Engineering new build offices with sustainability first and foremost


BuroHappold is now a Design for Performance (DfP) Delivery Partner of the Better Buildings Partnership scheme in the UK.

The project aims to change the approach in which new office developments are designed. Inspired by the successful Australian NABERS Commitment Agreement, DfP’s goal is to reduce the energy ‘performance gap’ between Building Regulation energy compliance and actual operational energy.

"The DfP initiative is a new way of thinking, it requires a deeper understanding of the HVAC systems operation and controls. I am looking forward to seeing energy modellers and M&E designers challenging each other to achieve the best building energy performance." Marco Mudoni, Senior Building Physics Engineer

Critical success factors of the design-for-performance approach are setting energy performance targets at project inception, undertaking advanced modelling simulation in accordance with NABERS guidelines, responding to an independent design review and undertaking extensive measurement, verification and fine tuning to achieve the required operational outcome.

As a DfP Delivery Partner, BuroHappold is highly committed to design for performance and educate the client beyond regulation compliance.

BuroHappold has a extensive experience in operational energy performance predictions and advanced simulation at design stage as well as in-use post occupancy evaluation (POE). Examples of advanced simulation include work on the LEED Platinum PNC Tower, the University of Warwick Faculty of Arts and the European Investment Bank. Recent POE work includes the award winning Newcastle University Urban Sciences Building and University of Cambridge David Attenborough Building. We also recently authored POE planning policy for Old Oak and Park Royal as well as the University College London Post project review guidelines.

"The focus on predicting and delivering performance outcomes will be vital for realising the sector’s net zero carbon objectives." Duncan Price

We are very excited about being a delivery partner for Design for Performance. This allows us to apply our recognised expertise in building performance to co-create opportunities with clients and drive change across the wider industry. In particular, the focus on predicting and delivering performance outcomes will be vital for realising the sector’s net zero carbon objectives and we will be advocating this approach on all our projects. Duncan Price, Partner and director of sustainability.

The key benefits of DfP Delivery Partnership are:

  • For staff: deeper understanding of building operation and major end-use energy use, training in advanced energy modelling, improved collaboration between the MEP team and specialist disciplines such as Building Physics and Sustainability, more design focus on HVAC system controls and energy metering strategy.
  • For clients: Establish and understand realistic operational target from early stages of the design, understanding of operational costs which drive more effective design decisions, cheaper building operational costs.

DfP is a disruptive but welcome process that is going drive operational outcomes on projects. Currently it is focused on new-build commercial offices, but can be applied in principle to a whole range of sectors. Looking forward, the UK is heading towards a zero carbon agenda and DfP aligns perfectly to this, with a unique emphasis on high quality ‘in-use’, opposed to just design based predictions or compliance calculations. BuroHappold fully embraces this and it further demonstrates our long-term commitment to building performance and quality outcomes.


This article was originallly published here