In January 2016 after interviews with 49 expert informants, some from the speculative office development world and others linked directly to 10 ‘case study’ building projects in London, an event was held in London’s Building Centre. On January 28th, 22 people gathered to hear a presentation which ran through a summary of the project and its initial findings and discuss the challenges which we had identified for the development of offices with lower ‘designed-in’ energy demand. The discussions took place under the Chatham House rule of non-attribution and reflected on the findings of DEMAND’s research, and the implications for future approaches to office design and specification. The main themes of the discussion were:
Challenge 1: How to avoid over provisioning: making ‘more realistic’ standards and specifications acceptable?
How can lower levels of provision become normal and ‘BCO plus’ be avoided?
What role might ‘regulation’ play in normalising lower levels of provision?
Challenge 2: Occupant/tenant ‘needs’: how to close the feedback gap?
How can standards better promote design responding to diversity in office work and occupant ‘needs’?
Is there scope for differentiation in standards by sector, location or other factors?
Challenge 3: Standards blocking innovation – is there a new ‘Grade A’ model?
How can standards redefine low energy design as optimum quality?
Can flexibility be redefined through standards that set a lower baseline that can be upgraded?