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"Building performance must deliver occupant comfort at reduced costs"

Building performance must deliver occupant comfort at reduced costs, say industry experts at Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers Conference (CIBSE).

CIBSE’s Leadership in Building Performance Conference and Exhibition event, held at the QEII Conference Centre, from the 28th to 29th October 2014, brought together experts from across the built environment to discuss the challenges and opportunities of delivering building performance.

A recurring theme discussed at CIBSE’s new flagship event was that whilst carbon targets and environmental concerns are important, they should not be met by compromising financial performance or occupant comfort.

Ed Gray, Head of Carbon and Energy for Marks and Spencer, CIBSE’s 2014 Carbon Champion of the Year, outlined the clear business rationale behind the retailer’s ‘Plan A’ scheme for energy efficiency, which is expected to bring savings of £145m in 2013/14.

But he made clear that savings are not being made at the expense of customer satisfaction and that it is “vital to create a positive store environment which improves the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers”.

On a similar note, Richard Francis, of consultancy Monomoy, stressed that carbon reduction targets needed to be “aligned with occupant and consumer performance” in order to get wider uptake.

Jonathan Hines of Architype reinforced this point in another session, arguing that overemphasis on carbon or energy targets could lead to use of technologies which in fact made little sense in terms of finance or comfort or even energy.

Other key sessions covered:

-       the future of housing and delivering occupant comfort in a warming climate;

-       the importance of collaboration in overcoming the challenges of delivering Level 2 BIM;

-       the future of power networks and electricity supply, including the challenges of connected distributed generation assets to the grid in a growing number of areas.

The event concluded with a series of presentations of new technological approaches to measuring and monitoring energy use in buildings, which stimulated much discussion between speakers and delegates.

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