The US Department of State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) is responsible for the design, construction, and operation of more than 19,000 buildings that support US Embassy missions in 269 posts and 168 countries worldwide. To meet requirements for federally-mandated sustainability targets, OBO desired a sustainability report to relate water use and greenhouse gas emissions, drawing the data from a portal in which staff at posts could input building performance data.

Strategy

The report needed to include analysis of 2007 baseline data as well as identification of data trends from 2007 to 2010 to demonstrate improved performance at five different levels within the OBO portfolio — department wide, regional bureaus, mission, posts and buildings (over 5,000sf).

With a global staff, varying levels of engagement on data entry standards, and buildings located in every climate zone, the data in the portal ranged widely in terms of both quality and quantity, making it challenging for OBO to assess its portfolio performance and use the data to inform actions for performance improvement. Issues included:

  • Limited incentives at all organizational levels to report data and improve performance
  • Knowledge transfer issues related to staff rotation
  • Inconsistent reporting year-on-year, even for the same buildings
  • Feedback from the data entry system was not clearly actionable

Paladino Approach

The Paladino team investigated the actionable metrics at each reporting level that could produce an improvement in data quality and quantity. The metrics would allow for measurable performance improvement of the buildings over time through feedback at each level of the reporting structure. For example, at the individual building level, a customized degree day diagnostic was suggested to evolve the reporting requirement into an opportunity to sort, interpret and report performance data. The aim was to orient incoming FMOs to the post, and highlight what type of sustainability initiatives would provide the best returns during their assignment to that building.

To develop the report, the team audited the dataset to determine where information was incomplete or inaccurate and where compliance with collection requirements was weak. From there, the team developed a draft sustainability reporting framework and report template to enable OBO to describe building performance status against federal targets. Paladino also produced recommendations to improve data quality and building performance for the next reporting period at each of the portfolio levels.

H&A was responsible for the deliverable schedule, and sorting through the portal data with assistance from a statistician. Paladino managed the processing of the data into summary findings and the subsequent development of the reporting strategy. Paladino’s team members included a project manager, business consultant, mechanical engineers and architects.

Results

Paladino developed a statistically representative sample set to characterize the overall performance of the portfolio. The team completed quantitative and qualitative audit of utility portal data from international building portfolio operating in 168 countries. As a result, a streamlined framework for ongoing data collection and reporting was developed. Additionally, Paladino was able to provide the client with a report template to meet federal reporting mandates. A future goal is to develop an online interactive tool to convey annual portfolio performance to multiple levels of management.