Prioritisation of building systems

Barbara Nebel, Karen Bayne, Connie Crookshanks.

This working paper is an interim report from the Systems Research Work Plan – “Criteria Development and Embedding Systems”. It sets out details of the steps that lead to the selection of two priority systems for further research: windows for retrofit projects; and walls for new build projects. These two systems were selected from a prioritised list of residential building systems obtained through a series of workshops and project team discussion meetings.

The definition of a ‘system’ in the context of the project is the smallest part of a building where a function (functional unit) can be appropriately prescribed. Within each system, a range of generic ‘solutions’ can be provided. For example retrofit window solutions include blinds and drapes; secondary glazing; and films, (Insulated Glass Units) IGU’s and draught-stopping devices.

The systems in the list were prioritised using a Hierarchy of Criteria which was also established as part of the project from key ‘sustainability’ criteria (essentially Beacon’s High Standard of Sustainability) and ‘uptake’ criteria (identified in the literature). The two systems selected are key elements of the thermal envelope of a building. It is likely that a number of other systems that are also part of the thermal envelope will be investigated further.

As part of this initial project, a generic list of systems was developed, and a prioritisation process undertaken to determine the initial systems to investigate. This list will need to be reviewed and re-prioritised at regular intervals. It was recommended by the project team to extend the stakeholder participation and to review the ranking of the priority of systems for new and for retrofit. The Hierarchy of Criteria should also be revised as Beacon’s High Standard of Sustainability evolves and further performance targets are derived.