We were hugely encouraged by the attendance at last week’s Faculty and would like to thank everyone again for joining us and for your patience with the spatial availability! This Faculty is number 10 in our series and more popular than ever, surprising as we had been worried that the subject matter would perhaps fail to draw much interest. We were wrong!
In preparing the content the aim was to condense the vast amount of information into a digestible half day seminar. At the same time we aimed to identify opportunities for our customers in helping to address the requirements, add value. As a secondary objective we wanted to highlight efficiencies of using the Virtual Environment suite.
Naghman and I reviewed the literature including design guides, technical memoranda, applications manuals, regulatory and voluntary requirements for the 4 main building types selected – Educational, Commercial, Healthcare and Retail.
Not surprisingly the two main areas of literature pertain to Education and Healthcare and we noted a marked difference in the ‘structure’ of the information. Healthcare is organised with an overarching set of documents driving improvement forward whereas the schools information was a bit disjointed. Having said that the Education Funding Agency has provided an overarching set of requirements upon which funding depends. However, whilst the lighting design guidance relevant for all schools has been updated to reflect the EFA requirements, the ventilation, thermal comfort and IAQ has not.
As an addendum to this there is a working group, including IES, currently looking at updating Building Bulletin 101, the EFA requirements form part of this discussion. The timeframe is as yet undecided. If the EFA requirements are extended to all new schools and major refurbishment and adopted as standard this might help to drive improvement over time.
A common theme within the EFA requirements and the Healthcare standards is Performance In Use (PIU) – the move away from ticking Design Criteria boxes during design to closing the loop between design and operation. Something very close to our heart!
As always the Faculty provided a good opportunity for like-minded individuals to get together and share ideas, we have attempted to capture some of the discussion points below;
- Politics get in the way of green/sustainability/energy conservation agenda, with the move away from the Green Deal and zero carbon targets for domestic dwellings. Incremental improvements in Building Regulations and the uncertainty this creates is an obstacle to innovation. If developers had longer term goals to achieve (e.g. zero carbon non-domestic target by 2019) they could build that into their investment portfolios and confidently innovate to deliver the targets over time. If they do not know which way things are going to go they are reluctant to invest in innovation which keeps the cost of innovation elevated.
- Despite the move away from zero carbon in the UK there is a European Directive (Directive 2010/31/EU EPBD recast) for near zero energy public buildings from Jan 2019 onwards and that all new buildings are near zero-energy from January 2021. http://www.epbd-ca.eu/themes/nearly-zero-energy
- Energy centres are commonplace in German cities which makes it easier for new developments to connect thereby taking advantage of the efficiencies these can offer. The London Plan is driving this and as a result we see more examples of district schemes – Kings Cross, Olympic Park and Crystal Palace amongst many others. This is the level of infrastructure and the sort of long term strategy required to really make a difference.
- An audience member remarked that the design guidance for buildings is over complicated and how can we expect to measure this in reality once the building is occupied. Perhaps if we keep the requirements achievable and the metrics simple it would motivate building owners and their designers to consider the Performance In Use aspects more often. As it is it’s a costly and somewhat complex exercise.
- Some of our audience claimed that they are being asked for TM54 assessments and Soft Landings on projects other than schools, which indicates perhaps an enlightened client.
We also had a few questions related to VE capability and application;
- Q: Can the Priority Schools Building Programme Climate Based Daylight Modelling requirements be adequately demonstrated using Radiance despite the fact that blinds are not represented in Radiance?
- A: Our view is that the correct approach is to assess the design first without blinds to get the baseline level of UDI performance. It is reasonable to assume that whenever the 3000 lux threshold is exceeded blinds or similar would be in operation to mitigate glare.Having said that we are looking to develop this capability and reduce the calculation time. We will also look into producing a Schools Navigator which pulls all of the different requirements into one place.
- Q: Questions were raised about the implementation and applicability of ApHVAC.
- A: We are seeing an increase in interest and use of ApHVAC in the UK, often in relation to TM54 and/or Soft Landings. My recommendation would be to have another look at the module. This auto size demo video from 2 years ago which suggests that robust sizing of plant can be carried out early in the design process. If you have questions or would like a demo please get in touch.
Due to the success of this Faculty we have decided to take the event to Glasgow on Tuesday 17th November so I look forward to seeing some of you there. You can get your free tickets here: http://ow.ly/TLsGC
Got a design guidance question you’d like to ask Sarah? Use the comments section below.