If buildings and related infrastructure are to be improved, the building industry and the nation need to concentrate their efforts in four key areas, a new report from the National Institute of Building Sciences Consultative Council says.

Titled “Moving Forward: In-Depth Findings and Recommendations From the Consultative Council,” a summary of which appears in the National Institute of Building Sciences2011 Annual Report to the President of the United States, the report identifies the following priorities: defining high-performance and common metrics, adopting and enforcing codes and standards, energy and water efficiency, and sustainability. More specifically, the Consultative Council recommends:

• The building community work to define metrics—including both qualitative and quantitative measures—for achieving high-performance buildings.

• The National Institute of Building Sciences, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others encourage cities and smaller communities to adopt and enforce updated model codes.

• Regulators and the building industry support efforts of code and standard developers and adopting jurisdictions to simplify and enhance compliance verification.

• Software developers, regulators, and building professionals support the development of building information modeling for use as an automated code-checking tool.

• The federal government develop incentives for state and local governments to require water metering of all buildings and adopt and enforce comprehensive green-building or plumbing codes.

• The U.S. government provide a tax incentive for building owners to get their buildings audited and implement measures to reduce energy and water use.

• Policymakers and the building community use a common definition of sustainability.

• The building community develop mechanisms to help finance sustainable life-cycle performance of buildings and related infrastructure.