Reveal, a transparency label by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), aims to make known the energy use of commercial buildings for the purpose of broadening people’s access to information in the corporate sphere. By labeling the electricity consumption of specific buildings, Reveal targets an invisible and often hidden component of physical structures. The Reveal label brings forward numerics and data in an accessible medium so that a building becomes imprinted—quite literally—with its own energy footprint.
Reveal does not designate any renewable energy requirement. Instead, the immediate goal is transparency, with the understanding that labeling keeps a building’s energy use in the forefront of the minds of employees, executives, consumers, and citizens alike. Following on such transparency, many companies and owners may choose to voluntarily invest in renewable energy and thereby improve their Energy Use Intensity (EUI). Reveal is therefore a vital ingredient of the renewable energy economy, a stepping-stone to the forthright and honest business relations that a growing number of people desire.
Looking beyond a building’s energy use, a Reveal label also designates the building type, location, local climate region, and square footage. In addition, it denotes a building’s energy use compared to an average building of its type, plus the building’s renewable energy production as a percentage of its total energy use. Going above and beyond mere numbers, the Reveal label marks a building’s place in its local environment as well as in the energy economy as a whole.
Make no mistake—Reveal carries the potential to transform the urban environment. By imagining a city in which all buildings display their energy use, Reveal shapes a future where the grid is smart, energy sources are renewable, and builders are committed to reducing their footprint.
Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building
The Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building defines the urban landscape of Portland, Oregon. Built in 1975, it was retrofitted in 2013 with a solar roof, power-generating elevators, a water cistern, unique shading devices, and efficient lighting. The building, which hosts the US General Services Administration (GSA), now boasts an energy use intensity (EUI) of 34—all the more impressive because the building is an 18-story highrise. The building is now outfitted with a Reveal label, encouraging other developers to take the same strides toward green energy.
Vestas America HQ
Vestas, the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, also chose the city of Portland, Oregon, for its American headquarters. As if it weren’t enough to churn out turbines, Vestas reclaimed an abandoned warehouse and brought it into line with sustainable standards. A central atrium allows for abundant natural light, and contractors sourced recycled, nontoxic, and efficient materials. The Vestas headquarters is now LEED Platinum certified. Its Reveal label shows an EUI of 32—that’s 15% of the energy footprint of the average New York City building.
Here’s an account from Glumac, one of ILFI’s Reveal partners:
With a mission to deliver “Green Buildings that Work” Glumac happily agreed to partner with ILFI to help test out its new REVEAL label for energy-efficient building performance.
Glumac actively tracks post-occupancy building energy and water use data from its projects and analyzes it to inform new designs. The firm believes the REVEAL label aligns with its design philosophy. Justin Di Palo of Glumac explains, “As an engineer and energy analyst, measurement and verification are my feedback loop. Without real data on building performance, it’s nearly impossible to calibrate and optimize our design and modeling processes, strategies, and techniques.” The firm finds the REVEAL label especially important in providing a third-party verification of its projects’ building performance. “Having a third party review our results and help provide a sole source to define the actual building EUIs adds tremendous credibility to the results and claims we market for our past projects,” says Mitch Dec, Senior Energy Analyst at Glumac.
The firm has submitted two high-performing buildings, including the Vestas North American Headquarters and the GSA Edith Green Wendell Wyatt administration building. The owners are proud of their buildings’ accomplishments, including a deep renovation of an existing building and LEED Platinum certification. The GSA building in particular boasts an ongoing Energy Star score of 99. Glumac sees the extra marketing benefit that the REVEAL label brings.