Low Energy and Sustainable Solutions Online kNowledge System
Buildings account for 40% of the worlds energy use, however, the energy performance of buildings rarely matches the design aspirations. Lack of information from past projects is often a barrier to improving building design. LESSONS is an innovative website, where case studies from previous projects will be stored in a data base. Practitioners will be able to search for ‘lessons’ from past projects to influence and improve their designs. Practitioners will also be able to upload their own ‘Lessons’ from projects they have completed.
To improve sustainable building design, LESSONS is a new online tool for building professionals, which will provide the user with easy access to knowledge gained from previous projects and experience, and the resulting design “lessons”.
Buildings account for 40% of all carbon dioxide emissions. The importance of sustainable building design has clearly been established, ranging from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings, to government legislation such as the England and Wales Building Regulations Part L 2010. If the ambitious EU and UK government emissions reduction targets are to be met, the theory and practice of sustainable building design can no longer be confined to a small number of highly trained specialists. Tools must be provided that give all practitioners access to effective design solutions for low-carbon buildings.
Today’s design tools tend to be used in the later stages of design when key decisions affecting sustainability have already been taken. Design is currently under considerable pressure to deliver the ever changing challenging standards to meet building regulations, which are updated on a regular basis. Adding to this, the challenges set out by new European regulations (EPBD and the EU 20-20-20 regulations) have meant that there is a much higher need for design tools which are informative at early design stages and allow for quick and easy decisions to be made.
LESSONS will address these important issues to meet current societal and economic needs. The proposed project will allow an experienced team of industry specialists and academic partners to take a ‘clean sheet’ approach to develop a completely new kind of building design tool. LESSONS aims to provide an innovative, highly intuitive user interface. Most existing tools require considerable effort to use and take significant time to learn, partly because they are designed for more in-depth analysis than LESSONS. Another important innovation is to make domain knowledge (case study and other information) available alongside the design tools. To date these have been separate activities which makes the design process inefficient and more prone to repeated mistakes.
The computing technology in itself is not innovative, but its application and integration are. This will extend the structure behind the existing IES software, which has unusually provided a single building representation for energy, lighting, acoustic and CFD analysis. Through its collaborators, the project aims to bring the tool to industrial users who would not normally engage directly with such design tools, so it is innovative in aiming to change the user base of design tools and hence disseminate knowledge more widely.