We typically see a lot of projects at Construction Certificate Stage and when we review the plans at this phase the design is finished. So often we say, “if only we had had a look at this at concept stage” because at that point you make decisions that save energy/money for the life of the building.
There is no better time to influence the energy efficiency of a building than at the concept stage. Changes at concept stage cost very little and the benefits can be high. It reminds me of the value cost graph we shared in our last newsletter. Basically this tells us that at concept stage we can have the greatest influence (blue line) for the least cost (red line). As you can see from the graph, making improvements once the project is built and operating is more costly for a lesser effect. It’s still possible to make improvements later on but if the opportunity is there to influence at concept stage then the greatest benefit will be realised.
We have put this idea into practice and the latest Master Plan we’ve designed is for a large school camp which is effectively a village for 300 people. The distributed nature of the development presented challenges, however by breaking the project into local hubs we could reclaim waste heat in one area and use it in another. A central solar PV installation was planned and high efficiency heat pump systems were among the many components of the plan. It’s a very exciting project and we hope to show more in future newsletters.
Refer back to our earlier item on “Challenge conventional thinking”.