An investigation into rational strategies for the design of a near zero energy commercial office building in the United Kingdom

  • Alexander Mitchell

Student thesis: Phd


The United Kingdom government has set the target that all new non-domestic buildings should be 'zero carbon' in operation by 2019. The challenge of implementing this vision of a more energy efficient and less emissions intensive building stock is both technological and organizational in nature. While exemplar buildings have achieved this level of performance in the UK the proliferation of such designs within the building stock at large has not been realised, due to the drive to meet interim emissions targets at the minimum of cost premium. In order to achieve the necessary performance improvement in commercial buildings at large to meet this target a step change in the design methodologies applied to these buildings is required.An extensive review of the literature available to the non-domestic building design team was used to identify four distinct design strategies which aspired to levels of operational efficiency beyond the current standards. These strategies were then developed into methodologies which could be applied to case study buildings. The testing of these methodologies was conducted through the emulation of a dynamic building simulation led design process with the target of optimal operational energy efficiency. The comparison and evaluation of these test case buildings and the design methodologies which were applied to them offered an insight into rational strategies for near zero energy buildings going forward. The robustness of both the final design concepts and the methodologies themselves were tested through a series changes to the external and internal conditions under which the buildings were expected to operate.The result of these investigative measures was a demonstration that the performance improvement of commercial office buildings beyond what is currently typical is possible using a commercial design process if the depth of investigation is sufficient. It also identified significant risks associated with these design methodologies and in particular the response of highly specified building designs to changes in use and local climate.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRodger Edwards (Supervisor)

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