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CIBSE Technical Symposium 2022

Both Susie and Claire attended this years Technical Symposium at London South Bank University 21-22 April this year. We were slightly giddy at being out and about, catching up with people after so long, and mixing with so many humans in one place. As usual there was a great mix of academic researchers and industry practitioners sharing their work and ideas. Here is Susie’s write-up featuring the tweets sent during the event (embedded below) and her thoughts on the key talking points and themes.


There’s an increasing appreciation that we need to be better at estimating Embodied Carbon, and not just within building fabric but also the HVAC (and all the other “stuff” we put in buildings). Going forward this needs to be factored into energy options studies alongside the operational energy assessment. TM65 is helpful and manufacturers are more likely to provide environmental product declarations (EPDs) for their products if we keep nagging them.

Industry are advocating for a building regulations to start regulating embodied carbon, and have written a proposed Part Z as a proof of concept of the regulation that’s needed in the UK.

Will Belfield presented a case study exploring the whole life carbon of different MEP options, and it was striking (shocking) how much the refrigerant leakage within the VRF option increased the embodied carbon. Factoring this in changes the recommended (lowest carbon) solution.

Another consistent theme was that gas is on its way out. #EndGasNow All electric is the way forward for meeting net zero obligations and the questions now are about how best to configure heat pump systems, managing peak loads and deliver DHW demands. This last one in particular still seems to be up for grabs, with huge rewards available to the designer/manufacturer who can demonstrate an efficient, scalable, maintainable solution for all-electric domestic DHW.

NABERs UK and Design for Performance got regular mentions, and there was a keynote presentation from Grace Foo (all the way from Australia) on her valuable experience with NABERs, including engaging stakeholders, understanding margins and the importance of the IDR.

Definitions of what net zero means still vary with teams free to pick and choose what works for them, but hopefully industry (with LETI, UKGBC etc) are working towards helpful consensus.

On the horizon, SAP 11 (2025) is scoped to be a better predictor of in-use energy consumption than previous incarnations and a helpful design tool for delivering net zero new and retrofit homes.

Closing the event, Hywel Davies, gave a sobering preview of the Building Safety Bill which is likely to pass through government shortly and implements all the recommendations of the Hackett review. This will have significant implications around liability, demonstrating competence and in ensuring that the functional requirements within all building regulations are met. More advice is and will be available from CIBSE over the coming months.

All symposium papers are available to view here: https://cibse.egnyte.com/fl/LhegIWHlLw


Day 2

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