Friday, 26 August 2016

So you want to be published?

The UK has one of the world's largest research industries, employing more than 60,000 people and worth over £3bn a year to the economy. Every researcher wants their material to be published in respected journals to be read, cited and acclaimed by their peers, but how do you get your work noticed in a crowded market? Martin McDonald, Publishing Editor of Building Services Engineering Research and Technology (BSER&T) explains in this short guide. CIBSE Members benefit from free access to Building Services Engineering Research & Technology and Lighting Research & Technology 

Publication is often the culmination of research and is an opportunity to present your work to the community, to justify your funding, to promote your institution, your research group and yourself.
Impactful papers can make your name at an international level which can bring many opportunities both professionally and personally. It also allows you to influence policy, protect your intellectual property, open up new areas for study and bring attention to a field that might not enjoy the recognition you feel it deserves. Ultimately the purpose of peer reviewed scholarly research is to contribute to the scientific record and to play a part in human development.

Once you have finished your research it’s time write up your findings. You will want the editors to be interested in your paper and to feel it is worthy of sending to peer review. Building Services Engineering Research & Technology and Lighting Research & Technology receive many submissions every year and their first task is to reject a proportion of these to be able to cope with the volume of articles they must process. For this reason many papers will be immediately rejected if they do not conform to certain standards and guidelines (more on submission guidelines later).

Researchers present their findings at the CIBSE Technical Symposium
There are a few key principles you should consider when you prepare a paper to submit. Getting them right gives you every chance of success, and getting them wrong can doom even the best piece of research from the start:

Language. The paper must be written using good English. It is impossible to overstress the importance of a well written title and abstract. Glaring errors in these two areas are some of the most frequent reasons for immediate reject decisions for busy editors.

Novelty. Are you saying anything new? Explain clearly how your work differs, adds to or extends past work by yourself and others. Clearly explain the novelty of the work within the cover letter and the text of the paper itself.

Plagiarism and redundant publication. A perennial problem that plagues publishing. Don’t do it! This can result not just in rejection of the paper but in serious cases the author being reported for academic misconduct.

Authorship. Make sure all authors are included, agree to the submission and that they did contribute to the paper.

Research with practical applications will be
treated more favourably
Coherence. Coherent argument with cogent logic that contributes to the scientific record is paramount. Your paper must present a case that is backed up with reasoned argument, based on a well-researched literature review and clearly presented findings from which you can authoritatively draw valid conclusions.

Significance. Put bluntly - who cares? Your work and findings may be valid but are they interesting? Within BSER&T you must write a paragraph highlighting the practical application of your work under the abstract. Journals like to publish papers in hot topic areas; if your paper connects to one of these fields, make sure you flag it up.

SEO and keywords. Think carefully about keywords and try to use them in your abstract, title and body text. Use shorter titles when you can. The title should clearly describe what the paper is about.

If you have followed all of the advice above you will have hopefully minimised the chances of a desk reject – that is a rejection before peer review.

If a paper is deemed worthy of review, it is sent to reviewers who will assess the paper and give feedback on ways to improve it before finally recommending accepting or rejecting it. The Editor will then normally make a decision based on at least two recommendations.  This might be to reject the paper outright, to revise it or even accept it. Papers usually pass through two or three rounds of review before being accepted.

Above all, read and follow the submission guidelines!

Submission guidelines vary from journal to journal but it is essential that you follow them. Common problems are not using the correct form of reference style such as Harvard or Vancouver. For BSER&T you must include a paragraph under the abstract that details the practical application of the work.

Don’t forget the importance of figures. Clear professional looking figures can make the difference in presenting a good looking paper. Wherever possible use professional software to create vector images, charts and diagrams that can be scaled to fit different displays. Vector based text in images can also make your paper more discoverable in search engines.

Professionally designed images and charts can increase your chances of success
Once you’ve read the submission guidelines, formatted your paper to the journal style and written a cover letter, it’s time to submit.

You must only submit to one journal at a time. If you submit to more than one journal then you are in breach of publication ethics and your paper will probably be rejected.

Most journals use a manuscript submission system. BSER&T uses SAGE track which is powered by the ScholarOne® Manuscript Central™ platform.

List all the authors with their full affiliations and email addresses, answer the submission questions and upload the manuscript (Word and Latex are common formats), the figures (vector files are best but you can use jpgs, gifs and tiffs) and a numbered list of figure legends.

If your paper is sent back for revision:

  • Read the reports and Editor’s letter carefully
  • Follow the timeframes requested
  • Clearly demonstrate what you have changed
  • Address each referee point in a covering note
  • If you can’t meet all criticisms, explain why
  • Be positive and polite

If your paper is rejected don’t fear, it happens to the best academics and you can submit your paper elsewhere.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Zen and the art of BIM

Welcome to the third #Build2Perform podcast, where this month we're discussing Building Information Modelling (BIM) - its past, present and future. With me in the studio is BIM consultant Carl Collins, and we also hear from Jason Whittall, Director of One Creative Environments, at the recent CIBSE West Midlands 'BIM in action' seminar

You can listen to the podcast below, but you can also find it in the iTunes library and on other podcast apps by searching #Build2Perform if you'd like to listen on the move via smartphone or tablet. We'll also be discussing the podcast on Twitter under the #Build2Perform, and you'll find useful links about what you hear under the podcast below.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been around in various forms for many years, but there is often confusion about what exactly 'BIM' is, how engineers can use it on projects and who exactly is responsible for it. In his blog The Digital Engineer, BIM consultant Carl Collins argues that BIM is actually a way of working rather than a specific software or process. It means using the available data to its fullest by ensuring it is recorded and stored correctly, and available to stakeholders throughout the supply chain.

The CIBSE BIM Group is actively linked in with the work of the UK Government's BIM Task Group and is liaising with many of the 'BIM4' groups. The chair of the CIBSE FM Group, Geoff Prudence, is leading the UK's BIM4FM group whose purpose is to champion facilities management’s involvement with BIM projects. Another area of Group's work is the development of the website that aims to provide a regularly reviewed and updated source of information and links on BIM

The CIBSE West Midlands Technical Seminar on 'BIM in action' took place on 23 March 2016, and can be seen in full online.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Pulling together

In July 2014 the John Lewis store in York made history by becoming the first department store in the world to be awarded a BREEAM Outstanding rating – the highest category achievable under the BRE’s environmental and energy assessment method.This achievement was recognised at the 2016 CIBSE Building Performance Awards where the scheme won the Collaborative Working Partnership Award. Andy Pearson writes about the secrets to their achievements.

The path to the team’s success started two years earlier in 2011, when JLP announced its commitment to reduce carbon emissions from a 2010 benchmark by 15% in absolute terms by 2020. This is an exceptionally challenging target when you factor in that the business is growing and adding new shops. To help achieve its objective the business set a carbon reduction target for its new shops of 30% less than existing similar shops.

Inside York's award winning John Lewis store
In 2012, JLP approached consulting engineers Lateral Technologies & Solutions to develop a building services solution for its new mid-sized, flexible-format department store in York. This had a target carbon saving of 30% compared to JLP’s the flexible format Exeter store.

This fabric envelop of the 12000m2 York store was designed to be airtight to help the design team meet the carbon saving target by preventing heat and energy leaking through gaps in the building fabric. In fact, the building’s air permeability was later measured and found to be only 3m3/hr per m2 at 50Pa, three times better than the Building Regulations minimum.

To develop its building services solution Lateral Technologies joined with IES Consulting as its technology partner and building energy management specialist Next Controls.

The model showed that peak cooling was only needed for 0.1% of the year
Lateral Technologies used utilities information from JLP’s Exeter store as a benchmark for the new building and to inform the York store’s low carbon M&E design. The York store’s airtight building envelope enabled Lateral Technologies to develop a ventilation solution using an energy efficient displacement ventilation system serving the retail floors. Displacement ventilation releases fresh, cool air at floor level; as the air is warmed it rises, taking with it heat from people, lights and equipment before it is extracted at ceiling level. To save even more energy, the back of store areas also have the option of being natural ventilated.

A chiller cools the supply air on days when the outside air temperature is high. Lateral Technologies was able to optimise the size of the chiller because it modelled the store using Integrated Environmental Solutions’ Virtual Environment software. “At this stage we were using the HVAC module within the IES package, which allowed us to input the control strategies that we wanted to use to understand their influence on the plant sizes,” says Iain Gibb, managing director of Lateral Technologies & Solutions.

The software showed that the building had a peak cooling load of 550kW. Critically, the model also showed that this load was only needed for 0.1% of the year. It also indicated that if the temperature in the store was allowed to drift upwards very slightly at times of peak cooling, then a smaller 450kW chiller could be used. The exercise resulted in the installation of chiller that used 25% less energy to operate.

An energy efficient displacement system serves retail floors
Lighting was another area exploited by Lateral Technologies to deliver big energy savings. Front and back of store areas are lit using LED lighting, which uses 40% less energy than traditional retail lighting solutions. In addition, sun pipes (effectively mirrored tubes) bounce daylight from the roof deep into the space to reduce the need for artificial lighting. While in the storerooms presence detectors automatically turn the lights on and off.

A sophisticated Trend building energy management system (BEMS), complete with control strategies written by Next Control Systems, was installed in the York store to control the building services.

The team working really came into its own once the new store had opened its doors. A number of processes were put in place to ensure the team could work collaboratively and effectively together to prove that Lateral Technologies’ innovative building services solution was providing JLP with the 30% savings it was looking to achieve.

IES had recently developed IES-SCAN, a software solution created to take data from the building management system and to calibrate it with the design model. IES provided a secure server on which to host the data collected from the York store by Next Control Systems. Working in partnership with the two organisations allowed Lateral Technologies to extract information from IES-SCAN, via IES’ servers for use in its performance reports. The reports enabled energy used to be optimised by flagging up systems that were not performing as expected. “We input the actual performance back into our model to compare the actual with the theoretical so that we could understand how accurate our model was,” Gibb says.  

The actual results confirmed that the scheme was performing to within 3% of what the consultant had predicted. In fact Lateral Technologies design was so successful that the project exceeded JLP’s 30% target and Lateral Technologies expectations. “We’d predicted a 40% saving and the scheme actually achieved a 43% reduction in carbon,” says Gibb.

The plant room at the John Lewis store in York

Friday, 5 August 2016

Change and climate change

The historic vote on 23rd June for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union will have wide ranging consequences. But what might Brexit actually mean when it comes to buildings, energy and the environment? In the first of a series of blogs Dr Hywel Davies, Technical Director of CIBSE, writes on the implications for UK climate change policy.

Whilst much attention was, understandably, directed towards the result of the momentous vote on the 23rd June, much more important for UK climate change legislation was an announcement on the 30th of June, just a week later. On that day the government committed to the emissions reductions targets recommended by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for the fifth carbon budget, 2028 – 2032, which sets out to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 57% relative to 1990 levels. The CCC has also recently published its 2016 Annual Progress Report to Parliament detailing UK progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting carbon budgets.

The Progress Report identifies a gap of approximately 100 MtCO2e between the likely reductions from current plans and the reductions required to achieve the targets set out in the fifth carbon budget.  That gap amounts to half the required reduction from 2015-2032, and will be greater if existing measures do not deliver the anticipated reductions. Any loss of momentum caused by Britain’s exit from the EU will further extend the gap that will exist if these additional measures are not put in place.

Most of the progress thus far has been made in decarbonising energy generation
So there should be no question of ‘unpicking’ the measures to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint that are already implemented through EU legislation. To meet our targets we need to retain all of the existing legislation, and far more that is yet to be agreed, if we are to stand and chance of delivering a 57% cut. The vast majority of the progress made thus far has been down to cutting carbon emissions on the energy generation side, by investing in renewables, closing polluting coal and oil power stations and using carbon capture and biomass fuels to lessen the impact of remaining fossil fuel generators. 

While this is good progress, in order to make up the rest we need to ensure that other areas pull their weight in de-carbonising, particularly the built environment and energy used in buildings. So what could a strategy to make up that shortfall look like? 

Investment in technology such as the water source heat pumps at Kingston Heights
can help buildings pull their weight
The CCC Progress Report calls for government to set out its plans to bridge the shortfall in carbon emissions reduction measures by the end of the year, and has set out several areas which it expects this plan to address. These include:

·         New policy approaches to decarbonise heating and improve energy efficiency, particularly focusing on lower cost areas (e.g. new buildings) and overcoming behavioural barriers;

·         Policies to improve the efficiency of new vehicles and increase the uptake of low-emission vehicles;

·         A new approach to the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), to provide separate support for carbon capture plants and for transport and storage infrastructure,  seen as an urgent need;

·         Mature low-carbon generation giving the cheapest forms of low-carbon electricity generation (e.g. onshore wind and solar in locally-acceptable locations a route to market (e.g. new auctions for low-carbon contracts).

A number of existing pieces of legislation address energy in the Built Environment:

This demonstrates the scale of the challenge facing David Davis and his new “Department of Brexit”. The EPB Regulations and their parent Directive are intertwined into both the Building Regulations and the detailed implementation of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards of the Energy Act. Unpicking them will be a major task, if attempted – and the carbon and energy savings will need to be made up elsewhere.

It is clear that unpicking them is the wrong answer for the climate, so there is a strong argument for leaving well alone and incorporating these requirements fully into UK law, or more correctly, into England and Wales law for the EPB Regulations, and English law for the Building Regulations, as other regulations apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, another legal complexity of the leaving exercise.

The EU has undoubtedly played a key role in energy management in the built environment, setting targets and legislating to improve energy efficiency in buildings and products. For purely practical reasons it seems unlikely that the UK departure will lead to wholesale changes to existing UK legislation in these areas. However, this is only the start.

Wholesale changes to UK legislation seem unlikely

As we look ahead to what our departure from the EU might mean for buildings and energy, it is clear that the decisions to be made must take account not only of the need to clarify legal provisions that are based in the European Union, but must also support other aspects of government policy to address climate change and deliver energy security. It will need watching carefully, and we know that there will not be any answers any time soon.