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Building Performance Evaluation for Sustainable Architecture (BuPESA)
Start date: Mar 1, 2013, End date: Jun 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The principle aim of this project is to develop and test new methods for comparing the original design intentions of housing regeneration and development with the actual outcomes of the construction process and performance of the final design product in use. This will include detailed evaluation of the usability of the buildings and user control elements (heating, ventilation, lighting) in relation to the wellbeing and behaviour of the occupants, with key recommendations for future design work in relation to these factors. A secondary aim is to train an academic from Poland in the full range of building performance evaluation techniques alongside leading international experts in The University of Sheffield.The selected urban housing projects are LILAC - the UK’s first straw/timber affordable co-housing project, and Saxton – a national award winning regeneration of social housing apartments. Both projects are in Leeds and both will benefit from a state of the art BPE to help clients monitor and improve current performance, fine tune the buildings and feedback lessons learnt into future procurement, design and maintenance processes. The new methods to be tested include the utilisation of social media (Facebook, blogging) for community self-learning by occupants to reduce energy and water use benchmarked against physical monitoring of energy and water use alongside indoor air quality to see how well the learning works. A unique usability tool will also be developed to help evaluate the effectiveness of each interface that people come into direct contact with – the ‘touchpoints’ of the home. This tool involves multi-modal analysis including video, photography, environment-behaviour observation, ethnographic walk-throughs and interviews, combined in a single matrix. This will help to deal with the increasing problem of complexity in environmental controls for housing as new technologies are deployed, and to identify how controls can be improved in terms of design.
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