Building Performance Knowledge Community

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The goal of the Building Performance Knowledge Community (BPKC) is to promote architects as leaders in the application of technical design for building performance; in the use of high-performance design criteria, codes, and standards; and in programming, designing and managing building performance. To advance, disseminate, and advocate—to the architecture profession, AIA members, building owners, the construction industry, the academy, and the public—design practices that create buildings that are healthy, energy efficient, and durable.

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Announcing - Definitions Research Project

  • 1.  Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 05-28-2015 13:25

    TDBP has started research into the varied and disparate uses of terminology used to describe aspects of High Performance Design and Enclosure Technology as it is applied to building design. The moniker "High Performance" is itself ubiquitous, ambiguous, powerful and often misleading in the design and construction industry.  "Rainscreen" is another similar term.  While the application of the underlying principles about a rainscreen wall assembly can deliver a very high performing system, the term itself has been so completely overused and in-accurately applied that it often causes confusion rather than communicating clear ideas. 

    Our goal is to identify clearly a full list of terms concerning high performance design and building enclosures, to research their beginnings and how they are used now and to finally develop industry standardized definitions.

    We are currently identifying a methodology for collecting all of the terms and we intend to hire a researcher to help us execute the project.  Members of the TDBP Knowledge Community interested in knowing more details about this effort or participating are asked to respond to this post. 

    Pamela Sams AIA
    SE Design Realization Leader
    Washington DC

  • 2.  RE: Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 05-29-2015 23:41
    Dear Pam Sams,
    this is a much needed effort.  Pls excuse me if you have already begun this, but can start with the several ISO/EN/DIN documents on terminology for building design and energy performance.  I am sure the ASTM/NIBS and the like over here, have some beginning on a systematization.  My own keyword searches in the ISO database turned up a very large mountain of docs that are relevant for the definitions and the inter relationships between such definitions.  Also, important for us here in America/Canada to coordinate our work with terminology definition going on abroad, if only for reality that many US architects design buildings in foreign countries.


    David Benjamin, PhD, Assoc. AIA
    Photonica, Inc.
    Fort Lauderdale FL

  • 3.  RE: Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 06-02-2015 13:50
    I send you a reply many days ago, but I think was not approved to be publish.
    If you give me your email I will talk about to you.

    Eugenio Aburto AIA
    Eugenio Aburto, AIA
    Palm Desert CA

  • 4.  RE: Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 06-03-2015 01:21
    Great work Pam
    Industry standard definitions are the key to communication globally. Using the ISO as a base to work from is the ideal solution. I look forward to seeing how you progress and ultimate direction the AIA takes. 

    Andrew Dwight
    BIM manager

  • 5.  RE: Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 06-03-2015 18:12
    Thank you for the encouragement and interest. We will be sure to post our progress as we move forward.

    Pamela Sams AIA
    SE Design Realization Leader
    Washington DC

  • 6.  RE: Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 06-24-2015 13:43
    Hi Pamela,

    You would be surprised how many organizations are now figuring out how critical 'terminology' is to our work.  I saw your post, and wanted to make sure you were aware of a global movement to standardization of terminology - called buildingSMART Data Dictionary (bSDD).

    The bSDD is based on an ISO standard for object-oriented terminology databases (ISO 12006-3), and its intent is to use global unique IDs (GUIDS) to uniquely identify and define every concept.  The technology allows:
    - unlimited languages, as well as synonyms within languages,
    - semantic relationships to related concepts (such as specialization, composition, classification, etc).
    - unlimited distinct 'contexts' (viewpoints), most are public, some can be private

    To date, all of the IFC entities have been input, and more content is being added every day.  Please check out this technology by browsing the buildingsmart International web site (, or browse the bSDD itself at

    David Watson
    Digicon Information Inc
    Beaumont AB

  • 7.  RE: Announcing - Definitions Research Project

    Posted 06-25-2015 17:39
    I'm also interested, and second David's comments staying under the ISO standard is an important global way of helping all of us to use the same term for the same term and limit misunderstanding!


    Hi David, long time no talk

    Marc Chavez AIA
    Architect- Specifier
    ZGF Architects LLP
    Seattle WA