Reviewing The Designs Of Smart New Homes Construction Essay

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From the literature review the key question is defined along with the objectives which are of importance in the area of including the elderly in the design of smart homes. The key question addresses how by including the elderly in the design the possible benefits this has on the final outcome.

The main research focused on several justified methods of investigation. A number of specific topics and theory were discovered through this process. This section outlines the way in which initial research was under taken and then the reasons why and how further was research decided upon.


Discuss the many benefits that elderly included design of smart homes has had and sets out to show the value of results from the research methods.


Establishes what value the research has had on the main aim of the dissertation and concludes what the significance the research into the objectives has provided.


As sustainablie development has become mainstream conversation globally, the construction industry has increasingly sought to apply green building labelling methods internationally. In the absence of a universal green labelling procedure the key features from each must be ananlysed to deteremine which one favours a particular project. Labelling methodoligie such as BREEAM or LEED are instantly recognisible within their own countries . both have grown out of national best practice and years of consenuse based research but it is yet to be determined which one is best suited for international applications. In fact neither has been proven to be as such. Their difference are many but their goal is the same. Each project team must choose which methodology best suit their project.


Within this modern world, a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the construction industry to achieve sustainable developments, by reducing the energy consumption in both the construction and management of buildings in order that the impact on the local environment and ultimately the global environment is limited. The built environment uses vast amounts of resources that are becoming harder to obtain and contributes significantly in the production of global emissions and waste (*1). 50% of all global resources are consumed during post-construction and construction, 40% of global waster usage is for sanitation and 60% of land previously used for agricultural purposes is now used for construction. In response to these concerning issues and a desire to reduce the environmental impact of the design and operation of buildings has led to the development of methods to assess the how a building is performing environmentally with the intention of creating a sustainable built environment. (*2)

The most representative and widely used schemes are leadership in Energy and Environmental Design - LEED and Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method - BREEAM. LEED has been developed by the United States Green building Council - (USGBC) and is nationally accepted as a benchmark for green building practices. BREEAM has been developed by the Building Research Establishment - BRE and is adopted throughout the UK, mainly as the government use it as a measure of best practice in environmental design and management.

Both schemes are applicable to a wide variety of different buildings and importantly both can be applied to new and used buildings. The methods set out to collect the highest possible number of credits by assessing every aspect of the post construction stage right through to construction completion. Although the schemes differ in a variety of different ways that will be highlighted discussed later, it is important to highlight a key credit that is the leading factor for to achieve sustainable design is the consumption of energy that results in carbon emissions from a building.

It is if vital importance to understand the different schemes in terms of their assessment methods, scopes, performance criteria and credit scales. As going forward it is very apparent that a credible energy assessment scheme would be favourable in the assessment of building energy performance. This is specifically aimed towards countries that currently do not have a method of assessment but are currently undertaking energy performance assessment of their buildings.

This research project has chosen to focus on the energy performance assessment of new office buildings

Overview of Energy Assessment Methods

BREEAM and LEED are performance based, credit rating assessment schemes: however they differ significantly in how they go about the assessment method, scope and criteria with regards to the energy performance rating. Table 1 shows a general comparison between each of the assessment methods. The following section will review the key features of each energy rating system.


BREEAM was conceived by the Building Research Establishment in 1990 and is now the most widely used building environmental rating scheme in the UK. Although the scheme is still a voluntary standard the scheme affiliates itself with UK building regulations as a benchmark to rate the level of performance improvement. The number of buildings certified is quoted to be 116,000 buildings and 714,000 buildings have been registered with the scheme although the exact breakdown (building type and year) is not publicly accessible.

The main reasons for BREEAM becoming the UK's main assessment method are-

Legislation and Planning - a growing number of local planning authorities require BREEAM pre-assessments and increasingly accreditations.

Private Sector Companies - developers have set a voluntary minimum BREEAM rating for all new builds.

Public Sector - they have had a minimum BREEAM rating for all new builds and refurbishments that has been in place since 2006

BREEAM assess a building based upon the following criteria:


Health and Well Being






Land Use and Ecology


Clients and Designers are encouraged to consider these issues at their earliest opportunity in order to maximise the chances of achieving as high a BREEAM rating as possible. It has been found that the earlier a BREEAM assessment is undertaken then the ease and cost effectiveness it can be in achieving a higher rating.

An accredited BREEAM assessor then takes all the information on the building and begins the process of awarding credits under each category. These credits are environmentally weighted enabling the credits to be added together and produce an overall score.

Minimum level have been set for all ratings for some of the criteria -see appendix** for a full break down.

It is not possible for a building to ever obtain 100% in BREEAM as there are credits awarded for recycling the façade and for the design of the structure. These credits are not available for new builds as they are not there to start with. If the building is being reused then it is extremely unlikely that the buildings fabric would perform as well as that of a new build in energy terms, even if the embodied energy is less.

LEED Scheme

LEED is the most widely recognised building environmental assessment scheme, It has registered projects in over 24 different countries (*1*). There are roughly 400 LEED certified buildings, with another 3,500 aiming to become certified.

At this point it is important to note the comparison of USGBC to the BRE. The BRE is a government funded research establishment, whereas USGBC is a national non-profit membership body, with members from all aspects of the industry. LEED is consensus driven with committee based development.

LEED works in a similar fashion to BREEAM as it also assesses buildings based upon a point based credit rating system. Each credit refers to one of the following:

Sustainable sites

Water efficiency

Energy and atmosphere

Materials and resources

Indoor environmental quality

Innovation and design process

A point is awarded to each credit when the requirement is achieved except for the energy performance credit and renewable energy credit in which a number of points will be awarded based upon improved performance.


In order to assess building energy performance and calculate the corresponding energy rating credits in LEED and BREEAM the next stage of the research required the use of energy assessment software.

There are several key energy assessment software packages available to energy assessors, however it is important that the software selected suited the purpose of the study and therefore needs to comply with all the requirements of both schemes.

BREEAM only recognises two classes of approved software for energy performance assessment. The first is that the approved software is capable of interacting with the Simplified Building Energy Model - SBEM. The other is the approved Dynamic Simulation Modelling - DSM. The LEED scheme recognises software that is capable of undertaking both load and dynamic simulations as well as being able to determine the performance of both the proposed building and the baseline building and being able to model the various building components.

This has resulted in the use of IES Visuall Environment 6.1.5 being chosen this research as it meets all of the requirements for both the schemes.


The case study building was intended to be representative as well as allow the key assessment criteria mentioned previously for both schemes to be assessed. This final design was done so after consultation with an architect who is happy to allow the use of one of his concept buildings in this study.

The building is an open plan office building, on 6 floors. There is also an integrated car park. The building has several different thermal zones comprising of office space, meeting rooms, IT rooms, staff changing rooms, toilets, kitchen areas, plant rooms, circulation areas, lifts and storage.

The Heating and Ventilation Air Conditioning system assumes that the building plant will be fully air conditioned, the air conditioning system will is Variable Air Volume.