The Australian Building Greenhouse Rating (ABGR) scheme is a performance based rating scheme for office buildings. Although originally intended as a rating system for existing buildings, it has expanded into the new building sector in response to both market and regulatory demands. The development of performance based requirements for new buildings has created substantial challenges for the design and development industry, which had not generally been involved in performance assessment once the building was in operation. In particular, it has been found that much of the building design and development industry has a flawed understanding of computer simulation techniques, and a limited appreciation of the importance of issues associated with air-conditioning controls, maintainability, operability and commissioning. The ABGR team has responded to these challenges by introducing new processes and information intended to encourage knowledge transfer, particularly from the energy management industry back to the design and development industry. While it is too early to identify the results of this work in a scientific sense, it is notable that there has been an upsurge in innovation in design in response to performance requirements being imposed.