Decisions made at specification and design stages set the foundation to maximising all building performance says Kerry Mashford
I write in support of the ‘Bridge the Gap’ campaign and your call for bravery. The vast majority of energy used in a building’s life cycle occurs when the building is in use. Yet the gap between predicted and actual energy usage can be very large, often quoted as double, and equally often is completely unknown.
Why does this matter? It is the actual energy used that costs the user money and contributes to the UK’s CO2 emissions. What can be done to bridge the gap? The root causes of manifest performance deficiencies often belong to earlier steps in the building delivery process, but the siloed nature of the industry means these are often not clear or addressable until ‘too late’. Decisions made at specification and design stages set the foundation to maximising all building performance - and influence the extent to which the performance gap can be closed.
When there is a whole system approach to building delivery - addressing eventual energy use at design, procurement, construction, commissioning, hand-over and operation - we will see the performance gap diminish. Once actual energy usage is really understood, it needs to be put in context with other, similar buildings. It is then we can share the genuine learning of what works, and what doesn’t. Being brave is worth the prize, to households, business and the government, of taming energy in-use.
I am delighted that you are able to bring this extremely important and surprisingly poorly acknowledged issue into the spotlight. I wish you every success in the campaign and would be happy to share NEF’s experiences that relate to this topic.
- Kerry Mashford, chief executive, National Energy Foundation