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Regulations and robust low-carbon buildings

Tuohy, Paul (2009) Regulations and robust low-carbon buildings. Building Research and Information, 37 (4). pp. 433-445. ISSN 1466-4321


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Building regulations and associated calculation methods have been rapidly evolving, driven in Europe by the European Union Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. As an example, the current UK regulations are explored in relation to buildings that are naturally ventilated, mechanically ventilated, or mechanically ventilated and cooled. The UK regulatory energy and carbon calculation methods are investigated using a standard office design with typical, best practice, and advanced building fabric and systems applied. The criteria and calculations for demonstrating avoidance of excessive temperatures in buildings that have no mechanical cooling are also explored. Observations are made on how the regulations may influence future adoption of mechanical cooling. Current regulatory methods can be subjective and limited in scope. For example, they do not include adaptive comfort criteria or uncertainties in parameters such as occupant behaviour, climate, internal gains from equipment, etc. A design methodology is proposed that addresses these issues and provides a capability parameter to quantify robustness. This capability parameter allows comparison of design options and provides an indication to building users of the limitations to a building's use beyond which mitigating action would have to be taken for performance to be maintained.