Strathclyde University Associates: Scottish Energy Systems Group
06/26/2010

A NEW FOCUS ON QUALITY: The building regulations update away back in 2002 introduced new flexibility into how compliance could be demonstrated.

Online PR News – 26-June-2010 – – A NEW FOCUS ON QUALITY: The building regulations update away back in 2002 introduced new flexibility into how compliance could be demonstrated. The novel carbon emissions based alternative offered a whole building approach to achieving targets compared to the prescriptive elemental approach which until then had been the only route. It occurred to many building design practitioners that traditional manual design calculation methods would not allow these opportunities to be fully explored.

Strathclyde University Associates: Scottish Energy Systems Group: Dynamic computer modelling and simulation tools obviously could have a part to play, but where to start? What computational tool to use? What about hardware requirements, recruitment, training? Thus the Scottish Energy Systems Group was established, with funding from The Scottish Executive and Strathclyde European Partnership, to provide guidance and support to the industry. The objective was to give the Scottish building design community a head start in producing a better quality of building design, incorporating more innovation and new ideas, and with confidence that the solution would work as intended.

Strathclyde University Associates: Scottish Energy Systems Group: Four years on, and a whole new set of regulations are being introduced, with target carbon emissions the only route to compliance. Now computer modelling is an almost indispensable tool for design evaluation, and indeed is becoming an integral part of the route to compliance (see article on New Building Regulations). Most of our members are using one of the various packages available, or at least have explored the possibilities via consultancy partnerships.
So what else is there to do?
Our philosophy from the outset has been total engagement with our members. That means not just putting on seminars and technology introduction workshops, valuable activities in themselves, but also
getting out into members’ offices and working on real projects, setting up the technology within their working environment, even lending them the necessary hardware.

Strathclyde University Associates: Scottish Energy Systems Group: Some members could now be described as pioneers; real leaders in the use of dynamic modelling tools applied to building systems design. Others have had a go, but things have fallen by the wayside, because in adopting the technology they did not adopt an integrated process to go with it. The focus was all on the tool, rather than on how modelling would fit into the overall design process. Starting up an airline is more than just deciding which aircraft to fly. Likewise, there is a lot more to consider in establishing building energy modelling than just which particular software package to go for. That is why, in this issue of HotNews, we are focussing on Quality Assurance (see article “Quality Assurance process for building modelling”). We want members to take a step back and look at how they are using their modelling tools. A good starting point would be to conduct an audit. And where to turn to for help with that? SESG of course! Even if you think you don’t have a problem, a half day of free, on-site consultancy could give you the reassurance you need. If you want to use modelling tools to develop Part L compliant designs, your modelling capabilities will be mission critical (in Scotland it will be Section 6, and a different route to compliance is being developed). We will continue to support this core service (we call it Supported Technology Deployment) with seminars on topical subjects (see the events section) which are often followed up by a technology introduction workshop that allows members to try out various computational approaches for themselves, and even to explore solutions to real live projects, with on-hand support from SESG staff. We will always seek to involve the “pioneers” in such events; they can relate the practicalities of reconciling business-as-usual with new ways of doing things. The usual pattern is that after attending a seminar, say on renewable technologies, a member sees benefits in being able to model, for example, building integrated renewables, and so attends a technology introduction workshop, led by an expert in the field. The next step is for the member to invite SESG staff to come to their office, help with installation of the software, ensure that quality assurance issues are dealt with, and leave the member up and running with a new capability, with occasional follow up sessions as required.

Strathclyde University Associates: Scottish Energy Systems Group: If you are a Scotland based building design practitioner, installer or manufacturer, no matter how small your organisation might be, you can benefit from this service. How? Very simply, by becoming a member. A simple audit of your current process or evaluation of your needs will start you off, and we will further support you as you move to adopt your chosen packages and integrate their use into your practice. If your needs could be met through a development effort, we may be able to do that for you too. If you would like to have a chat about joining, please contact us at: Jeremy@sesg.strath.ac.uk,
0141 548 5765.
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