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A tale of two civic buildings
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A tale of two civic buildings

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Session 14 Paper 2, University College London, 16-17 April 2015

This paper uses a forensic building performance evaluation (BPE) approach to undertake a comparative evaluation of the in-use energy and environmental performance data (collected over two years) of two civic buildings located in Southeast England – a small community centre (<1000m2) and a medium-sized public library building (~4500m2). Both buildings are designed to high sustainability standards (EPC A rating) achieving measured air-permeability rates of ~5m3/hr.m2, leading to low heating demand, which is met by on-site low/zero carbon technologies.
The BPE study reveals similar building performance issues across the two buildings, related to poor documentation of ‘as-built’ drawings, poor handover and guidance, problems with integrating and maintaining new technologies (heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal) and lack of calibration of sub-meters. However the actual energy use of the community centre is similar to the design prediction, while in the case of the library building, actual energy use is almost double the prediction. This is because the community centre management team overcame some of the issues through their continuous engagement and interest in the building’s performance, whereas the management team of the Library building failed to engage with energy management, resulting in disuse of the biomass boiler and the solar thermal system.
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