In work as in my personal life, I am often thought of as “a data guy.” Whether it is a personal activity tracker, a vehicle dashboard that provides a breakdown of fuel efficiency, a home energy monitor, or my daily perusal of MLB box scores, I tend to be immersed in numbers constantly.

I often like to lean on numbers because they can provide some measure of progress with regard to performance. Whether daily, short-term, or long-term goals, data can help one ascertain a frame of referencea progress report of sorts. As the saying goes, you cannot improve what you do not measure. To be performance-driven requires data. Period.

I have long carried this concept of being performance-driven into my function as Director of Sustainability at Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf. For over a decade, I have had the distinct honor and pleasure of helping individual projects achieve high-performance results with regard to energy efficiency, water resourcefulness, and indoor air quality among other objectives.

Historically, this data-driven design process has been approached one building at a time. However, the marketplace is becoming ever more sophisticated. Clients are demanding a greater degree of technical rigor and data-driven workflows are becoming increasingly important to how we make certain design decisions.

The time has come for architecture firms to scale-up our performance-driven initiatives portfolio-wide. It is time to understand where our work stands in the spectrum of performance across the industryand then improve it.

In the interest of better serving our clients in pursuit of their energy efficiency and high-performance project goals, Browning Day has joined other industry leaders through the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in joining the 2030 Commitment. Through the AIA’s Design Data Exchange (DDx) framework, user-provided building performance data can be analyzed across comparable project types to help teams gauge their respective progress. Equipped with the data analysis from the DDx, participating firms can gather insights into best practices and improve their approaches. As a collective, we can baseline our standing and move forward boldly toward improved building performance and leverage data to demonstrate the value of design.

To learn more about the AIA 2030 Commitment, visit

By integrating performance modeling into project workflows, design teams can optimize design responses to better ensure that project performance goals are achieved. Pictured above is an excerpt from a commercial/light industrial facility that underwent design performance modeling during the schematic design phase. Outcomes from the modeling exercise helped set the trajectory of the project's performance objectives.

Image courtesy of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf.