Services Design Associates are actively involved in the current drive to improve the sustainable development of buildings and provide energy from renewable and alternative sources.
Due to the nature of building services, invariably the systems designed as part of the normal course of our work are consumers of energy and therefore, careful consideration must be given to the energy efficiency of the schemes designed. This aspect of building services design has been enhanced in recent years by government driven initiatives to reduce energy consumption in line with a commitment to reduce global energy consumption. Within the UK this has recently been driven by changes to Building Regulations and by the increasing availability of cost effective energy saving solutions. SDA are fully aware of their responsibility to encourage the use of energy efficient systems where these are practical and can deliver proven cost effective energy efficiency. The design process for energy efficient systems and buildings requires a holistic approach and not merely the inappropriate specification of a number of high profile ‘badged’ green or energy efficient products and services.
Sustainable development is of course about more than merely energy efficiency and encompasses the whole effect of a development upon the environment. This includes the energy used in production of materials, effective usage and avoidance of wastage of resources, impact upon the local environment etc. This is becoming an increasingly considered aspect of all developments and is particularly considered on many education and healthcare developments.
In effecting sustainable design we can undertake the development of passive building services design strategies, development of Part L compliance strategies and development of energy recovery techniques and solutions. We can also carry out reviews of low carbon and renewable technologies, and establish energy consumption or carbon use targets for design an operation of the building. These techniques can be applied to either existing or new built buildings although clearly the approach will be very different for each. We can provide advice on grant and funding support opportunities.
It is a well-known fact that the capacity to continue the production of energy from fossil fuel sources is limited. Currently available alternative technologies cannot meet the demands of our modern consumer based society. The following is a quote from Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, Director of EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association, responsible for the UK fusion research programme:
“We need to increase expenditure on everything, wind, solar and waves. If you look at the money that is going into energy in R&D, it is totally negligent if you consider the entire energy market. I think that it is less than 0.3% – I am talking about public funding as most long-term research is publicly funded. My starting position is that it is incredible that energy R&D budgets have gone down during a period that we have understood about global warming. It is easier to see the writing on the wall with fossil fuels running out. What high tech industry, especially one facing a crisis, is spending 0.3% of its turnover on research? So my plea would be that it is ridiculous having arguments about it being better in this than that, as far as I can see, just tackle the energy problem.”
A number of experts now predict that oil production will peak in the foreseeable future (2020-2030) and current alternatives are far less efficient in terms of energy produced against energy invested (EROI), hence energy efficiency will become far more significant in the race to maintain an energy balance for our planet.