From the standpoint of energy efficiency, the design of buildings leaves much to be desired. The process usually consists of designing a building following
traditional methods, simulating the performance of the building design using
software, and then trying to address the excessive demands on energy and other shortcomings by adding expensive renewable energy technologies. This leads to unnecessarily expensive buildings and often a failure to meet the original target as the final expense of doing so would be too great.
So says a new report from The Royal Academy of Engineering in the U.K. Author Professor Doug King says the result of current practices is a widespread view that energy efficient buildings are more expensive to construct than conventional, established designs. But a range of studies indicate that buildings aiming for a high environmental performance are no more or less expensive than conventional buildings, he says.
The problem is that the performance of a building envelope traditionally has been specified by the architect. However, King says the increasing need to consider the thermal elements of the construction as part of the overall environmental control system has made it common for the architect to look to the building services engineer to define the performance and design detailing, an area in which building services engineers traditionally have little training.
The solution is to define a new area of study roughly called building physics and to tech this discipline as a formal part of educational requirements for undeergraduate engineers.
The full report is here: