The building performance challenge, put simply, is the need to create buildings which ultimately perform as sustainable, energy efficient and cost effective throughout their entire lifetime and meet the needs of building owners and occupiers. Meeting this challenge however, is far from simple.
As an industry, we are all aware that building controls are a highly effective solution to the challenge. However, if vital elements of the Building Energy Management System (BEMS) or other controls, such as sensors or detectors are left out at the design and build stage, the challenge instantly becomes more complex. Therefore, we need to ensure that everyone involved has a greater understanding of the importance and value of building controls.
Legislation and Industry Standards are a key element in the drive towards meeting the challenge. For example, BS EN 15232 Energy Performance of Buildings – Impact of Building Automation, Controls & Building Management, provides a detailed methodology to identify the potential energy savings of a wide range of controls and building automation technologies.
The standard also offers a method to define the minimum requirements of controls within different types of buildings, including offices, hospitals, schools and restaurants. Assigning classes, A – D, with C being the standard required in Part L of the building regulations, outlines a clear view of the benefits of controls at different levels and the energy and cost savings they can achieve.
This ability to provide evidence to state the true value of building controls, supported by a recognised standard when offering advice on the impact building controls have on building performance is invaluable.
Investment in training
However, even though such standards do exist, if we are to deliver high performing buildings, we need to invest in training. Through consistent training we can ensure the industry is equipped with highly qualified engineers who have the knowledge and skills needed to ensure controls operate effectively, to achieve energy savings and sustainable buildings.
With the right level of training our engineers will gain a full understanding of building controls, their importance, and the ability to apply them to gain their full potential within a building. However, it is also crucial to be able to understand the capabilities of different types of buildings because each building is unique and has its own set of requirements. We need to remember that building controls are not a one size fits all solution and will vary substantially depending on the demands of the building.
Investing in training means the industry will benefit from skilled and knowledgeable professionals with the ability and confidence to install effective controls relevant to the type of project to ensure that every building achieves maximum performance.
But we also need to invest in training to keep up to date with the latest technologies. With an ever changing need for high performing buildings the building controls industry needs to continue to evolve alongside the technology and training will be key to this continuous evolution.
Continuous investment and commitment to training is the only way that we can ensure we increase our knowledge and expertise and by doing so we can achieve more sustainable, energy efficient buildings which meet the building performance challenge.