About this book

The objective of this book is to fill in the gap between the prescriptive design guide and the building science textbook. Prescriptive guidelines are vulnerable in a field as broad as non-domestic building design, becoming unwieldy if every guideline carries too many qualifications and limitations. Understanding the principles behind such guidance allows the designer to apply his or her own qualifications, and increases the robustness of the advice. The guide is technical in that it deals with the processes and mechanisms which influence environmental performance and energy use in non-domestic buildings.

Stephen Hawking, the famous theoretical physicist, in his book A Brief History of Time, wrote on some of the most fundamental issues in the physics of the universe, using almost no equations or formulae. In Part One we have set ourselves a more modest task of discussing the use of energy in buildings making only minimal use of mathematics. It does not then, set out to provide the means of detailed quantitative analysis—other sources must be referred to for this purpose. A selected bibliography lists sources cited in the text.

In Part Two, the LT Method 2.0 is presented. This method offers a way to quantify the potential energy performance of non-domestic buildings at an early design stage. Data is read off from pre-computed graphs and together with a small data set of building parameters such as plan areas and façade glazing ratios, the annual energy use for heating, lighting, ventilation and cooling, can be predicted. The output is in primary energy which relates well to both cost and CO2 emissions. Case Studies in Part Three give a critical account of real buildings which demonstrate good energy design practice. They also illustrate the principles set out in Part One and in some cases the LT Method is applied to analyse the energy performance of the building retrospectively.

A view prevails that the architectural process tends to be isolated from the analytical support of the engineering and building science professions. Rather, the latter provide support in a reactive way accepting the basic concept and enabling it to be realised. However, there is growing evidence that the environmental performance of buildings is determined, to a considerable extent, at the conceptual stage. It is hoped that this book will provide support to the architect directly, and assist in a dialogue with the other professions, at this strategic phase in the design process.

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