Energy Performance Review

Monitor the energy performance of campus buildings to inform future building projects...

Building Energy Performance is a Neutrality goal in the Cornell Climate Action Plan (CAP).

Monitor and evaluate building energy performance of recent projects by comparing design, modeling, and actual energy use, and utilize best practices that identified through the performance review process to inform future projects.

Goal: Develop additional metrics and targets for post–occupancy evaluations of building performance.

Cornell’s Facilities Engineering Department team has developed energy “budgets” for each building on campus, for a range of weather scenarios. We know how each building should be performing based on the daily weather, and we can track when a particular building uses more or less energy than the budget predicts. Comparing the budget to actual performance will help us to understand where there are discrepancies, so that we can assess what is causing these discrepancies and how best to address them. The Department has developed rigorous algorithms to track building performance and to identify factors which might help to improve performance. For example, lessons learned from Milstein Hall on how to maintain energy savings in buildings with extensive glass windows can help to inform decisions about how to optimize energy efficiency in new buildings, such as Gates Hall, which also has extensive glass windows.

Next Steps

  • Consult with project architects and engineers to determine how each building is actually performing compared to what was expected from the design and modeling process.
  • Share the results of each building’s performance review to inform the design process going forward, and incorporate the evaluation results into project management seminars and into university engineering design standards.
  • Identify strategies that have been employed successfully to reduce energy use and incorporate these strategies as standard practices in future projects.


Work with multiple stakeholders to ensure that the data to be tracked for each project is obtainable and mutually agreed upon. Ensure that accurate data is collected from the initial design phase through building occupancy.