Building Environmental Performance Analyses

A series of analytical studies by PAC Studio have been undertaken both with Local Authorities across Ireland and with the Office of Public Works, in collaboration with the School of Architecture, University of Limerick (SAUL) and with Bucholz McEvoy Architects. A methodology has been developed to deliver energy saving strategies for buildings in use, whilst ensuring that the comfort levels for the staff using the work spaces on a daily basis are optimised for their health and wellbeing.

These studies involve establishing a network of environmental sensors – temperature, humidity, air quality and ventilation rates, light levels and acoustics – to measure the internal environmental conditions relative to the external climate, month on month. Regular visits to the buildings allow the research team to meet with staff and discuss issues and concerns throughout the process, and to observe the interactions the staff have with the building in controlling their own level of comfort. Issues such as the use of opening windows, the control of blinds, and the control of heating systems and thermostats are recorded and assessed relative to the prevalent internal climate in any given season.

During the process, online questionnaires were used to establish a fuller understanding of the staff’s perception of the building in terms of environmental performance and comfort in use, and to highlight any particular difficulties with the day to day operations and management of the energy systems for lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation.

Through this research method of post-occupancy evaluation, substantial improvements and reductions in the operational energy demands have been achieved. reducing running costs without detriment to the health and wellbeing of the staff and visitors working in the building. This work was included in the Royal Institute of British Architects 2015 publication, Demystifying Architectural Research.

The continuous cycle of design, build, use, and redesign to accommodate the dynamic contexts of working environments

Analysis of temperature, light, climate and user participation with the building fabric

Sectional study of perceived staff comfort – according to floor level and orientation

Tracking internal and external environments relative to the climate patterns within a given month

Survey data developed as a graphical tool for change

The multifaceted factors and influences on comfort and on energy use, yellow highlighting the potential for design

Typical Office Space

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