Monthly Archives: February 2015

Let’s Not Be Meretricious About Metrics

I understand and strongly encourage the gathering of metrics to quantify work. Metrics are how we and our clients know the value of our efforts. Some things, like energy savings, are easy to quantify:  kWh and dollars saved, CO2 reductions, even economic development. Other things, like improved indoor environmental quality and productivity, do not lend themselves to obvious quantification. This doesn’t make them a waste of time and money, it simply means that we need to find other ways to measure their value.

As many people in the green building industry (I use green building and sustainability synonymously, but understand the difference between them) know, if we could quantify productivity improvements, green buildings would have a much larger share of the market and we would have an easier time selling environmentally responsible design, construction, operation, maintenance, and reuse.

We all know that green building design can have a positive impact on productivity, but it’s hard to quantify in metrics as readily understood as energy savings. As a society, we need to accept this challenge and keep searching for metrics, rather than allowing decision-makers to maintain the “if you can’t count it, it doesn’t count” mentality.

I’ll talk about how I addressed the issue of measuring the value of productivity in a future post.