10High Performance Buildings

While all buildings can be assessed in terms of their performance, there is one category of buildings that makes performance a key characteristic and aspires to be state of the art with regard to this particular aspect: high performance buildings. However, this is another concept that is poorly defined and at times appears to be reduced to a buzzword; for instance many authors use the terms high performance building, green building and sustainable building interchangeably, without proper distinction (Prum, 2010). One root cause for this situation is the lack of definition of the term building performance itself, as addressed in the previous chapters. Beyond that, ‘high’ performance is a relative term; it positions specific buildings relative to their peers and the wider building stock. One can compare the situation with the automotive sector, where a high performance car may have a different interpretation in the contexts of off‐roading or Formula One racing. Similarly, the term high performance building seems more applicable to certain categories of buildings like offices and public buildings, while there is some tension in applying it to other categories such as family homes (Trubiano, 2013: 3).

The ambivalent use of the term high performance buildings is clearly demonstrated by Erhorn and Erhorn‐Kluttig (2011), who give a long list of terms that may be seen by some as equivalent to high performance buildings in the member states of the European ...

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