Monday, 29 September 2014

Day in the life of a Building Performance Awards Judge

Written by Susie Diamond, Founding Partner at Inkling and CIBSE Awards 2015 Judge

This is the third year running that I've had the privilege of judging the CIBSE Building Performance Awards. Having worked in building physics since 2000 I have learnt a thing or two about energy performance in buildings, and it's nice to put that experience into my judging role. The best bit for me is reading about teams that have worked hard to find really elegant solutions, and seeing them rewarded with a prize.

The judging does use up about three working days of my time reading through all the entries, doing my private marking and then thrashing out the final winners with the other judges on our judging day, but I have enjoyed the process a great deal each time, and then there's the perk of a ticket to the awards evening itself!

I am a founding partner at Inkling. We are a building physics consultancy working with a wide variety of clients and projects so our days are surprisingly varied. Our current workload includes a research project with the Zero Carbon Hub looking at overheating risk in homes, a TM54 analysis for a large office development currently at design stage and an options appraisal for a university site refurbishment (we are modelling the projected impact on heating loads and overheating risk).

I choose to work from home; this gives me great flexibility, low overheads and a very short commute, which I value highly. That doesn't mean a day in my life is always spent in my home office though - I get out and about regularly to meet clients, catch up with colleagues and attend events. One such event will be the a fabulous night out on the 10th February next year for the announcement of the award winners!

The Awards shortlist will be announced on the evening of 28 October at a drinks reception held at the CIBSE Leadership in Building Performance Conference and Exhibition. To attend, register at

Join Susie at the Building Performance Awards Dinner on the 10 February 2015 for the announcement of the 2015 winners. To book your seat visit Book early to secure premium tables.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Facilities managers at the heart of improved building performance

Written by Geoff Prudence Chair of the CIBSE Facilities Management Group and judge of the Building Performance Awards 2015

I am really excited about being involved with the CIBSE Building Performance Awards 2015 as a member of the judging panel and look forward to seeing best practice in the Facilities Management Operations category. A category that rewards the individuals and teams that are at the very heart of delivering improved building performance – the facilities managers.

I feel strongly that FM professionals should be involved at the earliest stages of a building’s design, so that the best possible operational efficiencies can be achieved over its life-cycle. After all, who knows better than the facilities management team about the costs and effectiveness of different maintenance strategies and the effect that system choice has on these? BIM should help to bring about more effective design and more effective construction, but the real opportunity – and what will prove to be the success of BIM – will be in terms of real end-to-end life-cycle considerations and information flow.

Within our industry, there are many great examples every day of teams working collaboratively across designs and operations with customers and users, to do great things. For example, the 2014 Building Operation Award winners – British Land and Broadgate Estates – demonstrated how with investment in an energy monitoring system at Exchange House the building management team were able to optimise consumption and cut energy costs for occupiers by more than £1m over four years.
These awards provide a superb opportunity to evidence collaborative working and improved building performance. There is still time to get entries in before the closing date of 11th September 2014, just visit

Geoff Prudence is also Chair of the CIBSE Facilities Management Group, Chair of BIM4FM Task Group, and will be Chairing the Soft Landings and Maintaining and Managing our Buildings session at this year’s CIBSE Conference & Exhibition on 28 October 2014

Friday, 22 August 2014

What it means to win a CIBSE Building Performance Award

Written by Munish Datta, Head of Facilities Management and Plan A at Marks & Spencer and  Judge of the Building Performance Awards 2015.

When I reflect back on the night Marks & Spencer Cheshire Oaks was announced as a winner at the 2014 awards, I am overcome by a great sense of pride, elation and gratitude. Proud that the project topped such a high calibre shortlist, overjoyed that our efforts were recognised and grateful for this very meaningful honour.

For us, this accolade is significant as it recognised the building’s actual operational performance, and in doing so the very reason why we built it in the way we did. Two years since Cheshire Oaks opened to the public, it continues to exceed our expectations in terms of environmental performance, users continue to express high levels of satisfaction and it has become an iconic benchmark against which we measure our global property estate. It has inspired us to try and replicate its success in our existing and new properties, from Heswall to Hyderabad.

The legacy of Cheshire Oaks lives on in our teams as we look to extend Plan A further to new levels, in new areas, across the M&S global property estate. We are retrofitting its most successful features into our existing buildings and deploying post occupancy evaluations in new buildings. We are striving to achieve a better balance of effort in the design, construction and operation of our buildings. This is a challenge not just for us, it’s one of the biggest for the building industry and one that the CIBSE building performance awards are helping raise awareness about.

The success of Cheshire Oaks is a great compliment to its design, construction and maintenance teams and their investment in leaving a legacy that goes beyond their responsibility, bringing comfort and efficiency to users for the buildings entire life. This ‘operational use legacy’ is exactly the kind of thinking that, as a judge, I will be looking for from entries in the 2015 awards. For me, winning buildings will live up to leaving a legacy of operational excellence and not failed design and construction promises. 

Want to comment? Contact @MunishDatta on twitter to continue the conversation. 

For more information about the Building Performance Awards 2015 visit

Friday, 15 August 2014

Lighting the way to building performance

Written by Liz Peck MSc FSLL, Design Principal at LPA Lighting, President Elect Society of Light & Lighting and Judge of the Building Performance Awards 2015

Any lighting geek - for I am one - will tell you that lighting is the single most important component of building services.  I know there are those who will argue for HVAC and others but honestly, I've got jumpers for winter months and in my office, I've got open windows delivering fresh air and - even more importantly - a bucket-load of daylight; for I am also a daylight freak and I countenance people having daylight breaks during their working day; daylight is good for you and that's official. 

Sainsbury’s Project Graphite, LED lighting programme.
Joint winner of the Lighting for Building Performance Award 2015
Even putting to one side the benefits to well-being, daylight is also a driver in energy-efficient lighting; I don't remember the last time a light was on in my office but it would have been before the clocks changed in March.  Harvesting daylight and controlling the lighting accordingly means the bare minimum of artificial energy is used for lighting and it's not rocket science in terms of controls either: simple but effective lighting controls means the old adage of lights only being on when they are needed actually rings true, whether daylight- or occupancy-based control.

For the first time, lighting is being recognised as a stand-alone award in the annual CIBSE Building Performance Awards.  With lighting playing such a dominant role in electricity costs of commercial buildings - up to 40% - the time has rightly come to reward schemes focused on lighting alone - and bringing opportunity for recognition to lighting designers and other companies who are delivering lighting schemes. 

Cundall Birmingham - Cundall Light4,
 Joint winner of the Lighting for Building Performance Award 2015
I read once that employing a specialist lighting designer will typically result in 30% less energy being used on the project - and who am I to argue with such a great statistic?  It's not just about energy, of course, occupant feedback and quality of the design will be considered, most likely above everything else. But as all those same lighting geeks will tell you, quality design and energy efficiency are not mutually exclusive, by definition, great design will be efficient.

For more information about the Lighting for Building Performance Award visit

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Educating on energy efficiency

GEA ConsultingLimited are registered Low Carbon Consultants and Low Carbon Energy Assessors and specialise in the provision of climate change consultancy, carbon reduction management, energy audits/surveys and Display Energy Certificates.

They have been working with local schools to share tips on energy efficiency and to help students understand the importance and benefits of reducing demand. Research shows that pupils who are empowered to take action on energy become more positive towards environmental issues.

In this guest post, GEA share some of their tips and resources.

Growing Up Green

Businesses across all sectors are increasingly focussed on energy reduction; not only for the obvious cost saving benefits, but also in achieving their corporate social responsibility strategies.

But what about Schools?

Reducing energy use has many advantages for schools: it of course saves money and reduces carbon emissions but also improves the learning environment and can enhance a school’s reputation.

In schools, the education of children about the different types and sources of energy, along with energy saving measures, is becoming more popular every year.
Research has shown that where pupils are empowered to take action on energy, their attitude to other environmental issues becomes more positive.
Education in energy reduction should be a requirement of all areas of the curriculum and should be incorporated into all subjects.

Getting Involved

To be really effective, the whole school must be involved in energy saving; by motivating staff and pupils through lessons, as well as providing practical advice on how to go about saving energy, a whole school approach can reduce the school’s carbon footprint.

One of the best ways of getting the whole school involved is by holding a School Energy Saving Day. This engages both staff and pupils through such activities as games, quizzes and energy saving presentations.

It gets everyone involved in understanding the importance of energy efficiency and how this can affect the environment and importantly how it can save the school money that could be spent elsewhere on educational materials and resources. Activities include:

Energy Quiz: Covering energy saving and the environment; the aim of the quiz is to be educational and fun; a prize for the highest score!

Design the Sign: Pupils get to design a sign to remind everyone to switch off the lights; the winners design will be put up around the School!

Crack the Carbon: A short presentation on energy savings and the effects on the environment; lots of sounds and pictures to keep the pupils engaged!

BECI Race: What is a BECI and how does it work; followed by a race to see who can put up their BECI Stickers first, a prize for the first team back!

Continuing the Ideas

Why not appoint pupils as energy monitors? To switch off computers and lights as well as shutting doors and windows; this can also act as useful housekeeping several times a day.

The ‘Design the Sign’ could become a term activity with the winner having their sign displayed for the entire term. Pupils can also be encouraged to produce their own classroom BECI’s with an understanding of annual energy usage and how this is measured and calculated.

Eco-Schools is an initiative to help schools become environmentally friendly in both the curriculum and the management of the school. The prestigious Eco-Schools flag is awarded to schools which meet the criteria. To find out more visit:

Thursday, 17 July 2014

How BIM is recognised by the CIBSE Building Performance Awards

Written by Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director and Chair of the Building Performance Awards Judging Panel

Some feedback from our members on the CIBSE Building Performance Awards (BPA) suggests a wish for a Building Information Modelling (BIM) award. On the face of it, with everyone talking about BIM, that would be an obvious winner. But on reflection, is it as easy as all that? What are the criteria for a "BIM Award"? Attractive 3D images? Entrants who say that they are using Level 2 BIM? Arguably, with government still developing the standards and protocols needed for Level 2 BIM nobody can be doing level 2 BIM yet. 

BIM is about helping to produce buildings that work better for the owners, occupiers and even those who buy or use the products or services generated in the building. Or else BIM is about enabling better or more effective creation and management of built environment assets over the whole life. So at what point in the life of an asset that has been procured using BIM do we decide it is an award winner? Twelve months? Five years? Ultimately, BIM is a tool, and not an end in itself. The end game is better collaboration that produce better performing buildings, hence the Collaborative Working Partnership Award.

For more information about the Collaborative Working Partnership Award visit Deadline for entries to the CIBSE BPA 2015 close on Thursday, 11 September 2014.

For more information about the work that CIBSE is doing in relation to BIM visit

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Why ‘building performance’ awards are so important

Iconic, attractive and eye-catching buildings are rightly awarded for architectural and structural brilliance. But what are they like to work in, live in, shop in or stay in? How much are they costing their occupiers to power? What impact are they having on our environment? Do they ‘perform’ as the design intended?

All of these questions are challenged by building performance awards and that is what makes them so important to our built environment and to society. Building performance awards recognise the project teams, orgnisations and products that enable new, refurbished and existing buildings to ‘perform’: to manage energy efficiently and provide a comfortable and productive environment for their occupiers.

So who should be taking building performance recognition seriously?
  • Architects because if you can demonstrate to clients that not only will their building look great and fit their image, but it will save money and boost productivity too over a sustained period, you’ll win more business.
  • Building services engineers and lighting designers because clients give contracts to those consultants who can prove their services designs work and deliver savings.
  • M&E contractors because you make those plans a reality so showcase your work.
  • Product manufacturers because you can gain independent endorsement of the quality of your products, gain unrivalled publicity (free-of-charge) and win more business as a result.
  • Businesses (and their estates managers, facilities managers and marketing departments) because you can benchmark your energy savings against others, showcase the work you are doing to senior management or shareholders and, vitally, you can demonstrate to the wider world (customers and potential customers) that you take managing energy seriously. This will position your business as ethically and environmentally sound and appeal to customers who share your values.

Building performance is increasingly important to all of our lives. It boosts productivity, saves money and saves the planet.

Enter the CIBSE Building Performance Awards today, for more information go to