Corus develops strategy for energy efficient, low carbon buildings

Corus develops strategy for energy efficient, low carbon buildings

Following the announcement of the UK Government’s Low Carbon Transition Plan in July 2009 - which set out targets to reduce Britain’s carbon emissions by 18% by 2020 - research undertaken by Corus Colors has culminated in a new technical paper that establishes a strategy to help minimise the carbon emissions from new buildings, working around the optimisation of building envelope efficiency.

Nearly half of all UK energy consumption is related to the operational use of buildings, and government guidance and legislation is therefore putting great emphasis on the need to improve the energy efficiency of buildings as a means of significantly reducing emissions.

In a bid to meet these challenges, Corus Colors has published a brand new technical paper - ‘An approach to the design of cost effective low carbon buildings’ - which looks at the challenges faced in reducing the carbon emissions of buildings, and provides guidance on practical measures that can be implemented at the design stage of any new building to effectively improve energy efficiency and reduce the associated CO2 emissions. Given the current economic climate, the paper also considers the most cost effective measures that can be put in place to achieve these goals.

According to Corus, the key to reducing CO2 emissions is to address energy performance at the concept design stage, and then to develop an energy reduction strategy, focusing on optimising envelope efficiency, which can then be used to form an integral part of the whole design process.

This strategy should focus on four main issues:

1. Reducing service demand - careful assessment of the requirements for a building’s internal operating environment can result in a significant reduction in energy demand and associated CO2 emissions. Priorities should focus on minimising demand for heating, ventilation and artificial lighting.
2. Optimising envelope efficiency - minimising heat loss through the building envelope is a priority in any building design. An effective solution will automatically reduce the need for artificial heating and lighting systems along with associated energy consumption.
3. Maximising service efficiency - the next design priority should be to focus on specifying the most energy efficient means of delivery of heating, lighting and ventilation.
4. Sourcing low carbon energy - even when a building has been designed to minimise its operational energy requirements, there will always be a residual demand for energy that requires electrical power and heat. It therefore becomes necessary to identify an external source of energy that generates either no or low levels of CO2 emissions. Solutions available include perforated Transpired Solar Collectors, photovoltaics, wind turbines, solar thermal panels and heat pumps.

In following this clear set of steps, Corus believes that designers and building owners can meet the minimum requirements for energy efficiency as stipulated by governing legislative requirements. A correctly implemented energy reduction strategy will also serve to future proof any building against changing building requirements in the future.

Ian Clarke, Applications Development Manager at Corus Colors, comments: “The purpose of this technical paper is to provide building designers with some straightforward, practical and cost effective steps which should be considered at the design stage of any building, in order to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. The majority of projects we work on revolve around the building envelope, and so we took maximising efficiency of that as a base, and developed steps around it to create this energy reduction strategy.

“Our aim is to demonstrate that these steps, if taken at the design stage of any building, can really make a difference to the energy efficiency of that structure and operational carbon emissions.”

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