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Building performance lecture identifies key areas for change

CIBSE was pleased to support the UCL Energy Institute public lecture, presented by Bill Bordass entitled: ‘Improving building performance: sparing no expense to get something on the cheap?'.

Last night Bill Bordass delivered a typically lively lecture at Christopher Ingold XLG2 Auditorium, London. A distinguished low-carbon expert, Bill has been named one of the most influential people in sustainability in the UK. The lecture analysed why the quest for low energy buildings is disrupted by bureaucracy and how this can be minimised by focusing on transparency and simplicity. 

Bill warned that the same issues have been ignored over decades and highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge through platforms such as CarbonBuzz. He said, "buildings are part of problem and they need to be part of the solution - but if we don't understand them, how can we improve them?"

Communication was a key area identified for achieving better building performance with transparency of results and measuring occupied buildings. Bill suggested the need for an Institute of Building Performance as it spans across the whole built environment. He described the solutions for building performance as being on the tip of tongues for a long time.

With government announcements about Part L of the Building Regulations imminent, Dr Bordass expressed the hope that there would be no increased requirements, on the basis that 'industry has enough to deal with'. 

Following the lecture, Stephen Selkowitz, head of the Commercial Building Systems Group at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, California, responded to Bill's points via a recording from Helsinki. His advice to think big, start small, act now was a suitable note to end the lecture, before the many points raised in the Q&A session.

Improving building performance will have significant economic, social and environmental benefits.  CIBSE, the body responsible for setting building performance standards and energy benchmarking, has been gathering evidence as to how simple improvements in building performance can contribute a real saving in energy usage.

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