The Impact of Occupancy Changes on Arc Performance Scores

Author: 
Chris Pyke
Published on: 
Thursday, April 30, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent millions of people home and left offices, stores, schools and many other facilities operating at a fraction of their typical occupancy.   

This dramatic change will impact efficiency and resource utilization, which in turn will be reflected in the Arc Performance Score. This is expected, since the Performance Score is a measure of efficiency, and it is based, in part, on consumption per occupant.  

When considering these changes, it is important to note that the Arc Performance Score is an input to LEED certification. However, LEED requirements ultimately determine if, when and how the Arc Performance Score is used for certification. LEED sets requirements for minimum occupancy and data collection (e.g., the minimum number of responses for transportation or human experience surveys). USGBC has shared Top Customer Service Questions on COVID-19 and LEED and will continue to add guidance.    

 

Impact varies between Arc and LEED certification:

  • Impact on Arc users

  • Impact on project teams pursuing LEED certification

 

Here is a quick breakdown of the occupancy-related relationships within the Arc Performance Score: 

  • Energy Score uses occupancy and schedule:

    • Increasing occupancy with no change in energy use increases the Energy Score

    • Decreasing occupancy with no change in energy use decreases the Energy Score

  • Water Score uses occupancy:

    • Increasing occupancy with no change in water use increases the Water Score

    • Decreasing occupancy with no change in water use decreases the Water Score 

  • Waste uses occupancy: 

    • Increasing occupancy with no change in waste generation and diversion increases the Waste Score.

    • Decreasing occupancy with no change in water generation and diversion decreases the Waste Score.

  • Transportation Score uses occupancy

    • Increasing occupancy increases the number of survey responses required by LEED. It does not change the Transportation Score.  

    • Decreasing occupancy decreases the number of survey responses required by LEED. It does not change the Transportation Score.  

  • Human Experience uses occupancy

    • Increasing occupancy increases the number of survey responses required by LEED. It does not change the Human Experience Score.  

    • Decreasing occupancy decreases the number of surveys required by LEED. It does not change the Human Experience Score.  

These qualitative relationships give a general idea about how the Arc Performance Score responds to changes in occupancy. 

The impact of low occupancy in any particular project will be determined by the balance between the reduction in occupancy and the decrease in energy use, water consumption, and waste generation. Generally, building occupancy falls faster than resource use (e.g., energy use, water consumption), and this results in a less efficient building and a lower Arc Performance Score. 

If your project is experiencing low occupancy, there are ways to tackle that change: 

  • Read the LEED and COVID-19 FAQs.

  • Use a reporting period that does not overlap the disrupted period. Note that LEED projects are required to submit within 90 days of the reporting period ending or request a 6-month extension as described in the FAQ’s.

  • Update occupancy and schedule regularly (see Building Settings). The LEED FAQ’s provide guidance for how to average occupancy over time. 

  • Ask occupants to base survey responses on their pre-disruption experience and commuting behavior.

  • We’re here to help, particularly in these unprecedented times. Reach out directly to the Arc team if you have questions at contact@arcskoru.com

We will share more updates as we gain experience and analyze score changes over the coming months.