon Metric (CCM) is a  tool meant to measure both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in buildings per meter squared or per occupant over the course of a year. The measurement system was developed by The United National Environment Programme and could be adopted as the international standard for defining the cultural impact of buildings.

Buildings

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By developing the new standard, the hope is achieve national targets for sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. The tool would be used as a baseline by architects, designers and the construction industry. The building sector is said to be the largest single contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, with one-third of global energy use taking place in office or homes. That number is also expected to grow from 8.6 billion tons in 2004 to 11.1 billion tons by 2020.

The CCM was first launched in 2009 at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Initial tests using the measuring system took place in 2010 and a more recent second phase of testing is now underway. Results from the second phase will be reported in October. The proposed use of CCM will go before the ISO this year and could be adopted within three years.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.