Last edited 13 Nov 2018

Energy in the built environment


In very general terms, energy is a capacity to do work that can take a number of different forms, such as; thermal (heat), radiant (light), motion (kinetic), stored (potential), secondary (e.g. electricity), chemical, mechanical, and so on.

In the built environment, the term 'energy' is typically used in the context of generating heat, powering equipment, creating products and materials, transportation, and so on.

Sources of energy tend to be categorised as either renewable or non-renewable.

The main types of renewable energy sources include:

For more information, see Renewable energy.

The main types of non-renewable energy include:

For more information, see Types of fuel.

Energy can be stored to try and off-set the risks of more unpredictable and intermittent power generation or availability. For more information, see Energy storage.

According to the Technology Strategy Board, in the UK, the built environment accounts for 45% of total carbon emissions (27% from domestic buildings and 18% from non-domestic), and 73% of domestic emissions arise from space heating and the provision of hot water. The EU Directive on the energy performance of buildings was adopted in 2002. It was intended to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, reduce carbon emissions and reduce the impact of climate change.

Energy performance certificates (EPCs), set out the energy efficiency rating of buildings. They are required when buildings are built, sold or rented if they have a roof and walls and use energy to condition an indoor climate. Buildings are rated from A to G on EPCs, with A representing a very efficient building and G a very inefficient building.

For more information, see Energy performance certificate.

The term 'embodied energy' relates to the energy consumed to create a building or a component of it, the energy consumed in refurbishing and maintaining it during its life, and the energy consumed in its ultimate disposal.

For more information see: Embodied energy.

Designing Buildings Wiki has a number of articles relating to energy, including:

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki