Energy Efficent

One of the most important ways of reducing energy consumption is to reduce the need for fossil fuels by being more efficient. This means designing and building buildings which use energy more efficiently.

Insulation/ Air Tightness

Insulation and Airtightness are legislated through Part L of the Building Regulations which are enforced by building control. Insulation is about using materials which keep heat inside the building, such as lagging in domestic houses. Airtightness is concerned with keeping energy within the building by preventing warm air from leaking out of the building through gaps in the structure.

New buildings are assessed through the Simplified Building Energy Model, while houses are assessed through the SAP Rating. Insulation can be viewed as a highly cost effective solution in terms of energy/ carbon savings in terms of cost and maintenance.

Passive Solar Design

Passive solar is concerned with using the heat from the sun through the design of the building to reduce the need for powered heating or cooling systems. One approach is through the orientation of the building to use solar gain to minimise the requirement for mechanical heating and cooling. This is used in concert with material selection and the design of glazing.

Thermal mass is another approach which may be used. Materials can be used which absorb heat slowly during the day keeping the building cool and then releasing it slowly at night reducing the need for mechanical heating and cooling.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation can be used to replace or reduce the requirement for air conditioning systems. This can be done using a mixture of natural air currents or using wind to move the air through the building and keep it cool. This is an increasingly common approach to reduce or remove the need for mechanical ventilation which can be a high consumer of energy.

Natural Lighting

Natural lighting is concerned with using the design of the building to maximise the use of natural light. This reduces the requirement for artificial lighting.