At Lawler Sustainability we recognise that buildings need to be designed, constructed and operated in an energy-efficient manner that will achieve an internal environment that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable to occupy, while having minimum effect on the environment. Our team have the knowledge and skillset to ensure sustainability is embedded in a holistic way. Making energy-conscious decisions early on in a project can contribute greatly to the sustainability of a building. We work closely with our internal design experts and many external design teams from early-stage to completion to ensure successful sustainable development. The introduction of ‘Nearly Zero Energy Buildings’ (NZEB) as part of the update to the Irish Building Regulations has meant a re-evaluation of the building design industry. Sustainability is now at the forefront of Building Services Engineering.
Advanced Energy Modelling
There is an increasing demand from building users for safe, healthy and efficient buildings which meet the needs of those who occupy them. This demand to demonstrate better building performance includes health and well-being as well as carbon, energy and waste reduction.
Advanced Energy Modelling goes beyond building regulations to precisely detail the predicted end-use of each energy consumer within a building, across a year. This has significant value to the user/client by enabling building energy targets to be tracked against actual usage, ultimately tracking the ‘performance gap’.
Our sustainability team uses this approach for ASHRAE 90.1 PRM LEED Energy Modelling. We are also applying this approach to an innovative new scheme in the UK called Design for Performance (DfP) which is based on the highly successful Australian NABERS rating system. The National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) measures the true environmental performance of Australian buildings. For over 20 years, it has helped Australian business and government demonstrate their commitment to saving.
The Design for Performance (DfP) initiative is an industry-funded and backed project established to tackle the performance gap and provide an approach, based on measurable performance outcomes, to ensure new office developments deliver on their design intent.
Building Energy Ratings (BER)
We have several Building Energy Rating (BER) assessors who produce a building’s energy rating. Preliminary BER Certificates can be provided using a simplified Building Energy Model which gives a quick turnaround assessment at the pre-planning stage. For complex buildings that involve natural ventilation and complex building structures, we use integrated environmental simulation (IES) which allows a much more advanced computer simulation of the building. In all cases, the Building Energy Rating will be accompanied by a detailed report. The report identifies building improvements and investment options for the client, to improve the building’s performance and reduce running costs.
Public bodies occupying buildings over 1,000m2 are required to exhibit a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) in a prominent place, clearly visible to the public. The DEC is intended to encourage public authorities to adopt environmentally responsible and efficient use of energy in buildings. The DEC is based on the measured energy use, where the actual energy consumed in the building is compared to a benchmark for similar buildings and shown on the certificate A1 – G scale in terms of primary energy. There is also a CO2 indicator which shows the CO2 emissions associated with a building’s energy consumption.
We are also qualified to produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) in the UK.
Part L/ NZEB Compliance & Optimisation
NZEB means a building that has a very high energy performance, where the nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent, by energy from renewable sources which has been incorporated into the latest edition of Part L.
Our sustainability team undertake Part L Compliance Reports for residential and commercial clients. The reports analyse energy, carbon and renewable requirements and provide optimum building solutions for our clients to ensure compliance.
We analyse the building form, orientation, window sizing and design using the fabric first approach that consists of passive energy, natural ventilation strategies, window sizing and glazing selection, and U value specifications in order to reduce energy use while improving comfort and triggering compliance. This also includes optimal renewable system selections, Part L Compliance and BER Rating.
We provide overheating assessments for all types of buildings, which help to ensure buildings are designed to prevent overheating and minimise the use of mechanical cooling. An overheating assessment uses a dynamic thermal model to analyse the temperature reached in a building over summer and assess if the rooms overheats, according to a set of defined criteria (CIBSE TM52).
Buildings can also be assessed against overheating criteria in predicted future climate change scenarios, up until 2080.
Thermal Bridge Modelling
Part L performance requirements have increased the demand for Thermal Bridge Modelling. Our sustainability team undertake these calculations to resolve issues with building junctions and demonstrate compliance, while significantly contributing towards energy-efficient and sustainable buildings.
In an airtight and insulated home, thermal bridges can account for heat loss of up to 30%. Thermal bridging should be avoided whenever possible. Proper planning, design and construction are essential to help identify and remedy thermal bridges. Care should be taken throughout the construction to ensure thermal brides are not created at any point during the build process.
Thermal bridging generally occurs when there is a break-in, or penetration of the building envelope (e.g. insulation).
Thermal bridges can be caused by:
- The junctions between the wall and floor;
- The junctions between the wall and roof;
- Holes in the building envelope for pipes and cables;
- Window and door reveals;
- Steel wall ties used in masonry construction (e.g. cavity walls).
Councils may request further information to support planning applications for projects that have possible impacts on the rear gardens and internal daylight of neighbouring properties, this is known as the right to daylight.
Our work has helped developers and architects to identify these issues with the analysis of the annual probable sunlight hours in accordance to planning regulations: Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight: A Guide to Good Practice (BRE 1991) and Lighting for Building Part 2 1992: Code of Practice for Daylighting B.S. 8206.
This analysis can be carried out prior to design stage to avoid issues at planning stage.
Lawler Sustainability have undertaken assessments of the building fabric, engineering systems and renewable technologies for numerous dwellings.
The intention of these assessments is to provide a path to compliance while also going beyond compliance to determine the viability of passive and active assessments to help our clients to save money without compromise.
Glint and Glare Analysis
Integrated computer simulation (IES) software is used to model the building. We can find glare issues and provide the guidance to avoid it externally for pedestrians and traffic, and internally for the building user’s comfort. This analysis could be carried out during concept, design and planning stage and its result depends on building orientation, massing and neighbouring properties.
Our sustainability team prepares glint and glare assessment and support you in the building permit process and answer all questions regarding solar glaring.
Daylight and Sunlight Analysis
A Daylight and Sunlight Assessment is required by councils for planning when proposed buildings may negatively influence the existing daylight of neighbouring properties. It can also be used to determine adequate daylight in workplaces.
The assessment will be based on a 3 dimensional model and will be undertaken in line with the BRE Guide- ‘Site layout planning for daylight and sunlight: A guide to good practice, 2011- 2nd edition’ (2011) and British Standard BS 8206-02 ‘Lighting for buildings – Part2: Code of practice for daylighting’ (2008).
Calculations will analyse the average daylight factors, uniformity ratios as well as varying room depths and how this affects daylighting results.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models detailed airflow within a space and is an excellent tool for predicting HVAC performance. It uses applied mathematics, physics and computational software to visualise how a gas or liquid flows – as well as how the gas or liquid affects objects as it flows past.
Our sustainability team assess critical aspects such as occupant comfort, air mixing and air distribution which can be assessed for all shapes of spaces. This is particularly important in atria, swimming pools, auditoriums and sports halls.