27th Jan 2022
2021 was a busy year for us all at IES, and 2022 certainly looks to be no different! With lots of exciting developments and new projects on the horizon, we’re looking forward to helping our customers and partners continue to strive for the best in building performance.
Now that we’ve had a few weeks to take stock and look forward to what’s coming up in the months ahead, we’ve pulled together this rundown to highlight some of the key areas which our customers will be turning their focus to in the year ahead, and where we stand ready to support.
It’s hard to believe that more than two months have passed already since the COP26 summit ended. While the final Glasgow Pact may have attracted scrutiny for not being ambitious enough, one of the more positive outcomes of the climate conference has been the influx of climate pledges that have emerged over the past year. Latest figures indicate that 5,229 companies, 67 regions, 1,049 cities, 1,039 educational, 441 financial, and 52 healthcare institutions have now joined the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero, committing to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
While it’s great to see these commitments being made, 2022 will be a decisive year in seeing whether those pledges are now acted upon. Sadly, even the most well-intentioned pledges fall by the wayside simply because people don’t actually know what they need to do to achieve them.
This is where pressure is mounting on companies, cities and other institutions to formulate their own Decarbonisation Roadmaps. Already, government and sector specific guidance is beginning to emerge (such as that produced recently by the World Economic Forum, the UKGBC, as well as a forthcoming EU-wide roadmap, currently under consultation with the WorldGBC) and clients are now looking for more specific guidance on how best to decarbonise their own buildings, taking account of their own unique factors and circumstances.
We’re already working with a number of public and private sector organisations to help them do just that. Using our ICL digital twin technology, we are helping these clients understand the performance of their buildings, portfolios and cities - now and into the future – as well as the impact of various net-zero interventions over time. These insights are being translated into detailed, step-by-step Decarbonisation Roadmaps that show exactly what actions need to be taken to meet that specific client’s targets for 2030, 2050 and beyond. More importantly, the dynamic nature of the digital twin approach means that the strategy is reactive and can be used to predict and adapt to any unforeseen changes/challenges as they arise.
2022 also brings wholesale change to the UK Building regulations with individual updates to the English, Welsh and Northern Irish Approved Document Part L1 and L2; updates to Scottish Section 6; and the introduction of a new overheating requirement in the shape of Approved Document O.
Updates to the UK National Calculation Methodology mean changes to Level 3 and 4 VE-SBEM assessments and Level 5 DSM assessment. Overheating requirements will now be legislated for dwellings and residential areas of non-domestic buildings that build upon the requirements of CIBSE TM59.
In North America, 2022 also brings us to the close of the current code cycle for the Californian Title 24 legislation with the latest amendments coming into law 1st January 2023.
We also recently reported that Australia is making a number of changes to its building regulations and rating systems to help stay on track for net-zero, which you can read more about here.
As ever, IES will be following any regulatory changes closely and liaising with the relevant governing bodies to maintain our compliance software and services offering, covering multiple building regulations and rating systems across the globe.
As the shift away from compliance-based modelling continues to gather pace in favour of a more comprehensive whole-life operational approach to building design, performance-led schemes such as NABERS/Design for Performance will be another area to watch in 2022.
NABERS - a six-star rating system that measures the actual energy use of buildings once they are in operation – has been used in Australia for the past two decades, and has since been adapted by other countries (most recently the UK in November 2020) to produce performance-based building ratings.
Our team will be supporting customers in pursuing their targeted NABERS ratings as their buildings progress through the RIBA stages, using all of the tools, modelling and M&V expertise at our disposal to ensure that projects deliver against their design expectations once in use.
It’s worth noting that while currently the NABERS UK scheme is voluntary, the UK government are planning to launch Phase 1 of a new national energy performance-based rating system in April 2022, which is modelled on the NABERS scheme. During the initial phase, the national framework will be targeted at office buildings above 1,000m² in England and Wales only. However, the intention is that this will ultimately become mandatory on all commercial and industrial buildings over 1,000m², with the subsequent roll out of Phases 2 and 3 within the decade.
Continuing on the Design for Performance theme, our consulting team have recently written and developed a new Dynamic Simulation Modelling guide as part of the new Net Zero Public Buildings (NZPB) Standard, commissioned by Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and Health Facilities Scotland. The guide is a huge step forward in terms of the level of detail and collaboration which is required to create low/zero carbon buildings, outlining requirements for dynamic simulation modelling and reporting to be performed from the early concept stage of design right through to post-occupancy operation.
Our team have been working on similar guides for other organisations too, so feel free to get in touch if this is something you’re interested to explore for your own standard/organisation.
It’s safe to say that health and wellbeing has been top on the agenda over the past two years, and there’s certainly no indication that the focus on healthy buildings is set to slow down in 2022 either. Whether the objective is to design and implement a ventilation strategy to minimise the transmission of COVID or other airborne diseases, to maintain safe CO2 levels, or simply to improve indoor environmental quality, comfort and wellbeing more generally for your building occupants, we’ll be continuing to support clients with the software and consulting services to help them do just that.
With the ever-growing emphasis on ensuring our buildings prioritise health and wellbeing, while also pursuing zero carbon targets, it’s clear to see why many clients are turning their attention to Passivhaus - a leading international design standard, characterised by its ability to deliver exceptionally low operational energy demands without compromising on high standards of comfort and health. Over 65,000 buildings have been certified to this standard worldwide.
Passivhaus adopts a whole-building approach with clear, measured targets, focused on high-quality construction, certified through an exacting quality assurance process. To achieve the Passivhaus Standard in the UK typically involves accurate design modelling using the Passive House Planning Package (PHPP). However, this has its limitations, particularly where non-domestic buildings with complex HVAC systems are concerned.
This is where the application of an IES VE model can help designers limit risks, optimise performance, and undertake performance assessments beyond the limitations of the PHPP - an area where our expert consultancy team are also ideally placed to provide complementary services to support and enhance your Passivhaus scheme.
Community Energy schemes are also gaining traction as we enter 2022 and creep closer towards those looming net-zero targets. Fortunately, we’re ideally positioned to help communities gain a clearer understanding of their current building energy consumption, and to help optimise the way they generate, own, use and save energy.
Whether a campus, wider community or city scale project, our consultants offer sustainable energy masterplanning services for both new and existing developments. Supported by our 3D sustainable urban design and masterplanning tool, iCD, we can provide accurate, reliable analysis across a wide range of sustainability metrics to help plan and visualise the impact of community level schemes, building in resilience to help cope with potential changes which may occur over time.
Find out more about our Energy Masterplanning and Network Modelling services here.
As investors continue to hone in on ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) considerations, 2022 will continue to see the pressure mount on organisations to disclose their ESG credentials with an effective reporting strategy. This year, we’ll be ramping up our efforts to support customers in tracking key ESG metrics across their buildings and portfolios, so keep an eye out for more updates on the ESG front from IES throughout the course of this year.
At IES we are also seeing our industry recognising the efficiencies that can be achieved in multi-disciplinary teams by architects using the same IESVE model for early stage modelling via Gaia, to consultancies then designing for energy efficiency or providing code compliance assessment, as well as the design engineers performing loads and sizing calculations. All of this prior to using the model as a Digital Twin!
Finally, we couldn’t round off this list without giving a specific shout out to Digital Twins. Another trend which has been steadily gaining momentum in recent years, we anticipate the demand for digital twin technology to continue on its upward trajectory into 2022 and beyond. Given that ours has the ability to support all of the other items on this list (and more) it’s easy to see why!
If you would like to speak with our team on any of these topics, or if there is another area you wish to explore concerning the performance of your building(s), please get in touch.