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Bridging the Gap: the need for a systems thinking approach in understanding and addressing energy and environmental performance in buildings

Shrubsole, C; Hamilton, IG; Zimmermann, N; Papachristos, G; Broyd, T; Burman, E; Taylor, J; ... Davies, M; + view all (2019) Bridging the Gap: the need for a systems thinking approach in understanding and addressing energy and environmental performance in buildings. Indoor and Built Environment , 28 (1) pp. 100-117. 10.1177/1420326X17753513. Green open access

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Abstract

Innovations in materials, construction techniques and technologies in building construction and refurbishment aim to reduce carbon emissions and produce low-energy buildings. However, in-use performance consistently misses design specifications, particularly those of operational energy use and indoor environmental quality. This performance gap risks reducing design, technology, sustainability, economic, health and well-being benefits. In this paper, we compare settings of the Chinese and the UK buildings sectors and relate their historical context, design, construction and operation issues impacting energy performance, indoor environmental quality, occupant health and well-being. We identify a series of key, common factors of ‘total’ building performance across these two settings: the application of building regulations, the balance between building cost and performance, skills, construction and operation. The dynamic and complex interactions of these factors are currently poorly understood and lead to building performance gaps. We contend that a systems approach in the development of suitable building assessment methods, technologies and tools could enable the formulation and implementation of more effective policies, regulations and practices. The paper illustrates the application of the approach to the UK and Chinese settings. A full application of a systems approach may help to provide a more dynamic understanding of how factor interactions impact the ‘total’ building performance gaps and help address its multiple causes.

Type: Article
Title: Bridging the Gap: the need for a systems thinking approach in understanding and addressing energy and environmental performance in buildings
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1420326X17753513
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1177/1420326X17753513
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Performance Gap, Systems Thinking, System Dynamics, Built Environment, Buildings, China, UK
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett Sch of Const and Proj Mgt
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10041954
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