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19 May 2011

Mott MacDonald wins funding for building performance evaluation, Sheffield, UK

Mott MacDonald has been successful in a competition run by the Technology Strategy Board (as part of its efforts to stimulate technological innovation for low impact buildings) that will fund the cost of studies to evaluate the energy performance of a wide range of case study buildings.

Mott MacDonald is to receive funding over the next two years to conduct a Building Performance Evaluation on one of the buildings designed by the company: 2 St Paul’s Place in Sheffield city centre. The building is occupied by Government employees working for three separate organisations: the Department for Education; the Department for Business, Innovation, and Sciences, and the Schools Food Trust. It also has a rooftop restaurant and basement IT server room.

Eddie Murphy, Mott MacDonald’s technical director leading the project and who has 20 years experience in the design of low energy buildings (including the high profile Vulcan House, which is an OGC High Performing Building case study), will be monitoring the in use performance of the post occupancy building emissions for comparison with the early stage design thermal model calculated benchmarks. He will also be making comparisons with later design stages’ detailed calculated carbon emissions compliance calculation and operational cost prediction models.

Assessments of actual unregulated loads, particularly of the data centre, restaurant and office ICT loads will be compared against calculated design predictions. In addition, the effects on electrical emissions from ICT will be observed following planned roll-out of a new server virtualisation and thin client terminal systems across the department in 2011/12.

Mott MacDonald’s team led by Eddie will be using data gained from the building evaluation and performance monitoring to produce a step by step strategy along with programmed correctional interventions in order to effect optimal building operation and performance. The project will also benefit academically from the involvement of Holly Castleton, a PhD student at Sheffield University, who will be assisting with interpretation of the ‘data sets’ coming from the live building.

Eddie commented, “We are delighted to be awarded this funding which will enable us to evaluate the real post-occupancy performance of the building as well as develop a detailed operational plan and associated actions to reduce regulated and unregulated emissions. There is also the potential to widen the scope of the proposed study to include research into the sociological and behavioural effects of occupants on the carbon emissions from buildings.

He added, “The findings of these studies should help establish greater confidence that design calculations undertaken will lead to predicted outcomes in use. And will help to set up financial and optimal carbon benchmarks for new building and refurbishment government projects."

This study should prove to be a valuable part of the detailed observation of the effects of the government’s announcements to reduce carbon by 10% by May 2011. The government is also mandating that all departments are to reduce baseline 2009/2010 carbon emissions by a further 25% by 2014/15.


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