Buro Happold director calls for step change to respond to 80% CO2 reduction target

Published:  06 November, 2008

In response to the latest Government target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, Andy Keelin, a director of Buro Happold, has called for a step change in building design to cut carbon-dioxide emissions.

Speaking at the launch of the practice’s ‘Designing the internal environment’ exhibition recently, he said, ‘We actively propose new initiatives, such as mandatory post-occupancy evaluations [POEs], to sit alongside existing measures, which we fully support, to ensure that the building environment can make a meaningful contribution to the Government’s ambitious carbon-reduction target of 80% by 2050.’

Mandatory POEs for new buildings and large-scale refurbishments are seen as a vital feedback loop, and legislation now strongly underpins the commercial and reputational need to make them a standard part of the design process for such projects. Their benefit is to make it possible to drive down energy and water consumption without compromising the comfort or productivity of occupants. POEs are relatively low in cost and should be included in design briefs or tender documents.

Andy Keelin also urges rigorous policing of EPCs and DECs from the new target date of January 2009. However, he highlights that only 246 assessors are currently qualified to carry out EPCs nationwide.

He also calls for future revision of Building Regulations to be tied more transparently to targets for CO2 and consumption to help justify current and future contributions made by the built environment to overall primary energy consumption and carbon reduction. He also wants feed-in tariffs to the electricity grid to stimulate investment in renewable energy sources.

With existing buildings forming over 90% of the national building stock, Andy Keelin says that airtightness and insulation levels must be improved. He also wants products such a phase-change materials to be retrofitted wherever possible and better use to be made of co-generation, district power stations and renewable energy sources.

For new projects, he stresses that multi-disciplinary experts should be involved in the early stages. This will drive the use of design tools such as building integrated modelling, auralisation, full sensory modelling and computational fluid dynamics to model the responses of low-energy systems and build confidence in energy and whole-life costs of buildings.

Public and private sectors should be encourage to invest in commercially grounded systems, materials and products such as smart building skins that respond to external environments, phase-change materials to stabilise internal environments and intelligent control systems to manage down demand.



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