Empowering Decision Makers to Avoid the Oversizing of Building Service Systems

Jones, Darren Anthony and Eckert, Claudia (2019). Empowering Decision Makers to Avoid the Oversizing of Building Service Systems. In: Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, Cambridge University Press, 1(1) pp. 1135–1144.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/dsi.2019.119


Oversizing of building service systems has a direct impact on building efficiency and operational costs. The research of this paper highlights several major contributors to the issue of oversizing. A key factor is the excessive and uncoordinated application of design margins applied during the multiple stages of a building services project; others include, a lack of communication and transparency across the various stakeholder groups, and the use of vague or unreliable data upon which initial project requirements are based. The impact of these factors on system performance and cost, and how these can impede on a building's ability to meet energy efficiency targets are analysed and discussed.
The paper emphasizes the need to develop robust processes that capture the scope and rationale for the margins applied, and to communicate this knowledge in a clear and unambiguous format, to all project stakeholders. The development of flexible and alternative design solutions that apply diversity principles, such as different backup systems to provide resilience rather than the traditional ‘like-for-like’ redundancy solutions, are also explored.

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