Whole Building Design Guide Celebrates Anniversary

Attendees at the National Institute of Building Sciences annual FEDCon Breakfast learned about the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide and joined in the celebration of its 20th anniversary. Its online research site, WBDG hosts federal design specifications and criteria, as well as education programs, design recommendations and case studies.

Presenting the history, current status and a roadmap for the future of WBDG were Earle Kennett, former Institute senior vice president/chief operating officer and founding director of the WBDG; Bernie Deneke, PE, director, Engineering Criteria & Programs, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), the founding federal agency and sustaining supporter of WBDG; and Sherri McMillion, PE, NAVFAC engineering specifications and standards criteria manager and chair of the WBDG Advisory Committee. The breakfast kicked off the final day of Building Innovation 2018, the National Institute of Building Sciences Sixth Annual Conference & Expo, held at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C.

Launched in 1997, the WBDG encompassed the combination of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Construction Criteria Base (CCB), which at that time was distributed in a set of 15 compact disks, with a mandate from NAVFAC to create an online resource for federal agencies to share facility-related criteria and information. Two years later, with interest in providing immediate access to research concerning energy conservation, the U.S. Department of Energy, teaming with other federal agencies, agreed that the WBDG would be the location where information concerning energy and sustainable design should reside for all to access. In 2000, NAVFAC asked the Institute to manage and maintain the WBDG, and in 2003, DOD, NAVFAC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Air Force signed an agreement to make the WBDG the sole portal for their design and construction criteria. By 2005, the CCB was completely merged into WBDG, united to promote the whole building design approach.

Thirteen years and thousands of web pages later, the WBDG has since added additional design guides, including the General Services Administration’s P100: Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Master Specifications and an assortment of guidance from the 12 supporting federal agencies. Over its 20-year life span, WBDG also has built up a framework of taxonomies, design objectives, space types, case studies and continuing education courses that complement the federal criteria, which are available for use by federal agencies, the building industry and the public alike. In that time, WBDG use has grown to an average of 3 million downloads by 500,000 users per month in 2017.

At its Annual Awards Banquet, the Institute honored the WBDG Advisory Committee for 20 years of dedicated support for the development of the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide, the commitment of the committee to achieve this effort and the contribution to the nation and building community.

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