CIBSE Young Energy Performance Group dragons' den debate

CIBSE Young Energy Performance Group dragons' den debate

28/04/2014 Written by: Lindsey Malcolm

The CIBSE Young Energy Performance Group, in conjunction with BuroHappold and UK-Green Building Council, held a lively and engaging dragons’ den debate session concerning environmental rating systems for buildings. The theme of the event was to focus on what needs to be done to ensure the current crop of rating systems help rather than hinder development in the industry.

The event built on the well attended and informative debate held by the UK-GBC in 2013 regarding the future of rating tools. Their preliminary debate concluded that rating tools are required but currently do not fulfil their objectives. In response to this conclusion the YEPG set out to find ideas from industry experts and through a young member focussed debate find agreement on what should be considered to bridge the perceived gap in current and desired capability of building rating systems.

On the night a panel of seven speakers from across the building industry each pitched a specific idea that they felt could enhance existing building rating systems with regards to design, assessment or operational performance. A diverse range of ideas were put forward covering the whole scope of energy issues:

  • Creation of simpler, faster and cheaper methodologies, more focused on sustainable outcomes
  • Use of voluntary display energy certification as an incentive to drive down energy in operation
  • Focus on financial drivers, associate environmental impact to something that everyone can relate to: money
  • Allowing building owners to benchmark their energy consumption the way they see fit for their users, like-for-like comparison
  • Consider the issue from a developer and occupier perspective: what do ratings mean to those occupying buildings 
  • Highlight the benefits of a soft landings approach and the use of an ‘Energy Risk Register’ to steer the design focus
  • Use one single freely available software tool that has multiple and extendible capabilities in order to standardise the analysis.

The following debate was lively and equally diverse questioning mandates rather than voluntary approaches, the need for skilled individuals in the right roles, how best to engage people, how to handle residential stock and the significance of using existing mechanisms rather than creating new ones.

The overriding themes coming out of the evening were:

  1. The need for a simple standardised approach
  2. Improvement in existing benchmarks and metrics against which performance is measured
  3. To focus on the occupants and end users and ensure they are engaged

What was clear from the night is that there are numerous tangible ways that we can strive to improve Building Rating Systems. As a follow up the YEPG, in conjunction with the UK-GBC, are pulling together a short position paper to take these results forwards.

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