Skip to content

CIBSE is currently upgrading its IT systems to improve core customer functions and increase efficiency and effectiveness. This will mean some website services will be offline until Monday 25 July. Help

CIBSE and WRAP collaborate to produce guidance on resource efficiency in the built environment

New guidance on the principles, importance and opportunities of the resource efficiency of building services was launched this week, at the National Union for Students, Kings Cross, London. TM56: Resource efficiency of building services is the outcome of a collaboration between CIBSE and WRAP, the UK’s resource efficiency experts.

TM56 explores the impacts of building services in terms of manufacturing, construction, maintenance and disposing of the equipment at end of life. It describes the principles and importance of resource efficiency and sets out the opportunities for improvement relating to heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and lifts and escalators.

This publication reflects the growing pressure on resources and the desire to shape resource-efficient and more circular economies. The potential business opportunities from construction are huge. New regulatory requirements and the increasing demand for lower impact products are forecast to grow the global sustainable building industry at an annual rate of 22.8% between now and 2017.


Sarah Clayton, Head of Products and Services at WRAP, commented:

"What we build, how we build it and the products we use will come under enormous pressure to be energy efficient. However, it is important to focus on more than just energy efficiency; some products use more energy in the extraction of raw material and manufacturing process than they potentially save throughout their operation."

David Cheshire of AECOM and lead author of TM56 said:

“Focusing on energy efficiency alone can mean turning a blind eye to other environmental impacts, including mining in areas of water stress, extracting and processing scarce raw materials and the release of toxic chemicals at the end of a product’s life. The aim of TM56 is to get a better sense of perspective by considering options with both eyes open.”

Copper, for instance, is used widely in building services for pipework and electrical wiring, but only 40% of new copper is from recycled material and it is estimated that 26% of the extractable copper from the earth's crust has been lost as waste. For more information and further examples see this recent supplement in the CIBSE Journal.

The launch event was kindly supported by AECOM and hosted by the National Union of Students (NUS) who moved into its retro-fitted office at Macadam House in Kings Cross in March 2013. Jamie Agombar, Ethical and Environmental Manager at the NUS, gave a talk about the range of innovative features that haves been incorporated into its new Headquarters to improve building performance including a world-first agreement with Philips to deliver the UK’s first pay per lux lighting model that operates as a cradle to cradle system. Jamie also talked about the initiatives that the NUS is using to encourage university students across the UK to be more energy and resource efficient. He said:

“Students starting at university are going through a huge period of change in their life so it is the ideal opportunity to introduce energy efficient behavioural change. Last academic year, the Student Switch Off Campaign resulted in a 6% reduction in electricity usage on average across all the participating halls of residence.”

All of CIBSE’s published guidance, including TM56, is available for free as a free benefit for members (or for purchase by non-members) by visiting the CIBSE Knowledge Portal.