Last edited 29 Jan 2020

Energy in the built environment



[edit] Introduction

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.

[edit] Articles about energy

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

[edit] Definitions of primary energy

NB The Home Quality Mark One, Technical Manual SD239, England, Scotland & Wales, published by BRE in 2018 defines 'primary energy' as: 'Energy from fossil fuel and renewable sources that has not undergone any conversion or transformation process. Primary energy is transformed by the means of energy generation used and its transmission to the building.'

Climate Emergency Design Guide: How new buildings can meet UK climate change’, published by The London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) in January 2020 defines primary energy as: ' that has not undergone any conversion or transformation. As a common example, each kWh of grid electricity used in a UK building requires 1.5 kWh of primary energy; this accounts for the energy required for power generation (including fuel extraction and transport to thermal or nuclear power stations), transmission and distribution.'

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki