BSRIA and Designing Buildings Wiki launch ‘make buildings better’ competition

BSRIA and Designing Buildings Wiki are launching an open competition calling for ideas that will make buildings perform better. So dust off all those wild innovations you thought of in the middle of the night, write down the bizarre solutions you usually only reveal in the pub, and tell us what can be done to reduce the emissions of buildings in use.

The competition is very simple to enter: they are just looking for ideas, which might only take a paragraph, or even a sentence to explain.

To enter: Wiki make buildings better competition.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, the UK is currently not on track to halve greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2025 and meeting the 2050 target for an 80 per cent reduction requires that domestic emissions fall by at least 3 per cent a year. But our consumption of primary energy has actually remained relatively constant since the 1970s, and as the population of the UK is expected to rise significantly over the next few decades, something will have to change.

And BIS (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) has said that 47 per cent of UK carbon emissions are generated, or influenced by the construction industry, and 80 per cent of those emissions are from buildings in use.

Buildings in use continue to consume far more energy than is predicted during design. The latest figures from Innovate UK’s Building Performance Evaluation Programme found the average total carbon emissions of 76 homes assessed was 35.3 kgCO2 per square metre per year, 2.6 times higher than the design estimates. Even more alarmingly, the average total carbon emissions of non-domestic buildings was 75.2 kgCO2 per square metre per year, 3.8 times higher than the design estimates. While design emissions do not include unregulated energy uses (such as appliances), this would only be expected to account for a difference of around 20 – 65 per cent, so something is very wrong. Radical change is needed.

Jayne Sunley, Information Manager, BSRIA, said:

“BSRIA is delighted to launch this competition with Designing Buildings Wiki. BSRIA has been a sponsor of the Wiki for just over a year now and we’re excited to take this partnership one step further in finding ways in which we can ensure a sustainable built environment. BSRIA’s mission statement is ‘making buildings better’ and we feel strongly about enabling the industry to enhance the value of the built environment.

“In terms of better building performance we’ve worked hard to develop and promote our Soft Landings process to change industry best practice and ensure performance of a building is at the forefront of the project from the very beginning. We’re hoping this competition will lead to similar industry-changing processes.”

BSRIA and Designing Buildings Wiki are appealing for ideas to improve the performance of buildings in use. Whether through the adoption of smart technology, better regulation, on-site generation, monitoring and feedback, or more drastic measures such as carbon rationing or contractual obligations for buildings to achieve design standards. The more innovative and far-reaching the better.

The winner will receive £500 worth of BSRIA membership, training or publications, and along with four runners-up, will be featured in the July edition of Delta T and on Designing Buildings Wiki.

The competition closes on Wednesday 18 May.