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OPINION Your letters

Don’t blame building owners for energy use The suggestion that ‘the carbon emissions declared on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) should be verified by measurement of actual energy consumption’ clearly makes sense (Journal, July, page 22 However, the further opinion

expressed that ‘appropriate penalties should be applied to the owner’ of a building where measured emissions do not coincide with the declared figures is, in my view, the exact opposite of the real solution. As a Display Energy

Certificate assessor, I am consistently producing operational ratings for relative new builds that are massively worse than the asset rating indicated on the EPC. The building owners are desperately trying to achieve the designed efficiency and have no idea why they are not. They feel let down by the designers, builders and engineers, who have lumbered them with a problem they don’t know how to overcome. Owners are already penalised

by higher energy costs, by increased costs of trying to get the building to perform, and, above all, by the frustration this brings. Any penalty needs to apply to the contractor(s) responsible for supplying the owner/occupier with a building that is underperforming. And the onus has to be on commissioning to ensure the occupier is provided with a building that performs as it should, as well as on training to instil the knowledge to keep it that way. I am seeing buildings that

are not capable of achieving designed efficiencies for reasons outside the control of the occupier, and occupiers who have been given the keys to a building they have not been taught how to operate. The solution is to monitor

energy consumption for a suitable period after occupation, and not to complete handover until the ‘experts’ have actually got the building performing as designed. The occupier will need to be trained how to ‘keep it working’ – but it is not acceptable to expect them to ‘get it working’. Ian Sturt

Equipment is a wind-up I have yet to meet not only an engineer but any thinking person who has a good word to say about wind turbines and wind farms – whether on or off shore. Governments are spending millions of pounds of our money on very expensive equipment that has an operating efficiency far below levels that would be acceptable in any other electro-mechanical device. Every month I open the Journal hoping to read an argument, discussion or debate on this, but nothing. Is CIBSE ‘looking the other way’? Ray Welby

Good lighting a team effort An update to Lighting of Indoor Work Places is most welcome, but the sweeping comments on the competence and expertise of contractors made by Iain Macrae are a little unfair (Journal, September, page 35). Contractors are usually the people who have to make sense of ill-conceived lighting concepts and contradictory specifications, which are the norm rather than the exception. A more positive move would be to bring end-user clients, designers, manufacturers and contractors closer together, to ensure that the lighting and control solutions are appropriate to the task, occupants, physical environment and energy targets. Kevin Wright


It does make sense for a product supplier to tell its customers to use less equipment – particularly if we are serious about cutting emissions, writes Martin Fahey of Mitsubishi Electric, sponsor of this column

It may seem strange for a manufacturer of heating,

cooling, ventilation and power generation systems to say to its customers ‘use less equipment’, but that is exactly the message that Mitsubishi Electric is urging everyone involved in the built environment to take on board. Our Green Gateway philosophy

asks everyone involved in the industry – from architects, consultants, specifiers, installers, facilities managers, building owners and individual households – to ‘do the right thing’ with regards to energy use by adopting a ‘lean, mean and green’ approach. Existing buildings are crucial to making a difference and have their part to play by avoiding ‘locking in’ poor performance. There are 26m

homes and 1.8m commercial buildings already in existence. These buildings are an area where we are able to make a real difference quickly, and they should be viewed as a priority, especially when you consider that around 75% of existing buildings will still be in use for the next 40 years at least. It is also clear that the fabric

of these existing buildings is an excellent place to start. Improvements in insulation can often be achieved simply and cost- effectively, and can make a real difference to energy bills and use. This ‘lean’ approach will ensure that less equipment will be needed to offset the loads that remain – something we fervently believe is the right approach to generating truly sustainable buildings. Since we launched the first

phase of the Green Gateway in 2007, our customers have applied initiatives that have reduced CO2 by 85,000 tonnes (as of March 2011) and cut running costs by £12m in the buildings of the ultimate end-user of the solutions provided. So it can be done, and it can help to save on running costs. Once the energy efficiency of

Since 2007 our customers have applied initiatives that have reduced CO2 by 85,000 tonnes

the building’s envelope has been improved, the next step is to be ‘mean’ by correctly deploying and monitoring the most effective and efficient equipment for that building. This may mean simply using what is already there more efficiently by adding more effective controls. Old technology could be changed for more modern, energy efficient equipment. The use of fossil fuel on site, with its relatively

high direct emissions, can be removed in favour of lower carbon alternatives. However, until you start to

monitor and examine energy use, it is impossible to know how to use it more efficiently. Engaging fully with the users of the system gives a vital link towards achieving long-lasting reductions. Lastly, we urge everyone to be

‘green’ by incorporating low and zero-carbon technologies where possible, to create some or all of the energy required. If you would like to join the debate, visit www.greengateway.


November 2011 CIBSE Journal


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