Post Occupancy Evaluation – The challenges of a ‘greener’ future

I joined BSRIA as a Graduate Engineer in January 2011. Prior to this I was studying for my PhD in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds.

An Appraisal of the performance of a ‘green’ office building

A summary of my research is given below:

The challenges of a ‘greener’ future are now a responsibility for everyone. This is particularly so for the built environment, where sustainable building design is no longer an innovative option but more of a legislative must. Unfortunately significant differences are often found between the design and measured performance of buildings, with many factors contributing towards these discrepancies.

The research work investigated, using Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) techniques, the credibility gap between design and measured performance of a partially occupied ‘green’ office building selected as the case study. The results found that the measured energy consumption was over three times the design estimates, and the performance compared poorly against good practice benchmarks for similar buildings. The study’s POE also revealed inefficient control settings, high out-of-hours energy consumption and ineffective building management.

This study went beyond a typical POE as it also includes investigations into how the occupancy variations, and the management strategies applied under these conditions, can impact on building energy performance through the use of simulation modelling techniques (IES<VE>). This is an area where very little research had previously been carried out. At the 50% occupancy levels found at the time the research was conducted, potential annual savings of over £30,000 in utility bills and 60% in energy consumption were estimated if more effective management and control was implemented.

Social-related aspects of building performance are also investigated. Occupant satisfaction and comfort surveys were conducted and the results were compared to previous findings. The perceived comfort and satisfaction with temperature was the most disappointing finding from the survey, however overall the building was comparable to the average benchmarks, but did not perform well when compared to other ‘green’ office buildings.

The study revealed the potential for the building to be fine-tuned to perform more efficiently than was at the time of the study, however there must be suitable, skilled Facility Management to ensure this is delivered.

For more information on Post Occupancy Evaluation/ Building Performance Evaluation…..

One Response to Post Occupancy Evaluation – The challenges of a ‘greener’ future

  1. Owaji Lysias Frank says:

    Sarah Birchall’s research findings could be summarised in one sentence to read; ‘Substantial annual savings in utility bills and energy consumption in the building studied could have been achieved if more effective management and control was implemented. The questions that agitated my mind are;
    1) How can effective management and control be achieved?
    2) What roles can a properly prepared O&M manual play in ensuring operability and maintainability?
    3) Should the O&M manual continue to be a document prepared to meet legal requirement rather than a necessary document that could enhance effective operation and maintenance?
    4) If so how can this be ensured?
    5) What would be the effects if the manual is preliminarily drafted during the design process, so that the design team becomes fully conscious of operability and maintainability?

    These are some of the research questions for my PhD research on; ‘Impact of operating and maintaining low carbon buildings’, at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment in the University of Nottingham.

    I should be happy to welcome comments from professionals in BSRIA or any building professional. I should be happy if you indicate your contact details, in case I need to follow up on your comments.

    Thank you for your comments!

    O.L. Frank
    +44 783 1982 350

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