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CarbonBuzz launches to packed audience at City Hall

Updated platform is easier to use and facilitates data analysis

Almost 170 people turned out last week to the launch of the revamped CarbonBuzz platform, reflecting a swell of interest in the building performance gap. Judit Kimpian of Aedas welcomed the audience with a quick overview of the online benchmarking tool’s seven year history, citing data which shows that actual building performance averages between 1.5 and 2.5 times predicted performance. The development of CarbonBuzz has been led by architects who represented about 15 per cent of the audience.

Kimpian highlighted recent Technology Strategy Board monitoring results which show that in the education sector, between £50,000 and £70,000 per year per building can be saved by tracking data and resolving problems in the first year. Kimpian said, ‘Our key achievement has been to put real energy use on stakeholders’ radar – we have made data look ‘cool’ not just because of the graphical nature of the site and the outstanding projects we have been able to showcase but because of the scale of the scandal it has helped us reveal.’

Justin Snoxall of British Land cited the challenge of ensuring performance on five recently completed BREEAM Excellent buildings. By aggressively tackling the issue and using the CarbonBuzz platform to track performance, British Land has reduced landlord energy use in these buildings by 38 per cent. Snoxall noted the critical importance of an integrated approach to metering between base build and occupied fitout. Even when tenants are willing, getting accurate data is still not common practice.  

Ian Taylor of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios explained the practice’s use of CarbonBuzz to track the performance of office, school and university projects noting that CarbonBuzz facilitates analysis and benchmarking. Many familiar themes emerged. Out of hours energy consumption, often not considered at design stage, is a significant factor, as are unregulated electric and ICT loads. Ambiguous controls for window operation and faulty sensors are often the source of ongoing problems.

The event concluded with a demonstration of the platform by Aedas’ Sophie Chisholm who stressed the user-friendly aspect of the revamped platform, which now has a ‘traffic light system’ so that users can keep track of where they are on their ‘upload journey.’ The best is to try it out yourself.

As of the launch, over 600 projects have been uploaded on CarbonBuzz, including several property portfolios. The Environment Agency has committed to upload its portfolio. CarbonBuzz users have the option for data to remain anonymous, viewable only by the data provider, or to publish the data.

UCL Energy Institute is now responsible for the ongoing operation of CarbonBuzz. Paul Ruyssevelt of UCL noted that the Institute’s role will include carrying out regular audits of the site and providing periodic updates of research findings.

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