In developed countries buildings commonly account for 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. The built environment is a significant target when looking to reduce emissions. Yet many new buildings use twice as much energy and have double the carbon emissions than predicted. What is causing this energy performance gap? A study led by Prof David Coley of the University of Bath’s Centre for Energy & the Design of Environments suggests the ‘literacy’ of building modelling professionals should be addressed.

The UKGBC have launched a series of infographics with the aim to give clarity and perspective to the environmental challenge faced by the built environment. Statistics show 22% of UK carbon emissions come from the operational and embodied carbon of the built environment, with 10% of UK carbon emissions coming from the heating buildings alone.

Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive at the UK Green Building Council, says “it’s clear that there’s a large amount of important data that simply isn’t being collected. In many cases, the data that does exist has so much variation in time and scope as to make direct comparisons very tricky.”

Built2Spec, a new project co-ordinated by Nobatek, with technical guidance from BSRIA seeks to reduce the energy performance gap for both new buildings and retrofits. The Build2Spec consortium utilises technology connected to a virtual construction management platform (VCMP) supporting the collection and sharing of all project data, from initial design to the delivery. “The basic idea is to develop a process that makes it easier for the contractor on-site to achieve higher building standards without the need for an architect to inspect everything, while also allowing all associated parties to collaborate on a common platform to achieve better buildings.”

A new EU- framework for sustainable buildings, aimed at helping transform the building sector has launched its pilot phase. Level(s) is the culmination of a broad consultation with industry and the public sector, and focuses on sustainable buildings performance indicators across areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, resource and water efficiency as well as health and comfort. It aims to establish a ‘common language’ around what sustainable building means in practice – shifting the debate beyond energy performance.

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