Wednesday evening saw the first in the Rethinking Energy Performance series of lectures from the CIBSE Young Energy Performance Group hosted at The Bartlett, UCL. It was my first experience of chairing an event and the last two weeks had been a little chaotic getting things ready on time. There was also a certain amount of pressure to deliver a good start to the series which I hope we managed.
The theme of the evening was User Behaviour: Do people matter? in relation to the energy performance of buildings. Kevin Couling from AECOM was our first speaker who gave a very balanced overview of why people matter and why they don’t (at times). He also highlighted the need to be able to quantify the value of behavioural interventions in relation to both capital and operational costs so they are not engineered out.
Our second speaker was Ted Brown, Chairman of the Energy Savings Trust whose focus was more on the domestic sector. Ted highlighted that people are not just a typical user but that groups play a role in changing behaviour such as communities and companies. While Ted gave his own examples I still love the case study done by Ginsters to improving employees health and lifestyles through a range of exercise programmes (turns out eating too many free pasties isn’t great for your health). He also highlighted that the energy consumption associated with water makes up 28% of a households energy consumption and queried why this isnt included under the smart meter rollout.
The final speaker was Carrie Behar, a PhD student at UCL Energy Institute who talked about her case study of the Barbican housing development. She highlighted there were a considerable number of hard to treat homes that will require deep energy efficiency retrofits but due to their status or location may not allow changes to the building fabric. The homes had an amazing lack of control over their heating systems and people would always find a way around these systems to achieve comfort, and these often result in large energy impacts.
The main point from the evening that resonated with me came from Kev’s presentation – Behaviour is the next big challenge for young engineers and architects. I would also add designers to this list myself as products and services can play a key role in this field. Obviously I am hugely biased as this is the field I am moving back into, especially in relation how people consume heat in their homes. All in all it was a great evening and I hope that you can join us for our next CIBSE YEPG event the Performance Gap: Does it really exist?
If you would like to view the presentations from the CIBSE YEPG event you can find them here: http://cibse-yepg.org/our_events.html