Architects should ‘design out’ lighting
A leading architect says that better design is needed at the initial stages of a project to cut lighting energy.
Toby Adam, director at Cardiff-based Gaunt Francis Architects, believes that the easiest and most cost-effective design solutions involve using the building itself to reduce energy needs, rather than bolting on expensive or complicated technology. ‘Making best use of natural light and ventilation can significantly decrease the need for artificial lighting and mechanical systems which are major contributors to energy consumption in buildings’, says Adam. Architects can also design buildings that incorporate passive solar design, which harnesses the sun’s energy to heat and light the building.
Of all these passive approaches, an efficient and well insulated building is probably the most important first step. ‘After all, improving the fabric performance is relatively cheap, involves little to no long term maintenance, and requires no running costs once it is built.’
He says sustainability is a bigger idea than simply thinking about how to reduce the energy a building uses once it opens.
As an example, as the energy supply grid is decarbonised, and the energy we use becomes cleaner and less carbon-intense, the carbon used in constructing the building becomes more and more important.
‘The industry is now thinking much more carefully about how much energy, and thus carbon, is used in building a project in the first place.
‘Making buildings that are flexible, adaptable, and robust is also vital, allowing uses to change over time or new technology to be easily added.’
Architects can also assist in educating the public about the importance of sustainable design practices. This can include providing information on the benefits of energy-efficient and sustainable design, as well as providing advice, resources, and tools for people to make their own buildings more efficient.
• Recolight is offering a series of special one-day training workshops on ‘Lighting product design for a Circular Economy’. Hosted by industrial designer Simon Fisher of F Mark, the CPD-accredited event explores the design criteria, regulations and standards to help lighting manufacturers apply and demonstrate circular economy principles in product development. More HERE.