Background to the competition

The Technology Strategy Board has committed up to £8m to fund the costs of building performance evaluation studies on domestic and non-domestic buildings.

Funding covers the total cost of evaluating the performance and is intended to help builders and developers to deliver more efficient, better performing buildings. All studies will be required to use specified protocols, tools and techniques to capture data in a comparable form. 

Studies on domestic buildings cover either the period immediately post construction and into early occupation or a period of two years in-use for buildings less than two years old. Similarly, non-domestic building studies are either for buildings under construction and nearing completion or those in use and no more than three  years old. 

The aim is to assemble a substantial body of data for many building types to draw generic conclusions on the performance obtained through various design strategies, building fabric, target performances, construction methods and occupancy patterns, handover and operational practices. This will be shared across the industry with a view to providing reliable information to enable improvements in the performance of new and refurbished buildings through specification, design, delivery and operation.

One hundred projects have been accepted for evaluation, with a range of project teams including housing associations, commercial and public sector clients, architects and universities. The competition is now closed to new entrants and we have started to publish the results.

1.       What does the competition cover? The studies are on new and recently constructed domestic and non-domestic buildings (and in the case of non-domestic buildings also buildings that have been significantly refurbished to improve energy performance).

2.       How many buildings will have been evaluated?
About 100 buildings, which will provide the largest body of comparable case study information of this type ever.  

3.       Who has received funding through this competition?
Funding has gone to individual companies and other organisations responsible for buildings, for the total cost of evaluating the performance of case study buildings they design, build, own and/or operate. Evaluation includes fabric energy performance, ventilation and air tightness, efficiency and operational control of installed plant and equipment, whole building energy performance, comfort and usability experienced by occupants.

4.       What will applicants get out of the evaluation?
Individual studies will provide applicants with a better insight into what works and what doesn't and so help them to deliver better performing buildings.  Builders and developers will be able to make better cost/benefit decisions and produce better performing, commercially competitive buildings.

5.       What will the Technology Strategy Board do with the data?
Data and information collected in the studies will be collated and interrogated as part of the programme, on an ongoing basis, so that we can draw generic conclusions on the performance of various design strategies, building fabric, target performances, construction methods and occupancy patterns, handover and operational practices. 

6.       Will this information be available to the industry?
These will be shared across the industry with a view to providing reliable information, improving understanding across the sector and closing the loop between theory and practice, thus making the task of delivering zero carbon new buildings more readily and widely achievable. This competition aims to benefit the whole sector and to enable the energy performance bar to be raised reliably across all building types.

7.       What is the timetable for publishing the results?
Summary outputs are now being published by the TSB and are available on this website

8.       How will you ensure that the data is comparable?
We have a set of common tools, protocols and techniques that will be used across the Building Performance Evaluation programme to ensure a common basis for information capture, thus ensuring that information obtained through the studies will be consistent and can be collated and analysed effectively. These tools have been extensively developed through the programme on the experience we have gained.

9.       What will companies learn from participating in the competition?
We are encouraging companies applying to participate in the programme to use this as an opportunity to skill-up their own staff and to embed both evaluation practices and the learning about building performance, derived through their application, into their organisations. This will result in short term benefits to participating companies through increased in-house knowledge and ability to deliver genuinely high performing low carbon buildings.


Background and Challenge

10.    Why are you focussing on Building Performance Evaluation?
The UK Government has set challenging targets for improving sustainability and limiting anthropogenic climate change, starting with the goal of achieving an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the UK by 2050, with an intermediate goal of 26% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.
About 45% of the UK's CO2 emissions come from buildings and the Technology Strategy Board's Low Impact Building Innovation Platform is running a number of competitions for funding to stimulate innovation towards achieving these goals whilst simultaneously improving the competitiveness of UK companies.
A key challenge is to ensure that building designs lead to physical buildings that perform as intended.

11.    Why does building performance need to be evaluated?
There is typically a significant discrepancy between the predicted energy performance of a building (and hence its C02 emissions) and its measured performance. These discrepancies arise from a variety of sources, ranging from the design and modelling tools used in the design of the building, through buildability, build process and build quality, systems integration and commissioning, handover and operation, to the understanding, comfort and motivation of occupants. 

12.    Has the Technology Strategy Board carried out any relevant work in this area?
In 2009 the Low Impact Building Innovation Platform awarded funding to deliver improved design and decision tools as a significant step in equipping design teams with the means to deliver low impact building designs. They have also funded comparable programmes on domestic retrofit - Retrofit for the Future - and public buildings - Energy Efficient Whitehall, and have a new programme 'Invest in Innovative Refurb'