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BSRIA is active in trying to help in the Building Schools for the Future Programme with specific reference to getting the as-used performance of new schools nearer to the design intent. Our schools champion, Roderic Bunn has just taken part in a BBC Radio 4 edition of 'Costing the Earth' which focused on this particular problem.
You can listen to the full half hour programme using the 'Listen Again' feature on the BBC website (available until Monday 2 February).
It is not only schools that have the problem of managing the complexity of systems that incorporate diverse and new technologies intended to lower carbon footprint, the same is true of any building that introduces technologies unfamiliar to the users. Low Carbon Engineering is about a holistic approach to design that includes the long-term view of how systems will interact and be intelligently used by those who live in the spaces.
There is a view that some of the present pressures to innovate in design, such as the Merton Rule, lose sight of the reality of living with the results. Just as there are sound reasons to employ whole life costing rather than first costs in the sustainability debate, there are similar good reasons to include operational usability aspects of operation in design. The problem is how do we quantify this and make it simple to do?