The East Liberty Presbyterian Church (ELPC) project team aligned around the following performance metrics: Energy Use Intensity and 6 parameters of indoor air quality (temperature, humidity, CO2, TVOC, PM2.5 and PM10). Using Passive House building science, whole building performance modeling/simulations and the RESET Air standard for indoor air quality, the project team employed passive strategies first i.e. weather stripping, new entry door vestibules and sealed openings exposed during air leakage testing. Post passive strategies, active system improvements became less expensive i.e. enhanced boiler system, new DOAS ventilation system with nighttime cooling. With passive and active systems now optimized, the church is perfectly positioned to add cost-effective renewable solutions in the future. Given the need for good financial stewardship, ELPC leaders felt it essential to invest in a dynamic dashboard to validate the achievement of the goals set during design. East Liberty Presbyterian Church (ELPC) was the first cathedral in the world awarded a certificate for RESET Air Commercial Interiors. RESET Air is the world’s first sensor-based and performance-driven indoor air quality building standard and certification program. ELPC continuously monitors all forms of energy and six parameters of indoor air quality and uses a dynamic dashboard to show how they are performing versus the goals set during design. As a result, ELPC is able to share real-time building performance trended data versus goals with Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University for research purposes. This public access of data creates a living laboratory to educate citizens, professionals and building owners throughout the region. By developing an open-integration and transparent approach to data collection–whole building performance modeling/simulations; envelope air leakage testing, baseline energy and indoor air quality monitoring–the project team used data to enable the level of collaboration required to create unique solutions and realize optimal returns on investment. “Church congregations often think about energy efficiency and environmental justice in broad terms: Will this improvement reduce my electricity bill? Will these renovations be an asset for my children’s generation and the world in which they live? Choosing to be guided by important, measurable standards like Energy Use Intensity and RESET Air quality measures allowed us to say with full integrity that we are doing our best to provide a physical facility that is safe, environmentally sound, comfortable and thoroughly welcoming to the members, guests and employees who regularly gather within our walls”. Dr. Randy Bush, Senior Pastor, East Liberty Presbyterian Church By reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, the church fulfills its ongoing commitment to the ethical stewardship of our planet’s resources. By dramatically improving indoor air quality, ELPC fulfills its mission of social justice by creating a healthy and productive indoor air environment not only for the 300 children who participate in performances and instructions but for the 15,000+ members and visitors who come to ELPC for their special brand of radical hospitality.
The missing link in most retrofit projects is the connection between targets set during design & construction to actual performance during operations. This project shows that using whole building performance modeling and simulation reduces project risks and optimizes return on investment. By base-lining current performance, simulating future performance prior to construction, investing in the key components of smart building infrastructure and displaying actual trended performance against goals set in design, the ELPC team delivered all of their stated goals, resulting in greater community use of this iconic Pittsburgh landmark. Data, enabled by technology, is a great equalizer: 1) evidence takes risks out of decision-making; 2) data aligns team members to objective goals thus removing conflict from teams; 3) building performance data becomes transparent and easily accessible by owners 4) building owners know on day 1 of operations if building is achieving goals and 5) data can be easily shared for greater societal purposes.